Alexander Henn (Arizona State University) in collaboration with Alito Siqueira (Goa University).
Photography and Editing S. Gasper D'Souza
Every year, Hindus and Catholics in the villages of Goa (India) honor their gods and saints and ancestors in this colorful night-long ritual called Jagor.
The ceremonies combine prayers, songs, skits and dances from both the Hindu and the Catholic tradition and the languages of Konkani and Portuguese intersect. The ritual is thus reminiscent of India's longest-lasting experience of European colonialism under Portuguese-Catholic rule (1510-1961).
As the genealogies of its performers, the ritual has gone through conversion and shuddhi (purification), has become Catholic and Hindu and has reached its post-colonial syncretistic presence today. Its songs have no master narrative but string together a multitude of stories dealing with mythology and the everyday, the divine and the mundane, drama and laughter. Above all, they present the voices of the Goan Gaude and Render and other men and women and children at home in Goa, for whom staying awake for their gods and saints for an entire night was always a way of praying and feasting, trusting and staying healthy, and expressing their culture, art and Self.