Accepted Paper:

Ritual, tourism and sensorial dimension among the Catholic Gaudde in Goa, India  


Cláudia Pereira (ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

Dances and songs with Hindu and Catholic references are performed by the Catholic Gaudde, a caste from Goa, in their religious rituals, transformed, nowadays, into an object of folklore to be consumed by tourists. The aesthetical dimension of their sound and visual performances is still to be explored.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will focus on the Catholic Gaudde of a village in South Goa, on the basis of the year's fieldwork that I carried out there in 2006-7. Converted to Catholicism during the Portuguese administration, the Gaudde challenged the colonial power and continued to perform in secret the rituals prior to conversion with Hindu references, till presently. These rituals performed jointly with songs and dances have been creatively recreated and are both performed in the village, far away from other Catholic castes, and in touristic places, to foreigners.

The sensorial and aesthetical dimension of their songs and dances highlight the connection between religion, rituals and tourism. On the one hand, in the village, the aesthetics of the ritual's place acquires ritual meaning together with the body experience shared by women while dancing collectively - reinforcing their ties through the individual bodies. The arrangement of the objects, the space's combination of Nature and sacred symbols, the colours highlighting women's movements, the intense sound of musical instruments played by men and their voices - all emphasise the non-verbal dimension of the ritual. On the other hand, during touristic performances the aesthetical references change, the songs and clothes become standardized, offering an object of art that seems exotic to foreign audience. To these spectators it is their art that enables the contact with the Other through the senses and emotions provoked by their performance's images, voices and sounds.

Panel P10
Consuming culture: the politics and aesthetics of cultural tourism in different national traditions