It’s highly unlikely that someone hasn’t heard of Carnival in Goa. It is the only place across Asia to celebrate Carnival.
It’s common knowledge that Carnival was brought to Goa by the Portuguese and it is the only place in Asia where this Spring Festival is celebrated. The Portuguese introduced Carnival to Goa in the 18th century and it fizzled out after the Portuguese Rule ended. It was revived by Timoteo Fernandes and planned along the lines of the Brazilian Mardi Gras.
A lot of the traditions have disappeared over the years like “assalto”. Friends go to each other’s houses and colour each other. Quite similar to Holi. This kicks off the four-day festival. The parade is on the first day of Carnival. King Momo, usually a burly, broad man, is selected as King Momo and he declares the Carnival celebrations have begun.
The parade which was the closest thing to Mardi Gras is made up of dancers, people in vibrant, colourful masquerade outfits, and colourful homemade floats. Now in modern times, it has become more commercial. There are fewer family floats and more commercial floats. There are loads of activities across the main cities. It ends with the traditional street dance called Red N Black Dance.
This festival begins just before the Christian Lenten season which makes people consider it to be a Christian festival. However, here in Goa, the people are more secular and celebrate all festivals collectively.
Carnival is basically the welcoming of Spring. It gets its roots from the Pagan festival Saturnalia.
People greet each other with “Viva Carnaval” and everyone is cheerful and all geared to celebrate with pomp and gaiety. The streets are decorated to match the mood of this fun festival.