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25 glorious floats

The villagers of St Estevam have been participating in the Carnival floats since 1995. This year marks their 25th silver jubilee. NT BUZZ traces this silver journey

ANNOUSHKA FERNANDES | NT BUZZ

Rosario DeSa along with the villagers of St Estevam has been participating in the Carnival floats since 1995. 25 years later they still continue to make extravagant floats illustrating the rich Goan traditions.

The villagers were first influenced to participate in the floats by ex president, Panaji Traditional Committee, Joaquim Telles. In fact, they began their journey by creating a float that showcased the original vegetable cultivation in the state. The participants dressing up in ‘kashtis’ and showcased a woman drawing water from a well. “We won the first place then and the rest is history. In fact, we even won the first place last year,” says DeSa, who is also a restaurateur.

Indeed, over the years the villagers have constructed various floats for instance, a ‘manos’ (sluice gate), ‘xetkamati’ (farmer), life sized stage dedicated to yesteryears tiatrists, ‘musica, ‘Goenchem festam’ (Goan feasts), ‘kansar’ (a local vessel), a float dedicated to the ‘dudkar’ (milk man), ‘poder’ (local bread man) live demonstration of the process of baking the local bread in a mud oven, and so on.

“We showcase the traditional Goan culture because people from St Estevam are cultivators and we’re known as ‘bendekars’ since lady fingers are the trademark of the village. Hence owing to that tradition our floats are a 100 per cent traditional,” says DeSa, adding that the admiration that the floats have received have added to the incentive of constructing better floats.

This year they have featured a traditional aspect of Goa. “This year’s theme is ‘purumentacho sambar’ (spices) that earlier people would store during monsoons. We have displayed them by making these spices with thermacol and people will dress according to the theme,” he says. And just like in the bygone years this year’s float also features live music in accordance to the theme. “Mukesh Ghatwal a local legend from our village has helped us with a theme song, just like we do every year,” adds DeSa. He further adds that earlier it would take nearly a month to complete a float but as a result of technological advancements the time taken to complete the floats is much less.

Interestingly, DeSa was also crowned King Momo in 2007. In fact, St Estevam is the only village in Goa to have three villagers as the king. “Theplius Fernandes, Mark Dias and I, all of us from the same village have been selected to be the king because of our merit,” he says.

And DeSa credits the villagers for successfully making these floats for 25 years. “Everyone participates in making these floats, the young and the old. The villagers come together in unity and do this,” he says.

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