Preparations to welcome the New Year begins a few weeks in advance, as evidenced by sights on the beach and streets. The tradition is that the year about to slip away has grown 'Old and Evil', and needs to be given a grand send off. The Old year is represented by a mannequin of a stuffed Old and grizzled looking man.
The Old man is made rather ugly to look at, and is formally dressed, often in a coat, tie and shoes, with fireworks stuffed inside. Fireworks are carefully preserved since the Diwali festival that is typically held during the months of Sept or Oct.
Our local driver Edwin lives right next to Pristine Resort. The Old man shown above is made with great care by Edwin and his friends. A small donation helps their cause. The boys and girls appear thrilled at the prospect of blowing the Old Year away, represented by the Old Man - along with all the evils accumulated over the past year - and to welcome the New Year 2016 at the stroke of midnight. It's one of the high points of their simple lives.
During our visits to Magzika, Prajoy told us that he would be holding a big bash on the evening of Dec 31. The entertainment included a fixed menu and a live band. That would be a nice way to spend New Year's Eve on the beach and admire the fireworks, we thought.
Prajoy and the staff at Magzika had made enormous efforts to set up a special New Year's eve. It would certainly be an evening to remember.
Short eats were in plenty, the lads in the kitchen were able to cope up with the demand, until close to midnight, when they shut the kitchen for an hour because of super high demand that they were unable to manage.
Tables draped in blue and chairs clothed in white added to the amazing atmosphere.
How about an attempt at a selfie in the low light?
The hours rolled by, the breeze coming off the sea was cool, as the live music and lights added to the electric effect.
Unable to wait any longer, the fireworks started popping a few minutes before midnight.
The sky lit up all along the beach.
We could see explosions of stars in the sky all the way from Arossim in the north to Colva and beyond in the south.
Some entertained themselves with Chinese Lanterns that rose gently up to the sky, as if attempting to catch the trails left for fleeting moments by the exploding fire crackers.
We waited for Edwin to pick us up from a point near Nanu's Resort. It was well past 01:45 AM by then.
Goa is colourfully dressed up during the X'mas period, with numerous Grottos set up all over the state.
As for the 'Old and Evil' man representing the year gone by, well, all that remains is a mass of grey, and bits and pieces of clothing lying scattered on the ground.
Wish you all a happy and peaceful year ahead!
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