The town of Goa comes most alive during the annual Goan Carnival, which is marked by great revelry and celebrations. The Carnival is marked by feasting, drinking and merrymaking, celebrated before the 40 days Lent, marked by severe fasting, begins. Vibrant parades are organized to the accompaniment of music, and grand balls are held in the evenings. The carnival concludes with the famous Red-and-Black Dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim. Held at the same time is Shigmotsav, which is a 6-day festival, marked by a range of interesting dances. Particularly noteworthy is the Ghodemodni, when men don the garb of a horse waist-down and brandish their swords to the accompaniment of drums.
The official start to the festivals in Goa is the customary Tulsi Lagna, when the Tulsi plant is married off to the sugarcane! Ganesh Chaturthi is undoubtedly among the most revered festivals in Goa. While it is celebrated across the town with idols of Ganesha installed in the street corners and houses, the Ram Mandir at Margao is the most important site of this festival. The clay idol of the Lord is installed for 10 days and a large number of devotees throng the temple offering garlands and modaks to their beloved lord. Similar crowds gather at this temple during Navratri and Ramnavami. Diwali is also celebrated with much fervour and huge dummies of Narkasura are burnt by the locals.
Of particular interest to all Goans is the Temple Zatras that last upto ten days and include elaborate processions of patron gods and goddesses. A Zatra typically includes carrying the deity in a flower-decked palki, placing the deity on a swing (makkar), performing the customary aarti, carrying the deity in an elaborate rath and the Sangodd, when idols carried across the Goan rivers are brought back to their temples. Especially worth watching is the Shantadurga Zatra, during which the goddess at Shantadurga Temple is carried around the temple complex in a bedecked palanquin amidst chanting of prayers.
Considering the predominant Christian population in Goa, all churches host their Annual Feasts, which are marked by people attending from far and wide. The annual feast of St Sebastian is held in January, when his icon is carried through the Goan villages and candles burn in every window. St Anthony of Padua’s feast day is celebrated in June to invoke miracles from this saint. An interesting event at the feast day of St John the Baptist in June, is the customary jumping of young men in the water filled wells! A particularly popular and much attended feast is that of St Francis Xavier. Millions throng to the Basilica in December, where the remains of the saint are kept. In fact, these remains are put up on display to the public once every 10 years. St Anne’s Feast Day is celebrated in July by expectant mothers. St Dominic Savio’s Feast day is celebrated in May, when he is worshipped by choirboys and pregnant women.
Advent is celebrated four Sundays before Christmas, as a signal for preparations of Christmas sweets. Special prayers are held in the churches and Advent Rings with candles are hung. Christmas is definitely the most awaited for celebration, not just by locals but by people all over the world.
Among Muslim festivities, the most prominent ones are the period of Ramadan, when Iftar parties are held signaling the end of the month-long fasting, the Bakri Eid when prayer meets are organized by the Igdah Maidans in Mapusa and Margao and the Eid e Milad, which celebrates the Prophet’s birthday.
Top Hotels in Goa
- Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort
- Resort De Coracao
- North 16 Goa
- The Zuri White Sands Goa Resort Casino
- Resorte Marinha Dourada
Top Landmarks in Goa
- Hotels Near Dudhsagar Falls
- Hotels Near Titos Lane
- Hotels Near Thivim Railway Terminus
- Hotels Near Madgaon Rly Stn
- Hotels Near Verna Industrial Estate