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India Goa Shigmo Boy

Young boy at the Śigmo

Śigmo or शिगमो in Koṅkaṇī ,is a spring festival celebrated in the Indian state of Goa.One of the prominent festivals of the Hindu community in Goa, and is the an alternative name for the Indian festival of Holī.Śigmo is also known as Śiśirotsava[1].

Etymology of the Word

The origin of the Koṅkaṇī word Śigmo is in Saṃskṛta word Sugriṣmaka,which was later corrupted to Suggimaho in Pārkṛta and later into Koṅkaṇī Śigmo[2].

Śigmo now

In recent years,the state government has been offering its support for public Śigmo parades,made up of traditional folk and street-dancers and elaborately-built floats depicting scenes from regional mythology and religious scenes. Meanwhile,Śigmo festivals also continue in diverse rural parts of Goa, spanning over a fortnight,with different days earmarked for celebrations in diverse areas.This festival is celebrated around March each year,is linked to the lunar-based Hindu calendar,hence its date according to the Gregorian or solar calendar varies.


There are two variations of Śigmo festivals,the Dhākṭo Śigmo,literally, the small Śigmo and the Vhaḍlo Shigma or the big Śigmo[1].The latter has greater consequence.Dhākṭo Śigmo is generally celebrated by agriculturists,the labour class and rural population while,the Vhaḍlo Śigmo is celebrated by all the classes coming together[1].

Timing of the festival

Dhākṭo Śigmo begins some five days before the full-moon day of the Indian calendar's month of Phālguna and ends on the full-moon day [3]in the Old Conquests areas of Goa.Old Conquests are those areas which were under Portuguese colonial rule for a longer period of time, starting from the sixteenth century. On the other hand the New Conquests,the Vhaḍlo Śigmo is mostly celebrated and commences with the Holi Paurṇimā or the full-moon day of the month of Phalguna and continues for five days.

Some terms

Naman are the songs sung in chorus during the festival, when villagers assembly at a fixed place.Jot is a kind of song sung too,while dances like Tālgadī,Hāṇpeṭ,Lamp dance,Gopha are performed during the Śigmo[4].Ḍhol and Tāso are the drums,some of which can be huge in size,which people travel with,from door-to-door,dancing to its sound.Money is placed in the plate carried by the performers,and a song called the Talī is sung after this is done, wishing the donor well.On the last day of the festival, it is believed that a spirit enters these persons who dance, and this is known as the Gaḍe paḍap.Māṇḍ davarap refers to a collective bath taken after the festival comes to an end.

Folk songs and dances, temple festival

Dhākṭo Śigmo, says the Gazetteer,can mainly be considered as a festival of folk songs and folk dances[1].On the other hand,the Vhaḍlo Śigmo is considered a festival performed in the village temple[1].It is celebrated in different temples on different dates,around the same period.The first day of celebration is called Halduṇe and the second is Dhulvad or echange of Gulāla.On the first,the village deity is bathed and dressed in saffron robes[5].After th offering of food,the feast is held[5]. Śiśirotsava celebrated in the temples of Jāṃbāvalī[6],Phātarpyā[7],Kāsarpāl[5],Dhārgale[8] are very famous in Goa and the neighboring states and attract a large number of devotees and tourists.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Guṅe, Viṭhṭhala Triṃbaka (1979). Gazetteer of the Union Territory Goa, Daman and Diu: district. 1. Goa, Daman and Diu (India). Gazetteer Dept. pp. 263. 
  2. "Apabhraṃśa" (in Koṅkaṇī). Koṅkaṇī Śabdasāgaa. 1. pp. 126. 
  3. Gajrani, S. History, Religion and Culture of India By .. pp. 127–128. 
  4. Bhaṭṭa, S.C; Gopāla K. Bhārgava. Land and people of Indian states and union territories in 36 volumes. 7. pp. 230. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Maḍkaikāra, Śrīpādrāva (April 1984) (in Marāṭhī). Śrī devī Kālikā. Gomantaka Daivajña Brāhmaṇa Samājotkarṣa Sansthā. pp. 5–78. 
  6. Bravo da Costa Rodrigues, Maria de Lourdes. Feasts, festivals, and observances of Goa. pp. 43–44. 
  7. Bravo da Costa Rodrigues, Maria de Lourdes. Feasts, festivals, and observances of Goa. pp. 73–74. 
  8. Bhaṭṭa, S.C; Gopāla K. Bhārgava. Land and people of Indian states and union territories in 36 volumes. 7. pp. 202. 

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