Immerse in local tradition
and culture as Goa plays host to three interesting festivals over the next few
NT BUZZ has the details
Apart from the many religious and patriotic festivals celebrated in the state, Goa also has a number of interesting local feasts which celebrate the diverse, unique and rich culture and traditions of the land. And the month of August is brimming with these.
Started in 2012 in the village of Socorro, the ‘Patoienchem Fest’ has over the years only grown in stature. In its eighth year, the festival will be celebrated on August 15 from 11 a.m. onwards, organised by the Socorro Socio-Art and Culture Association and Botanical Society of Goa.
“On August 15, we commemorate Independence Day. It is also celebrated by the Catholic community as the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption, and in Goa, people make patoleos on this day. Hence, we decided to name the festival after this sweet dish to keep it Goan,” says Fr Santan Carvalho. He further states that this is a community festival that brings people of different wards together. And like always the festival will consist of a plethora of activities. To start things off the feast of Our Lady of Assumption will be celebrated with a mass at the Socorro church, followed by a procession. This will be followed by the marking of Independence Day. A flag hoisting will be held and students from the local primary school will also put up various cultural items related to patriotism.
The ‘Patoienchem Fest’ will then commence. “Last year we made 3000 patoleos which were distributed to people for free. In fact people come with bags to take these for their friends and families too. We will also be demonstrating how to make and present these patoleos, and as haldi leaves are used for wrapping this preparation, we will be distributing turmeric saplings,” adds Fr Carvalho.
Senior citizens will also be welcomed to the festival with patoleos. Apart from this, those who have been helping in the organising of the festival will be felicitated on the occasion, and will be gifted ghumots.
Following this, there will be World Goa celebrations and Konkani Day celebrations. A ‘Gumtachem Fest’ will follow, where a ‘gumtacho nazz’ (a music show with ghumots) will be held. A stall selling ghumots will also be at the fest. The festival will also feature ‘Goenchem Jevonn’, a freemeal of local delicacies like rice curry, tisreo, papad, etc.
In addition, there will be the brass band, bamboo art, mandos, skits, etc. Like always the festival will be alcohol and plastic free. There will also not be any sponsors, prizes, or chief guests.
“Earlier, Socorro was a quiet village and not many people even knew of its existence. However, now it has become well known for the festival. And we have taken traditional festivals like this to other parishes like Saligao, Carmona, and Arambol too,” says Fr Carvalho.
The hugely popular festival of Bonderam will be celebrated by the St Mathias Sports Club together with the Department of Art and Culture and Goa Tourism on August 17, 3 p.m. onwards at the Malar Square, Divar.
“A commonly asked question is why there are two festivals of Bonderam (the second Bonderam organised by the Piedade Youth Association will be held on the following Sunday). However, in reality, there used to be three Bonderam festivals earlier organised by the three communidades,” explains president of the St Mathias Sports Club, Ivo Azavedo. However, these dwindled over the years and the organising was later taken over by the two clubs, namely St Mathias Sports Club and Piedade Youth Association.
Bonderam, a flag festival was earlier a means of marking the boundaries of the wards with the flags. “Earlier people used to assemble at the square and then march with the band and fancy dress costume. A mock war would be held with ‘fotash’ to mark the boundaries of the ward. However after the clubs took over the organising, it became more festive with floats and bands,” says Azavedo.
This time around festivities will commence with the ‘Bonderamchi Passoi’, a heritage walk around Divar island which has been put together by Goa’s ‘festekar’ Marius Fernandes, who is a resident of St Mathias himself.
“There will be stopovers at eight houses where participants will get a chance to sample local sweets like doce, patoleo and chonne. The trip will have commentary in both English and Konkani and participants can bring along their music instruments,” says Fernandes.
Twenty eight years ago three Goans, Alexyz, Miguel Braganza, and Joel D’Souza came together to organise a festival of plants and flowers. The idea for this was motivated by the disturbing news that the builders lobby would take over Goa’s agricultural lands, with a lot of concrete structures coming up. The festival began at the St Francis Xavier’s School, Siolim.
“However they ran into some hardships and then decided to incorporate help from the school in the organising of this,” says Seby Pinto, who today is in charge of the running of the festival.
This year, the 28th edition of the festival will be organised by The Green Heritage Eco Club of the school from August 24 to 26, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the theme of biodiversity of food producing plants. The sub theme of the festival is composting.
There will be an exhibition of plants on various categories, display of art and craft, traditional artefacts made of bamboo, paintings etc.
Around 25 schools will be participating in various competitions like salad making, drawing, flower petal rangoli, composting design, etc. There will also be a food making competition for both students and parents. “While students have an option of making vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, parents have to make dishes with local vegetables,” says Pinto. Apart from spreading awareness on conserving the environment along students and citizens, the festival also aims at making Goa self-sufficient and green, he adds.
Nurseries will conduct the sale of exotic plants and garden inputs on all three days. There will also be an exhibition of medicinal plants of Goa by the State Medicinal Plants Board Goa, and an Aquaponic unit by Peter Singh.
(Patoienchem Fest will be held on August 15, 11 a.m. onwards at Socorro Church grounds; Bonderam will be held on August 17, 3 p.m. at the Malar Square, Divar; and the Festival of Plants and Flowers will be held from August 24 to 26, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the St Francis Xavier’s School, Siolim.)