I David Pinto am always proud of Goa and it’s a true fact that Goa has been a melting pot of cultures from distant lands ranging from Portugal, Britain, Arabian Countries and many more. Today it is a tourist haven, and you will find people from all over the world milling around with the locals on the beaches of Goa for any kind of celebrations be it a festival or fair.
The population is predominantly Catholic. That has the least impact on the colorful and noisy festival of lights known as Diwali in Goa!
Diwali is known as Narakasura Festival in and around Goa. Lord Krishna overpowered the demon Narakasura and killed him on this day. In Goa the festivities are more social than personal. People get together long before the actual day to build effigies of the demon Narakasura. The effigy is taken out in a procession with much fanfare and music.
This is the occasion where everyone irrespective of age, religion or gender joins the fun. We party till late at night waiting for the dawn to break. That is the time when we head out to the beaches of Goa, with the effigy of Narakasura, which is destined to be burnt. As we see the effigy burn, the fireworks fly, and the crackers burst, the evil in us runs out with the demise of Narakasura, leaving behind the peace and tranquility Goa is proud about.
Legend says that Narakasura was a tyrant, and he captured all the women in the land. Lord Krishna fought Narakasura all night and killed the demon. At dawn, he took a bath with Utane or a body rub made with aromatic oils and herbs and washed the blood of the demon from his body and in that act purified the land by washing away all the sins of the demon.
The people of Goa revisit the epic fight by burning Naraksur’s effigy and lighting lamps. The women of Goa relive the moment of victory by getting up at dawn and taking a spa-bath with Utane to purify the society of all its ills. Later, in the evening, all houses, cafes, and business establishments are lit up with lamps as we usher in the new spirit and body.