Zagor Festival -Significance,History,Rituals

ZAGOR

MAINLY CELEBRATED BY CATHOLICS IN SIOLIM, IN BARDEZ TALUKA OF GOA. IT IS A FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTED BY DANCE, DRAMA AND MUSIC

SIGNIFICANCE AND HISTORY:

zThis is an important festival of the Catholics of Gudem and Hindus of Dando belonging to western Siolim in Bardez Taluka of Goa. Zagor is the festival of nocturnal vigilance and literally the word Zagor means ‘to wake’. The celebration of the festival is done especially on the first Sunday that falls subsequent to Christmas. It is a way to thank the God of fertility for blessing the people with a good harvest that is shown by the performance of dances, music and dramas by the people of the village.

The waking ceremony starts with the Christian prayers that are influenced by the ‘Abhangs’ of a Saint poet of Maharashtra known as ‘Sant Tukaram’.

The priest heading the gathering and performing the rituals is generally a Hindu, who belongs to the class of toddy tappers and performs this act for only once in a year.

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RITUALS:

Especially celebrated by the Christians this festival takes place near the place of Hindu Temples or places of worship. This place is considered to be sanctified to the main deity (who is responsible for protecting the dams surrounding the fields of paddy) by the ‘Zagoryo’ who is the priest or head of the Zagor.

A parade of numerous people known as ‘Suvaari’ with the beating of drums called as ‘Ghumttam Madlim’ is observed around the Zagor spot. The participants of the Suvaari are generally males who follow the Zagoryo belonging to the Hindu religion.

The procession is headed forward through the road and finally it reaches a specific place known as ‘Maand’ that comprises of a stage. A performance of ‘Tiatr’ is observed that is a corrupted version of the word Theatre and resembles with some sorts of Hindu Plays or Stage shows. The people gather there to have a spectacular view of the roles played by different artists. The artists performing dances on the stage or the roles given to them are mainly the family members of Shirodkars belonging to the Hindu religion and D’souzas belonging to Christianity.

People perform dances by making a circle as per the tradition known as ‘Bhorbhoria’. According to Konkani language the word Bhorbhoria means ‘going mutually’ that comprises of a dance in which jumping back and forth takes place. Next to Bhorbhoria the ‘Mavonni’ takes place in which the males get attired like women.

A king known as ‘Raza’ enters the stage with his sword and dances. The servant of the king called as ‘Sahid’ also dances behind him. Mali or gardener dance takes place in which two gardeners with their respective consorts perform dances that are complemented by the recitations made by a person belonging to the Shirodkar family. This special recitation is done in order to appease the deities and is some sort of a prayer comprising of tribal songs known as ‘Ovhio’.

Ultimately the chief personality of Zagorayt appears known to be ‘Bhonvor’ who wears a weird headdress that is adorned by candles (lighted). The Bhonvor is accompanied by a team of performers dressed vibrantly.

FOOD: A sweet preparation known as ‘Sannas’ is made that consists of coconut, rice and sur that is the toddy obtained from coconut palm.