Sitting by the shores gives you that typical tranquility, that old ‘nothing else matters’ feeling. This is a calm that everyone needs a dose of, every now and then. It’s no wonder then, that the Goan folk seem to constantly live in this infectious tranquility that seems to blow in with the sea breeze and hover around amongst the locals.
The Goans have let their good nature seep into their cultures and traditions too. It is a land where directions to a place don’t begin with “That way…” but rather, “Follow me, I’ll show you.” A land where a wedding celebration makes sure to dedicate the previous day to a whole elaborate meal for the less fortunate – a ‘bikaraimche jevon’. A land where people would only celebrate you if you ate a slice of something made with 10 egg yolks – a bebinca. A land where Christians, Hindus and Muslims celebrate all major festivals with fervour without bringing any religious barriers within the society - with age old churches, temples and mosques standing equally tall.
Celebrating livelihood and religious festivals with scrumptious food and delightful music, the locals are humble, warm and fun loving individuals. Meals bring families together, and a staple is the combination of Goan fish curry (coconut-based) and rice. Freshly caught seafood like prawns, crabs and kingfish with their traditional spicy marination are a delectable delicacies that are key ingredients to a happy, chatty every-day family meal round the table. A festive favourite for the Goans is their beef and pork roasts. They are best paired with Goa's famous brew Feni, made with fermented cashews. This combination is one of the many mandatory items on their never-ending Christmas menu – and that in turn includes delicacies made for the family but more importantly, made to be given away to friends and family. Much like a generous amount of jackfruit or Mangurad mango from that old tree in the garden that dutifully bears fruit.
The traditional costume of the womenfolk in Goa comprises that of a 9-yard sari also referred to as the ‘Pano Bhaju’ and some jewellery to balance out the entire outfit. The fishermen do not have any particular attire but are usually seen adorning bright cotton shirts with half pants – indeed, they really do live life to the fullest.
The attire of the tribal men in Goa comprises of a loincloth known as ‘Kashti’, with a blanket draped around their shoulders. The women wear a traditional sari with a tied knot using their ‘Kunbi palloo’ and have a very distinctive dressing style that’s donned skilfully every morning by 5 a.m. before their chores for the rest of the day.
Fishing, here, is not just a Sunday morning plan – it’s a major occupation. The beach isn’t a vacation – it is the home ground, the very essence, the basis on which cultures, traditions and maybe even value systems have emerged. The sea gives in plentiful – and so do it’s people. Goans have a certain generosity ingrained in them.
At the bottom of it all, the greatest gift that land has to offer is the charm, humility, good-spirited nature, and the undying faith of the locals in this beloved state.