Bicholim is a place famous for its waterfalls and ancient caves. A place steeped in historical significance, as it was here that that Marathas and Portuguese had many a heated battle. Its history and topography have inadvertently influenced the folklore of the place.

Words fail to describe the beauty and splendor of the peacock, the National bird of India. If your stars are lucky, you might spot a group of peacocks descending from their high perches in the hills to the fields.  It’s a matter of pride to know that a dance called the Morulo based on this magnificent looking bird is performed in Goa.

Pundalik Sawant (Leader of the group): “The steps in Morulo are similar to the  dance of the peacock.
This is a traditional dance which we perform during Shigmo festival.”

The Morulo which depicts the expressions of a peacock, although is performed during Shigmo at more than one place in Goa, is a dance said to have originated in the quaint village of Sarwan in Bicholim.

Pundalik Sawant: “Morulo was first began in Sarwan. The traditional business of the Sarwan villagers is selling of ‘suranga’ flowers.

You will find that most of the trees in Sarwan are of the suranga. The peacocks came and roosted on these trees. But as they moved about, the buds of the suranga flowers dropped to the ground before flowering. So to shoo them away, the villagers used to shout and dance. This evolved into the ‘Morulo” dance.”

Pundalik Swant: “Though few historians say that the peacocks came to the fields, that is not so. This dance came to existence in order to protect suranga trees from peacocks.”

With an orange vest and a loincloth around the waist; a blue cloth is tied to the head of the dancers with a feather of a peacock like a crown.  The dancers who are all male tie ‘ghungrus’ to their feet. This makes a continuous jingling sound which creates its own rhythm.

Pundalik Sawant:” Pardi who are peacock hunters, wear feathers on their foreheads. Their costume was like that worn by tribals.

So naturally, our costumes in this dance is based on the peacock and its feathers, which forms the theme of the ‘Morulo” dance.”

 A group of men besides the dancers, stand at a distance singing, clapping and playing various musical instruments.
Of significance here is the  ‘zaanj’, an important part of this musical set up. The ‘zaanj’ is a two piece metallic instrument and when hit against each other produces a high pitched sound and beat.

There are interesting songs to which this dance is performed. One of them sings of the joys of the mischievous peahens when they see the peacock fallen in a trap. The peacock retaliates by bravely freeing himself and strutting in pride.

The Morulo is an example of the ingenuity of the locals, transforming a mundane event of every day life into an entertaining activity like this dance form.

The steady slow rhythmic dance breaks into a quick tempo at the fag end of the dance. This signals the close of the Morulo.

The people of Sarwan are the proud custodians of this ancestral dance, which the older generation are striving hard to pass on to the youth in a bid to preserve a priceless piece of their heritage.

Go back to Traditional Dances of Goa

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