Panaji: The Carnival festivities got underway
in Goa on Saturday with thousands of people thronging the street
along the Mandovi river here to watch the float-parade led by
State chief secretary Sanjay Srivastava flagged off the
parade near the Old Secretariat here.
King Momo, an honorary fantasy-figure, pronounced the
decree `eat, drink and be merry` during the carnival.
The float-parade in Panaji heralds four days of joyous
festivities. The tourism department has organised parades in
five cities and the best floats will get awards. Besides,
private organisations too will hold parades in other towns.
King Momo, flanked by `Queens`, led the parade on
Dayanand Bandodkar Marg here which runs along the picturesque
The three-km parade route was flooded with revellers.
Nearly 30,000 people watched the colourful parade. But
unlike the Brazilian carnival, nudity is strictly a no-no
Floats are examined thoroughly before they are allowed to
roll out on the streets.
There were a few floats about environment, a hot issue in
Goa. Corporates too used the occasion to advertise, though
there is a ban on `commercial floats`.
The carnival was brought to Goa by the Portuguese, who
ruled the state for 450 years. Even after their departure, the
Carnival is held prior to the `lent season`, a period of
fasting and penance in the catholic calendar.