This complex yet entertaining drama is usually performed to the beats of Ghumot.
A potpourri of prayers, songs, skits and dances from different religions employing myriad linguistic traditions, the Zagor Festival exudes a truly secular aura. A reminiscent of the Portuguese occupation, this yearly ritual is celebrated in several villages across Goa, such as Anjuna, Nageshi and Siolim. Let's explore more about this complex yet entertaining drama that is usually performed to the beats of Ghumot and is an important part of Goa's tradition.
Theatrical performance topped off by a special menu
The word 'zagor' means to keep a night vigil to please God, who is also hailed as the protector of the villages and people from other parts of India are familiar with this practice as jagran. However, the difference between Goa's Zagor Festival and jagran is that the former is celebrated by the farming community to protect their harvest from getting flooded and destroyed.
Zagor begins with prayers performed at mand, a sacred spot in the village where the folk deity is urged to bestow their blessings. Following this, a torch-lit procession called suari, proceeds towards the stage where devotional songs are sung by the artists before the theatre activities begin. After the culmination of all performances, the participants and audience are treated to a specially prepared menu that includes sanna- spongy, savoury rice cakes.
Significance of Zagor
As per legend, Zagor and similar folk dramas were important to uphold the spiritual values of the traditional Goan society and was also a means of entertainment. Even today, it acts as a much-needed social glue, as Zagor performances attract residents and tourists alike.
Considered a predecessor to the modern theatre in Goa, Zagor is a perfect blend of everyday anecdotes and mythology, divine and mundane, alongside prayers and laughter. Make sure you experience an authentic delivery of this cultural aspect of Goa, when you get a chance to visit the coastal state, post-pandemic!