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Gratitude through dance


The heritage ‘Dhalo’ festival of Chicalim was held for six days, amidst song, dance and merriment. The yearly festival consists entirely of women who form the original settlers of the village Chicalim and who have carried out this tradition for years dutifully and religiously.

Dhalo is a ritual folk dance performed by Hindu as well as Christian Gawada women. It is a form of prayer to protect their households. This is an original form of dance of Goa. As part of the dance, the dancers form two rows facing each other with interlocked arms, and confront each other by prancing forward and backward while singing songs related to incidents from their day-to-day life. The songs cover religious and social themes.The Dhalo is performed at the Maand of the community.

Performing the Dhalo is an act of gratitude to nature. The tribal women through their dance pay obeisance to the Mother Goddess, Sateri who is considered as a fertility goddess. Various episodes of day-to-day life are also enacted by the participants. There is fun and frolic combined with songs and funny couplets sung to roars of laughter among the participants. The important episode enacted is that of marriage among two participants, one amongst them playing the role of groom.

This year’s highlight was the visit of the local other communities on the second day of the Dhalo festivities. The community was led by parish priest of St Francis Xavier Church of Chicalim, Fr Bolmax Pereira. The members of the Dhalo group were offered a gift by the visitors as a token of appreciation. The tribal women in turn thanked Fr Bolmax and the others for acknowledging their efforts and cultural practices. This year on the final day the next generation of young girls performed the fugdi for the first time. The Dhalo festival ended with each woman participant paying respect and acknowledging the support of their respective husbands in their households. This year’s Chicalim Dhalo was documented by the Biodiversity Heritage Site Committee of the Chicalim Biodiversity Committee of the Panchayat of Chicalim for records and posterity.

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