Goa Carnival

While many relate Goa with beaches, nightlife and fun, there is a lot more to this place that makes Goa a vibrant destination. This beach paradise is in every sense a land of cultural heritage and tradition. Goa is a potpourri of several communities, culture and festivals. It is this beautiful blend of vivid traditions that is evident in the various fairs and festivals of Goa. In spite of being inhabited predominantly by the Christians, it is not only the Christian fairs and festivals, but also festivals of Hindu and Muslim religions that are celebrated here with the same zeal and fervor. Let's glance down at some of the most celebrated festivals of Goa.

Goa Carnival
The Carnival is perhaps the most famous of all festivals in Goa. Celebrated for three days and three nights, this festival lightens up every nook and corner of Goa. The Carnival was introduced by the Portuguese colonial rule in the 18th century. It is also a part of the ancient Rome and Greece which later crawled into the culture of Spain and Portugal. The most interesting part about this festival is that although it has a hint of Portuguese culture, it is also celebrated with full zeal in authentic Goanese style.

Feast of Saint Francis Xavier
This is another popular festival in Goa that is carried out to honour the death of Saint Xavier, popularly known as 'Goencho Saib' (Lord of Goa) by locals. This religious festival of Goa is celebrated for nine days, and devotees from all over the country flock Goa to offer their prayers. Huge arrangements of food and drinks are made available to the public, and the park outside the church is transformed into a picnic spot.

Procession of All Saints
The Procession of All Saints in Goa is one of the most popular festivals in the state of Goa. A huge number of people take part in this festival. This festival starts every year in the month of March from the Church of St Andrew in Old Goa. Travelling to Goa during this time of the year gives you wonderful opportunity to be a part of a religious fair and festival. The rituals of the fair are quite interesting to witness. The locals carry life size statues of 31 saints on their shoulders on the fifth Monday of Lent and circulate it in the procession around the village.

Feast of Three Kings
Celebrated as an ode to the ‘Our Lady of the Ount’, a statue of Virgin Mary with infant Jesus in her hand, this is another popular festival of Goa. During this festival, the Lady of the Mount is embellished with jewelry. Devotees climb up to her to seek her blessings. The Festival of the Three Kings is celebrated after 12 days of Christmas to commemorate the visit of the three wise men to infant Jesus. Every year, hundreds of Christian as well as Hindu devotees offer prayers with candles, flowers and incense.

Christmas and New Year
Among all the festivals in Goa, Christmas is right at the top of excitement and energy. There is hardly any other destination in India that celebrates these two festivals with such enthusiasm. Throughout the celebration week, Goa remains drenched in the colours of festivities with numerous parties and cultural shows. The best place to enjoy the Christmas celebrations is the churches of Goa whereas beaches are the unparalleled destinations to go for New Year extravaganza.

Shigmotsav
Another major festival of Goa is the Shigmotsav, which is a festival of masses. During the celebration, people in different villages dress up beautifully and rejoice in the merrymaking of the festival. An interesting feature of this festival is that a group of people dance their ways to the temple, whilst singing song. The highlight of the festival is the Rang Panchami during which people throw gulal (red colour) at each other.

Goa Heritage Festival
This festival is a combined effort of the Goa Heritage Action Group and the Tourism Department of Goa. As the name suggests, the festival aims at preserving and promoting the heritage of Goa. The festival is highlighted by performances from various artists along with exhibition of work of art by local artisans. This festival creates awareness among the locals to conserve the heritage of Goa for the benefit of future generation.

Sao Joao Festival
Celebrated with amazing enthusiasm and gusto, Sao Joao is another popular festival of Goa. Held at the beginning of the monsoon season, Sao Joao is celebrated on 24th June. Like all the other festivals of Goa, this too is a fun filled and colourful experience. The highlight of the festival is to watch the local parade and sing on a floating platform, made up of two boats or banana trees tied together. This occasion is especially significant for newlyweds and couples with a newborn. Colorful boat races are organized in Soilom, a village in North Goa’s Bardez taluka. This festival is majorly celebrated in Northern Goa.

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