B.C.’s Goan community ready to party it up at carnival fiesta prior to Easter (with video)

Published: February 6, 2013


Sharlene Lobo has been putting in long hours preparing for the upcoming Goan Carnival Fiesta. Here she decorates wall signs in Surrey, B.C. Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Ric Ernst/PNG

The Lower Mainland’s Goan community is gearing up for its last hoorah before Lent on Feb. 13.

Surrey’s Carnival Cultural Club’s biannual Carnival Fiesta — happening this Sunday at the Royal King Palace and Convention Centre in Surrey — is something Sharlene Lobo, 23, has been doing every second year for her entire life.

“My grandmother started it, so we’re all involved — all my cousins, all my aunts and uncles — we’re really involved in the carnival, on the committee,” Lobo said from the basement of her Surrey home, surrounded by glitter, paint and decorations for the upcoming event. “It’s just something we do.”

The festival marks the start of Lent — a 40-day period of fasting before Easter — which plays a big role in the Goan culture, with about 99 per cent of people practicing Catholicism.

“(So) it’s an extremely small minority in India,” said Edwina Nazareth, Lobo’s mother. “The religion is different, traditions are different, the cooking is different, it’s just a different community.”

They’re also a small community in B.C. and across Canada.

But it was Nazareth’s mother, Martha, who started the festival in Canada in 1995. Martha passed away in 2003, but her family proudly carries on the successful tradition.

“It was never meant to be anything,” Nazareth said of her mother’s first-ever Carnival Fiesta, which had about 80 people attend. “It was a tiny little event that took place in a small community hall and since then we’ve grown and grown and grown and last year had 630 people.”

“I’m sure she’d have been very proud if she was here today to see how big it has grown.”

Nazareth hopes the event will raise about $10,000 this year, which they’ll donate to charities or student scholarships, but she also hopes to put some of the remaining funds towards a clubhouse for the local Goan community.

But the festival is “basically all fun really,” said Nazareth.

“We just have lots of partying, we have games of skill, something for everyone — something for the children, for the adults,” she said.

There’s a big feast, dance performances, a float parade and competition as well as a talent competition. And this year’s theme is “blast from the past,” so everyone will be in ’30s, ’40s, ’50s or ’60s attire and building their floats to match.

“We have people dressing up as Elvis, as Marilyn Monroe — people will be in costume,” said Nazareth.

People from all over the Lower Mainland are building floats to take part in the competition as well.

The extravagant event is something Lobo looks forward to every year, but it certainly takes a lot of work.

“I’ve got a lot on my plate,” she said. “I’m in charge of all the decorations for the day, the main King Momo’s float . . . and I’m also competing in the float competition.”

Her basement — which has been turned into a Carnival Fiesta workshop — is a testament to that. Cardboard cutouts of glittered and colourful displays are strewn across hardwood floors, tables are hidden beneath cloths and turned into painting stations and the garage is the construction zone for Lobo’s two floats.

“I’ve been working on all this stuff since, I would say, November — putting it together slowly,” she said. “I’ve been putting in 12-hour days some days on the weekends and every night another six or seven hours some days, so it’s been a long time.”

“There’s a lot of construction involved … lots of organizing and lots of manpower.”

But for most of the hours she puts in community members come over to help — so it ends up being a social event.

“Everyone has a great time,” said Lobo. “It’s fun . . . it’s something that runs in my family.”

But after all her hard work, she’s hesitant to reveal her masterpieces before the grand event.

“Our main king Momo’s float is a real blast from the past,” she said with a smile. “But I can’t give it away.”

Tags: , ,


gay marriage-fake-scam

Undercover agent ‘Ruby’ from Mumbai exposes fake gay marriage scam in UK

HINDUSTAN TIMES A new crime sub-category has emerged in Britain after same-sex marriages were made legal in March: fake marriages between same-sex couples for a…
Continue Reading »


Abbotsford police don’t think missing girl was abducted or hurt

VIVIAN LUK THE CANADIAN PRESS ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Police in Abbotsford were cautiously optimistic Wednesday morning that a report of a missing young girl is…
Continue Reading »

B.C. courts

Not recognizing marital rape in India as an offence is hypocrisy in law, judge says

IANS New Delhi – Observing that India is yet to recognize woman’s right to control marital intercourse as a core component of equality, a court…
Continue Reading »


3 Afghan soldiers who fled for Canada fear torture, death if they return home

By Carolyn Thompson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BATAVIA, N.Y. — Three Afghan military officers who sought refuge in Canada after taking off from a military training…
Continue Reading »

3 Afghan soldiers who fled for Canada fear torture, death if they return home

By Carolyn Thompson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BATAVIA, N.Y. — Three Afghan military officers who sought refuge in Canada after taking off from a military training…
Continue Reading »

B.C. reports two enterovirus cases in child and teen with polio-like symptoms

By Sheryl Ubelacker THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — A new threat is emerging in the outbreak of the respiratory illness enterovirus D68 — a small…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...


Health Canada bans some drugs from India on quality concerns

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Health Canada says it is banning imports of some medications and drug ingredients produced in India due to concerns about…
Continue Reading »


What’s on the White House menu for Indian PM Narendra Modi who’s fasting?

CONNIE CASS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — What do you serve a man who isn’t eating? Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was served warm water…
Continue Reading »


Video: Rescue story of a dog that fell into hot tar and turned into a rock

VANCOUVER DESI A team of animal rescuers in Western India spent two days working to free a helpless dog trapped in a pile of hot…
Continue Reading »

body image-beauty-weight-control

Self-compassion leads to positive body image in women

IANS Toronto – Women who accept and tolerate their bodily imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their high body mass index…
Continue Reading »


Close the Vancouver airport immigration cells where Mexican woman hanged herself: lawyer

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI Canada should close the immigration holding centre where a Mexican woman awaiting deportation hanged herself, and put up detainees in hotels,…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Bollywood celebs — then and now

VANCOUVER DESI We are loyal Bollywood fans and have followed our favourites through the years, be it the Khans or the beauty queens. Here’s a…
Continue Reading »


Haider: A powerful revenge saga (w/trailer)

TROY RIBEIRO IANS  Film: “Haider”; Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Shraddha Kapoor, Irrfan Khan; Director: Vishal Bhardwaj; Rating: *** 1/2) With revenge as…
Continue Reading »


Hrithik Roshan: Adversity is a gym for the mind

RASHIKA BHIRANI IANS  New Delhi – He overcame stammering; witnessed his father’s failure as an actor and producer and his surviving a gunshot wound; saw…
Continue Reading »