It was a unique sight as people walked up to Nirmala Institute of Education, Altinho-Panaji. As a welcome gesture the visitors were adorned with the handmade abolim flower in their hair. The ‘Crossandra’ plant popularly known as ‘abolim’ in Goa gained the limelight during the festival. The festival was entirely dedicated towards reviving the abolim flower which is also the state flower of Goa; however, it is dying a slow death.
The event began with a welcome speech by the principal followed by an introduction on what exactly the abolianchem fest was all about. A brief introduction was given about the various stalls. Stalls demonstrating the various uses of the flowers, Goan food stalls and several others were put up for the event.
This was then followed by a daylong cultural programme wherein students performed various traditional Goan dances like kallshi, fugdi, musall khel, dhangar (harbola), kunbi and dekhni. There were also talks on medicinal uses of abolim and molla. The students of Nirmala Institute also performed on traditional songs and played traditional games of Goa.
Speaking about the event, principal, Sr Delia Antao said: “Around 300 students from our institute with the help of the faculty and Marius were able to put up such a great event. We did not expect a huge crowd but were surprised to see how people came in large numbers and waited till the end. Also, the volunteers and the artistes who came to help and guide us were of great help. This festival indeed focused on giving the abolim, a unique identity.”
Artist Clarice Vaz who was present for the event also shared her joy of being part of the festival said that she feels proud to be a Goan. “I was amazed to see some dance forms which I was not even aware of and the way the students performed it, it was amazing. The preparation and organisation was done very well. You could learn a lot from each session at the festival; it was not only about the flower but about the cultural ethos of Goa, which we all need to preserve for the future generation.”