Carnival kicks off in Goa

February 21st, 2009 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Feb 21 (IANS) The spirit of festivity descended on Goa Saturday, after the year’s first carnival float parade was flagged off in the capital by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and governor S.S. Sidhu.
Thousands of revellers thronged the streets of Panaji as the carnival parade moved merrily along the picturesque riverside driveway along the Mandovi river.

Carnival processions, which are symbolic of Goa’s Portuguese legacy, are held every year before the season of Lent. The festival, which involves a public celebration in form of long continuous parades of gaily coloured floats, with masqueraded dancers, is led by King Momo or king of the carnival.

King Momo is usually a locally chosen dignitary who is given a key to the city. King Momo’s float, which led the float parade in Panaji Saturday, was unique this year, with specially-abled children putting up a samba performance for the crowd.

Speaking to IANS Goa Tourist Development Corporation (GTDC) chairman Shyam Satardekar said the number of tourists who had arrived in Goa for the four day festival belied expectations.

“We had our fingers crossed because of the recession and the lean season we already had. But we are more than happy now,” Satardekar said, adding more than 60 floats had lined up for the parade in Panaji.

Similar carnival float parades will he organised in other important towns in the state, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa, over the next three days.

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