You know your year is off to a great start when you get invited to a press trip for one of your favorite destinations. I had just returned from Goa after celebrating Christmas, to see a media invite for covering the Goa tribal fest in my inbox the very next day.
It just so happened that my last trip of 2016 and my first trip of 2017 was, well, to – Goa!
I am not much of a cultural traveler so experiencing this unique side of Goa was interesting, to say the least. Prior to this visit, I hadn’t even heard of the Tribal fest which was infact in its sixth year now. What a shame! I claim to love this city so much and yet I barely know what’s happening beyond the beach parties and exotic locales.
Determined to rediscover Goa, I hopped on a plane to indulge in my Goan cultural escapade.
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What to expect at the Goa Tribal Fest
The prime focus of the festival is to give travelers an insight into the various lesser known tribes of Goa and their dying traditions and customs.
This is something I observed at the Big Foot museum as well – the golden era is dying and it needs to be revived. Things like building a mud house or traditional ways of cooking, will be long forgotten if we don’t practice and encourage them. We were told by the museum’s curator that they could not find a single person to build a mud house as everyone who knew the proper way to build it had passed away. After searching for months, they finally found an old man who could build it and they documented the entire process. This stuck a chord with me – our age old traditions or how our ancestors lived without all our unnecessary luxuries of the day, was so commendable and needs to be preserved.
I believe that’s what this simple festival tries to proclaim in its own small way. There is no grandeur or luxury, no fancy stuff or firecrackers to grab your attention. It is organized at a very basic, rural level and its simply some villagers showcasing their way of living. So, if that’s not your cup of tea, this is not for you, but if it is- you will love it!
Things to do at the Goa Tribal Fest
Interact with Locals
If you are a true traveler, interacting with locals, especially villagers should be high on your list. That’s the best way to know the local customs and culture. We had a hard time communicating as we didn’t know the local language and they could not speak Hindi or English but their gestures were enough. The tribal women would smile and happily even dance with anyone who was keen. They were more than happy to get pictures clicked with us and we were equally delighted at their attitude.
They had small stalls where the locals would display their traditional ways of preparing items like brooms, head bands, clothing, palm leaf mats and more. Visitors are welcome to join them or learn the craft.
Enjoy Scrumptious Local Cuisine
If you like to experiment different food, you will simply fall in love with Goan cuisine. We enjoyed lovely home cooked traditional dishes like – Kismoor, Fish curry, Bangda fry and Prawn salad. This was one of the best lunches we had in Goa.
Apart from that, the festival had small stalls where villagers were selling local snacks like ambil, fov, pita gulio, sanna, soji and more.
Participate in and watch tribal games and competitions
From the fun saree wrapping competition to traditional games like guli danda, chateani etc visitors to the fest have an option to participate or watch all of these. There was a dance and drawing competition for kids going on as we entered the venue. So, there is something for everyone.
Now that you know exactly what to expect and what to do at the Goa tribal fest, would you like to visit it next year? Tell me in comments below.
Disclaimer – I was invited by Goa Tourism on an all expense FAM trip to cover the #GoaTourismFest. All opinions are, as always, my own!