Ghode Modni: The Shigmo Folk Dance

The spring festival of Shigmo is celebrated with a display of different traditional folk dances in the state of Goa, India, with Ghode Morni being one of the most famous.

Ghode Modni Dancers (2020-03)Incredible India!

Shigmo Festival is widely celebrated in Goa across 14 days during the onset of spring. While the core legend of Holika and the defeat of evil is celebrated, this festival also honours the victory of Maratha warriors.

Ghode Modni Performance at the Procession (2020-03)Incredible India!

Ghode modni could be seen as a mixture of martial arts and horse dance performed during the festival and parades of Shigmo.

Men Performing the Ghode Modni Dance (2020-03)Incredible India!

The word ghode translates to horses and modni translate to dance, coming together to make up the name of the folk dance, and symbolising the journey of the victorious warriors.

Dressing for Ghode Morni

Performers dress up in costumes that have a horse’s face attached to the front.

The Ghode Modni Dance (2020-03)Incredible India!

They wear the traditional turban of a Rajput chieftain, known as a Peshwai pagri

The dance honours the warriors, so a sword is seen held in one hand.

The dancers are barefeet, and wear ghungaroos, or anklets with bells to amplify the sound of their steps.

Ghode Modni Dancers (2020-03)Incredible India!

Honouring the Return of Warriors

Ghode Modni is a dance commemorating the Maratha rulers and warriors of the past who are said to have left their homes during Dussehra (another festival occurring in autumn) to fight and returned victorious at Holi (the onset of spring).

Ghode Modni Performance at the Procession (2020-03)Incredible India!

Dancers perform slowly, moving forwards and backwards to the beat of the dhol tashe (drums), and cymbals among other instruments.

Dancers at the Procession (2020-03)Incredible India!

Other Folk Dances

Other folk dances included in the processions include romtamel, imap dance, fugdi, hanpet, gopha and more.

Palanquins at the Procession (2020-03)Incredible India!

As the celebrations are spread across the region, getting to watch some of the local dances being performed is rare, as they usually happen in the smaller villages at nighttime.

Playing the Dhol Near the Village Hall (2020-03)Incredible India!

Read more about Shigmo festival and its various processions

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