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  • Socorro hopes for fruitful Cajuchem Fest on April 5

    Mar 28th, 2015

    On his travels oversees, when people ask cultural activist Marius Fernandes about his roots, he responds saying, "I come from a place where the fruit grows outside the seed." This witty reference to the cashew of Goa undoubtedly takes people by surprise. Fernandes laments that most people associate the exotic fruit with only urrak and feni. In order to showcase the innovative uses of the cashew apple and nut, Fernandes has planned to hold a unique cashew festival in Socorro. After successfully organizing the Patoieanchem Fest during the monsoon for three consecutive years, Fernandes along with the Socorro socio-art and cultural association, Porvorim, is planning to organize a summer festival called Cajuchem Fest on April 5, coinciding with Easter, behind the Socorro church. "The festival will be a multicultural event showcasing the importance of the cashew and will help in building communal harmony by attracting people of different communities from all over Goa," said Fernandes. The festival will highlight the untold story behind the various features of the Goan cashew. For instance, the preparation process of cashew drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, will be showcased. Bibem (seeds) will be baked and broken for consumption by festival attendees and cashew saplings—hybrid and local—will be distributed to interested farmers. Scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and eminent speakers from Green Essentials, an organization that guides people on how to grow food organically at home, have been called upon to give talks on various aspects of cashew cultivation and processing. Additionally, a cultural programme highlighting the different uses of cashew will be showcased through song and dance. Freshly made food items, squashes and sweets made from cashew will also be served to the attendees in coconut shells, free of cost. Traditional games like biyani (playing with seeds) and more will also be organized. All this will be materialized in seven stalls representing the seven vaddos of Socorro. The people involved are villagers hailing from these vaddos who have willingly volunteered to be a part of the festival. The cashews being used for the festival are from the people's personal resources. "The event is being conducted without any sponsorship," said Fernandes, adding, "From the ingredients for food to the decor, everything is from the villagers' homes. We want people to appreciate Goa's cashews and participate in the festival. Something like this cannot be deemed as a commercial event. It's a festival of the people, for the people." Like the Patoieanchem Fest, the association intends to organize the Cajuchem Fest devoid of political influence or a chief guest and without the use of plastic. Festival in-charge Fr Santana Carvalho said, "Everything will be prepared by the people of the village. This festival will bring out the flavours of Goa and promote its culture."