Panaji, Feb 13, Long parades of gaily coloured floats with masked dancers led by King Momo or king of the carnival took to the streets of sunny Goa Saturday, signalling the start of its famous colourful carnival.
Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat flagged off the colourful float parade at the state capital here.
Goa’s famous carnival processions and float parades are symbolic of its Portuguese legacy. The carnival is held annually just before Lent, which is a 40-day fasting period preceding Easter.
The festival is led by King Momo, a locally chosen dignitary who is given a key to the city. This time round Mark Dias, a bartender by profession, has been chosen to do the honours as King Momo.
“We were looking for a person with a vivacious, joyful and cheery persona. We went through several nominees before selecting Mark, who works onboard a cruise ship,” managing director of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation Nikhil Dessai told IANS.
Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco said the carnival was a great tourism draw for the state and the timing could not be better.
“It comes at a time when the tourist season fades and helps shore up the tourist numbers,” Pacheco said.
Similar parades will also be held in other major towns in Goa — Vasco, Margao and Mapusa — over the next few days.
Goa’s tourism season stretches from October to March and sees nearly two million tourists annually.
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