Shigmo, also known as Shishirotsava, I an annual festival celebrated on every spring by the people of Goa. It being one of the main festivals of the Hindus living in Goa, Shigmo is celebrated in a grand manner there.
It is mainly observed by the Konkani people and the Hindu festival of colors, Holi, is also a part of the festivities.
Shigmo festival has two parts, Dhakto Shigmo and Vhadlo Shigmo. The former is generally celebrated and observed amongst the labors, peasants and the people of villages while the latter is celebrated on a larger scale and everyone takes part in it.
The Dhakto Shigmo starts around 5 days prior to the day of full moon on the month of Phalguna, one of the lunar months on Hindu calendar, and will come to an end on the day of the full moon. It is observed in the areas that were under the rule of the Portuguese for a longer time period and is called the Old Conquest areas.
While the celebration of Vhadlo Shigmo starts on the day of the full moon and continues for the next five days in the month of Phalguna. This takes place in New Conquest areas of Goa.
During Dhakto Shigmo mainly folk dances along with folk songs are performed by the locals while the festivities of Vhadlo Shigmo are carried out in the temples of the villages. It is performed in various temples across Goa on different dates but on the same time period.
On the very first day of the celebrations the Deity of the village is bathed in a ceremonial manner and then made to put on robes of saffron color after which the Deity is offered with food. Once it is done a grand feast is held by the people of the village. It is held in some of the very famous temples of Goa like Phatarpya, Jambavali, Dhargale and Kansarpal.
Hundreds and hundreds of tourists and devotees gather in these places during this time of the year to witness the Shigmo celebration. During the celebration, the villagers gather at a particular places and sings songs called Naman and Jot in chorus. The songs are also accompanied by traditional dances like Hanpet, Talgadi, Gopha and Lamp dance. Some people are seen to carry gigantic drums called Taso and Dhol from one door to another while the others match steps with the beat.
The performers also carry the money donated by the people on a plate and they also sing a song known as Tali in which they wish for the donor’s wellbeing. The local people believe that on the last day of the festival a spirit called Gade Padap posses the bodies of the dancers and right after the festivities come to an end, it is customary for all the performers to take a bath together and this is called Mand Davarap.
In the present times the Shigmo festival is receiving support from the State Government which is also providing full support to the parades which includes folk dances and elaborate floats representing famous mythological and religious scenes. This festival goes on for around two weeks in full vigor and each day of the festival is celebrated in different rural areas across the Indian state of Goa. Shigmo is an annual festival celebrated in the month of March every year. The dates of the celebration depend on the Hindu lunar calendar thus its corresponding dates on the Georgian calendar might vary from one year to another.