Bhurgeanchem Fest: Safeguarding Goa’s Culture for Our 


Iris CF Gomes

The 7th to the 9th of May saw the celebration of children at the Our Lady of Divar School on Divar Island. Bhurgeanchem Fest, or ‘children’s festival’, was held in association with Uzwaad-The Rays of Hope, a group that focuses on furthering the conservation of Goa’s socio-cultural heritage.

The three-day festival had a number of activities for young children that included talks on the history and heritage of Divar by social activist and college professor Prajal Sakhardande, who encouraged the children to learn from history and do their best to preserve and take pride in the heritage that has been passed down to them. Agriculturist Miguel Braganza spoke on gardening and plants to enthuse the youngsters to continue to keep alive the plants and trees that are endemic to Goa, and Sangeeta Naik instructed the young people in using their mobiles and the internet to help them in their studies.

There were workshops held in dance, art, street plays, football, singing, tiatr and so on to engage the children in various activities with resource persons like tiatr artists Micheal Jude Gracias and Valency D’Souza, Goa United Sports Academy football coach  Augustine Dias and artist Savio Godinho. Marius Fernandes, or Goemcho Festamkar, spoke about nurturing love for Goa and its unique cultural identity by catching people at a young age. He also put forth a plan to allow all and any gifted young children to avail of training facilities in football, pointing out the numerous talented football players that had come out of the Goa United Sports Academy.

Various fruits, vegetables and flowers that are local to Goa were on display as well as coconuts, cashew seeds, traditional pottery and utensils and so on. The world’s largest ghumott and an enormous mhandalem were also on display.

The community service group Uzwaad- The Rays of Hope, which is the creation of Dhempe College assistant professors Sendra Pereira and Arati Rane Sardessai, consists of students who were present at the festival freely giving their time to a good cause. Their mission is to bring about a positive social transformation in society and the protection of the environment and Goan culture through tiatr, Goan traditional dances, painting, street plays, traditional songs, and traditional arts and games. Uzwaad is set to play a prominent role in future Goan cultural festivals and carry forward Marius’ vision to preserve Goan culture for posterity.

More photographs below