Chikal Kalo Festival
Chikal Kalo is the name of a religious festival, which translates in Konkani as “playing in the mud”. This is unique only to the village of Marcel in Goa. The rare festival is a good mix of devotion and fun.
Much like the other festivals, it encourages the villagers to come together and promote unity. Chikal Kalo celebrated on the grounds of a temple dedicated to the mother son duo Devaki and Krishna. The temple said to be unique to Marcel as no other temple of sorts is said to be existing elsewhere in the country.
When festival is celebrated?
The celebration of this festival begins on “Aashadi Ekadashi” which falls on the 11th day of Aashadh month according to the Hindu calendar. Devotees gather in the temple to sing Bhajan(Devotional songs) for two straight days.
The origin of this festival came due to the outcome of the natural and cultural setting of the place. It perhaps signifies the importance of nature in the states culture.
However, in Goa like in the rest of the country, there are other theories propounded too. During Portuguese rule, the colonial rulers destroyed Hindu temples, so most of the people, in an attempt to protect their deities, shifted their temples to Ponda as that region was then ruled by a Hindu ruler. Some temples were brought to Marcel as well. So its possible that this festival was started to unique people, who had come from different regions. It helped them bond.
One of the best thing that comes out this festival is that it includes people of all kinds, irrespective of what caste or class they belong to. It said that once you are covered with mud, all are of the same colour, so all are equal.
The festival celebrates the naughty nature of Bal Krishna or the Baby Krishna.
How the festival celebrated?
On this day, every male – from a toddler to a senior citizen becomes a little Krishna. In the ground opposite the temple, with a large Peepal tree overlooking the activities, all the villagers gather to celebrate the festival. The soil of ground is muddy with incessant rains that grace this coastal state of Goa. Small children start playing in mud much to the amusement of photographers gatherd to click the festival. The people who participate in this festival applies oil on their body.
Oil protects against any possible infection from mud. Once oiled all the men line up to the small temple . The drums are played and the priest applies tilak on the foreheads of these men, who then start singing ‘Hari Vithal, Jai Vithal’. Singing this they move towards the temple. At the temples, these oils-soaked bodies do a circumambulation or the parikrama of the temple before entering the temple.
Inside the temple, the decibel levels shoot up as the same sound is now restricted within the walls of the temple. The scene than moves to the Peepul tree opposite the temple. Many villagers with tempting food items stand on the pedestal. They throw the food items towards the crowd of oiled men who try their best catch it. The one who grabs it get it. This is the first game.
Group of people lift one among them to a puddle, where they not only throw him but also splash the mud on him. This experienced by all of young men who participate in this festival.
Games Played On Day Of Festival
● Mendrani – the sheep and wolf game.
● Blind Man game – where a blindfolded man has to catch the man playing crymbals. Rest of the crowd leads him, misleads him and cheers him.
● Chakra – Where young men put together their feet to make a formation of Chakra-the wheel.
● Dharchyani or Dog & Bone
● Tug of War – two group pulling each other by the means of rope between them.
● Kabbadi – Game of two teams of 7 Players
● Frog game – Some men bend down in the form of frog and others jump over them. It test of those who are bent , how long they remain bent.
In the last game the whole crowd divided itself into two groups and they sit opposite each other. This is a fake marriage party with one side representing the bride and another side the groom. They make a sarcastic remarks on each other with a loud noise. After a fair war of words, they agree to go ahead with a mock wedding.
Chikal Kalo is a unique festival celebrated only in Goa and a must see and experience if you are around this side during the framed monsoon of the land. Literally Goa has much more to it than beautiful palm fringed beaches and stunning sunset.