The Carnival – spelt, ‘Carnaval,’ in Portuguese – is a Portuguese legacy which is making a big comeback with the Catholics of Daman. It had reached its height in the 80’s and is seeing a revival since the past 3-4 years with Carnival 2011 taking it a notch higher than last year’s celebrations.
This annual three-day festival is celebrated in Brazil, Goa and other former Portuguese colonies. It begins on the first Sunday of Lent though there’s no connection with Lent from a religious angle.
|This is the main road in Big Daman – people are coming out of Machiwar (one of the ‘Bairros’ of Daman) and heading towards the football field|
Unlike the Goa carnival which is termed as the ‘commercialized’ version, the Daman Carnival is unique in that it’s not a sponsored event and is truly the carnival ‘of the people, by the people – and most importantly – for the people!’ In fact, the Catholics who take part in the three-day event, don’t even approach any commercial establishment for sponsorship.
The first day of carnival is called, ‘Domingo Gordo‘ (‘Fat’ Sunday:) in Portuguese. The Damanense ‘espatada‘ (pigling BBQ) accompanied with the local liquor and a special salad made from brinjals (eggplant) baked underground and Portuguese music is the de rigueur staple!
|Revelers dancing in one of the ‘Bairros’ of Big Daman|
Portuguese music, especially Pimba, is a favourite as it makes it easy to use the beat for marching along the streets, incorporating the same dance-steps used in the Damanense wedding march!
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