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Goa Tours India » Goa Tourism » Folklore of Goa
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Folklore of Goa

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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.
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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 prosperous home.

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".

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