It might come as a surprise to you but Diwali in Goa is a fairly huge affair and just like the rest of the country, they also have some interesting Diwali traditions that are unique to the region.
When we think of Goa, what comes to our minds first? Beaches, shacks, night life, adventure sports and definitely, good seafood. Goa might seem to be a predominantly Christian state from the outside, but it hosts a huge Hindu Saraswat Brahmin community too. No wonder, Diwali is such a celebrated festival in Goa then. With the festive season round the corner, everyone is gearing up and making arrangements for several rituals and customs to be executed in the days prior to the festival.
The interesting bit is that Diwali is not a single-day affair. It brings with it a series of festivities like Dhanteras, Chaturdashi, Lakshmi Puja, Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj. In the line-up to these festivals, we can’t blame anyone to relish hoards of sweets. While most parts of the country celebrate the festival of lights with mithais like rasmalai, ladoos, kaju katli, barfis and more, Goans have a very different style of Diwali.
Here in the north, we rejoice at the return of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita on the day of Diwali but in Goa, Diwali is all about the victory of good over evil. Legend has it that Lord Krishna fought with the demon, Narakasura and killed him on this day. The Goans celebrate Diwali by burning effigies of Narakasura on the streets (similar to our Dussehra tradition). Since their cause of celebration is so distinct, the traditions and customs ought to be different too.
Before tasting any sweets, the Goans taste a bitter fruit called karit which signifies the idea of good wins over evil. It is also believed that this act tends to leave the bitterness of the past year and move on to welcome the next year with a sweetness of hope. Apart from pujas and lighting up of houses and streets, Goans love to have poha on the day of Diwali.
Mind you, not just one, but there are five special kinds of poha, locally known as fov, which are prepared in Goan households on this day.
1. Doodhantle Fov
For those living under a rock, poha is flattened or beaten rice that is generally made into a savoury dish. This doodhantle fov or poha is a milky and sweet beaten rice recipe. The flakes of the poha are dunked in a pot full of milk and cooked together with sugar. It is quick and easy to make and most importantly, a Diwali special.
2. Bataat Fov
Bataat or batata refers to potato and fov is poha. Though aloo poha recipe is a favourite in Maharashtra, it has trickled down to the Konkani region too. Made with onions and potatoes, the beaten rice is spruced up with several spices. This savoury poha is enjoyed by families on Diwali.
3. Dhaiyanche Fov
Another simple and easy fov preparation, this curd and poha combination is a treat to the taste buds. It doesn’t require any cooking and can be ready in just 10 minutes. Special to Diwali celebrations, women in Goan households prepare this fov to be served for breakfast after puja. Here is a recipe of a dahi poha cutlet if you want to try.
4. Roosantle Fov
The use of certain ingredients completely changes the face of the dish. Roosantle Fov is just that. The beaten rice is washed and then added to coconut milk. The highlights of the dish are coconut milk and the use of jaggery for sweetness. Even cardamom is infused with coconut milk for additional flavours.
5. Kalayille Fov
This poha recipe is an extension of the roosantle fov, wherein desiccated coconut is used in place of coconut milk, along with jaggery and spices like turmeric, mustard seeds etc. This is a dry poha recipe which is relished across the region on Diwali.
Diwali lights on, poha ready to be donned!