Goa is not defined just by what’s seen along the coast. Its rich traditions define Goa’s socio-cultural heritage. Casual visitors may not know of this heritage. While a festival like Diwali is widely celebrated, Goa has another unique celebration that is also associated with light. It’s known as Divzam. This folk tradition can be seen during the various temple zatras held across the State. A divzam is a special lamp, now made in metal.
People of select communities commemorate this festival. These include the Gurav, Naique, Gaude, Dessai, Dhobi, Mahar, Chambar, Malo, Mest and Cumbar who are entrusted with following and keeping up this tradition. Morjim, Chopdem, Mandrem, Dhargal, Khorgao and Siolim are some of the villages famous for their celebration of Divzam.
The participants first observe a fast and thereafter visit the temple to pray. The temple priest takes the divzam and does the aarti before handing it back to them. Then the palki with the idol is taken in procession around the temple. Special food is cooked in the temple and a plate is kept before the deity. There are certain rituals to be followed by the participants. For instance, for first time performers, young girls who have not attained puberty are dressed as young brides to light the lamp.
There’s also a special oil that is used to light the dizvam.
Apart from the festival of Divzam, Diwali is the next major commemoration. This falls in the month of Kartik and is a celebration of Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. Around the villages and towns the darkness of the night is dispelled by the tiny sparkling lights of diyas or earthen lamps. And of course there are the usual firecrackers.