Panaji, March 13 (IANS) While refusing to ban public assembly at Goa’s popular Shigmo festival parades, the state government on Friday asked people to take the “necessary precautions”, amid the coronavirus outbreak, while attending the series of events related to the festival which will continue till March 24.

“The general public is requested to take all necessary precautions to prevent and contain the virus and be extra vigilant in respect of the tourists arriving in the state from different countries and strictly adhere to the advisories by the government from time to time,” a statement issued by Goa’s information and publicity department said on Friday.

Reckoned as the indigenous variant of the Portuguese-oriented Carnival, the Hindu festival of Shigmo is marked by a boisterous celebration of colour and music and decorated float parades.

Historians claim that the Shigmo festival, which is a Goan adaptation of the Holi festival, is the precursor of the Carnival which the Portuguese later westernized to bring it at par with the European spring festival.

The most significant Shigmo float parade is scheduled to be held in Panaji on March 14 and is normally attended by thousands of locals as well as tourists.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had ruled out cancellation of the Shigmo parade in view of the coronavirus outbreak and said that people were smart enough to take precautions.

Incidentally, the organisers of the Indian Super League (ISL) have announced that in view of the viral outbreak, the final match of the tourney which is due to be held at South Goa’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Saturday, would be held behind closed doors. The Goa Health Ministry had also recommended the cancellation of a popular international music festival which was scheduled to be held on March 13, in view of the outbreak.

–IANS

maya/rt/bg

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