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Stay on the Roller Coaster

It’s as if Goa’s fun quotient were manic depressive, a kind of roller coaster ride of wild mood swings. First you have the “season” when a sizeable portion of our planet converges on this tiny state and turns it into a playground. Then you have the monsoons when the skies turn gray and businesses shut their doors. In between, ambulance you have holidays of great revelry, sales like Christmas and Carnival, followed by periods of extreme introspection, like Lent.

Stay on the roller coaster, dear reader, as it rises to another festive peak. Bohemian dinners, all nighters at the pubs and clubs, family parties and general revelry will soon be here again.

After six weeks of sombre spiritual cleansing during the season of Lent, when Goa’s famous party scene virtually comes to a standstill, this global tourist destination is gearing up to unleash another two months of what it’s best known for – partying.

But first, of course, comes Holy Week, when Goa’s Christians mark Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (marking the Crucifixion of Christ) and Easter Sunday (the day Christians believe Christ resurrected) by thronging churches for prayer services. The midnight services of ‘Easter Vigil’ and Easter itself will be followed by what every Goan celebration entails – food, song and dance.

This year, Holi (Shigmotsav), another big festival of Goa’s Hindu majority, coincides with the Easter season, accentuating the festive air in the state (see Cover Story).

For many Goans, Easter will be a family affair – lunch with close relatives followed by a night of dance and revelry at a traditional Easter Ball. It is also a time when Goans go shop-hopping for pastries and other Easter goodies at the busy confectionery shops.

“Obviously business soars during the Week,” says Cedric Vaz who runs the decades-old ‘Mr Baker’ pastry shop in the heart of Panjim next to the Garcia de Orta garden.

Easter eggs in varied sizes, hot-cross buns, cakes and a few other Easter goodies get sold briskly off the counter, he adds.

For the visitor, Goa has a big dose of fun and partying for Easter, what with the scores of hotels, resorts, pubs, clubs and other night spots lining up special programs.

“This Easter Sunday we open the alcohol flood gates,” announces Club Margarita to advertise the Easter event of the nightspot in Colva, a famous coastal village in South Goa.

“If you were here last year, you’d know…” says Club Margarita’s manager Ashwin Gaonkar, adding it will be a night planned to go absolutely “mental”.

Club Margarita, he says has DJs Ryan Nogar, Navin, Jay and Kiran lined up to rock the console for the night and Edmar Hendricks to set the mood.

“With that kind of a DJ line-up, I don’t think partying can get any better,” he adds, exhorting the party crowd to drive down to South Goa for a treat of some pulsating tunes this Easter.

A number of other clubs and nightspots like Club Margarita located at beach-side locations and the cities have specials planned for Easter as well.

If you are down with your family and kids, there’s fun for them too. Several of Goa’s starred hotels are offering Easter events for families. The Grand Hyatt at Bambolim will host a ‘Kids Easter Party’ with fancy Easter goodies at its Confeitaria, prepared by Chef Nicole and her team.

The celebrations on Easter Sunday include a special brunch and Bebo’s Kids party from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Palace Lawns, where kids can join the Easter egg hunt, decorate Easter eggs, enjoy a magic show, paint faces like their favourite character and toss around  in the bouncing castle.

So, get into your partying shoes and let your hair loose. Of course, if you are a devout Catholic, you might feel you have to earn all that through the mandatory soul searching and cleansing of Holy Week.

If not, just party on!