Goa’s Shigmo festival kicks off as tribals usher in spring

Shigmo is predominantly celebrated in the tribal villages of Canacona, Sanguem and Quepem talukas of South Goa

Shigmo festival dates back to the time when tribals settled in the forested areas took up agriculture as their only source of income. Representational pic

Goa’s spring festival Shigmo began in the tribal villages of the coastal state, with men dancing and singing their way into forests for a two-day celebration.

Shigmo is predominantly celebrated in the tribal villages of Canacona, Sanguem and Quepem talukas of South Goa. On Thursday night, a group of 100 men from Gokuldem village in Quepem taluka ventured into the forest, leaving women and infants behind.

“We walk without footwear and don’t use anything made of leather during the festival. We consume only vegetarian food,” said Rame Velip, head of the family, who will lead the flock for two days. The festival dates back to the time when tribals settled in the forested areas took up agriculture as their only source of income.

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Donning their traditional attire and hats decorated with flowers, men from Gokuldem will perform in several villages before returning to their homes after two days.

Shigmo, celebrated in tribal villages, is the oldest festival of Goa. It has continued over the years and the response of the young population is amazing, said Soiru Velip (40), a resident of Gokuldem and journalist working in Panaji.

Soiru and his 11-year-old son are part of the group that will stay in the forest for two days. In these two days, the group will invoke local deities through folk songs and dances, said Chandru Velip, a village elder.

(With Agency inputs)

 

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