Folklore generally originate from religion and festivals
but folklore in Goa are very diverse and rich. These folktales, proverbs,
songs and dances say a lot about social history of Pre-Portuguese Goa. As we
know well that the tradition of folklore basically depends upon the oral
tradition which allows the various versions of the same tale. Therefore it
becomes almost impossible to detect the time of background or ancestry. With
the detailed analysis of language trends throughout the ages and proper
understanding of cultural ethos can facilitate the employment and
interpretation of folk evidence. Some interesting examples of Goan folklore
are mentioned here onwards.
First example is from a story titled 'The Girl in the Straw Hat'. The story
revolves around a poor girl who is traveling from the house of her wealthy
husband to that of her grandmother. Three water nymphs suddenly confront her
on the way. Each one of them gives a grain of rice to her. One of them asks
her to throw the grain of rice on her grandmother's hut to turn it into a
palace. Second nymph instructs her to commit the grain into grandmother's
room to obtain a room full of riches. Third one asks her to thrust it into
the kitchen so that it gets filled with a host of servants. This simple
story indicates the significance of a good harvest to Goan young girls. The
story has a message for these girls that it is the only way to have a
Indian Jesuit Anthony D Costa has another story. It was based on a common
practice among Portuguese. In the preface to his research publication on the
Christianization of the Goa, Jesuit D' Costa has mentioned a tradition in
which Portuguese soldiers filled wine into wax dolls and chopped off their
heads then onwards to drink the wine. However Goans had misinterpreted it
with human blood thus leading to many native Goans accepting Christianity
due to fear. They feared to be killed by Portuguese in the same manner if
they did not convert their religion.
Another story is about a desolate Kadamba princess which was forced by her
captors to the status of a kitchen maid. She pleads 'I am the only princess,
daughter of King Vithoba. On my waist I carry a pot of water, in my hand I
hold a broom, on my head I carry a basket'.
An old proverb in Konkani says Supatle hastat, olletil rodtat. It means "Rice
grains in the winnowing fan laugh; those destined for the pot weep".
This self-explanatory observation transcends all the boundaries and deserves
a universal acceptance. Kansarachi vatli nay, partum divun nazo is another
proverb, but with local connotations. It says "A daughter-in-law is not
a copper vessel that one can take her back to the coppersmiths and change
her for another". You can have an indication about the status of women
and very high regard for artisans in Goan society of yesteryears.
Goldsmiths were regarded as the most honoured artisans. It was a belief
that the metal is a representation of the sun and has some therapeutic
properties. Goldsmiths were exempted from severe punishments besides
Brahmins and merchants in Pre-Portuguese Goa. However it's interesting to
find that the goldsmiths also became the butt of jokes in Goan folklore. One
of these 'Sheth rivna santli kusumna' says "The goldsmith lives in one
village but his umbrella lives in another village".
Simple jasmine flowers, not the diamonds, were girl's best friend according
to Goans. One of the villages in northern Goa named as Mardol was famous for
its supply of fresh jasmines. One of the folk song expresses the feelings of
a dancer - "I shall buy flowers in profusion, I shall deck my hair with
them. I shall sit in front of my Lord. Yes, I shall sit".