Goa is a place where festivals are a way of life and celebrated around the year. Most of the celebrations are woven around religious occasions. Singing and dancing being a part of life, the Goans thrive on festivals. Some of the festivals that are celebrated with pomp are listed below. The visit to Goa is better to be synchronised with the major festivals that are celebrated during the months of November through April.
Food & Cultural Festival
This is a 5-day festival planned and celebrated at one of the beaches to give special focus on Goan seafood and entertainment. Goan cuisine is famous and they have elevated cooking to a delicate art, transforming it to a unique cuisine, a blend of the Western and Indian dishes. The festival is celebrated in November or in December every year
Carnival in Goa is a three-day non-stop festival of colour, song and music. Adopted from the Portuguese, carnival with grand parades, floats, singing and dancing are organised by the Government and the tourism industry. Every year, carnival is held from 12th to 15th February. Colourful processions lead by 'King Mom', shows, parades, floats etc., makes carnival a great spectacle. Carnival is one of the most awaited summer festivals in Goa that also heralds the time of lent for the Goan Christian community.
Shigmo festival is Goa's version of Holi, an ancient Hindu festival. It is celebrated in the month of March during the full moon period from the 11th to 15th moon day that marks the beginning of spring. People irrespective of caste, religion or creed gather to watch the Shigmo parade held in Panjim.
Sao Joao Festival
Sao Joao is the feast of St. John the Baptist observed on 24th June. Newly wed sons-in-law celebrate it at their mothers-in-law's houses. On this occasion the mother presents a basket full of fruits like jackfruits, mangoes, pineapples, etc. to her daughter to be taken home. A procession of village youth wearing crowns of leaves, carrying bottles of Feni advances through the village, ultimately arriving at a pond into which they jump along with the sons-in-law.
This is perhaps the most significant Hindu festival in Goa. Ganesh festival is celebrated in Goa with religious fervour and spontaneity similar to other parts of India. The idols of Ganesh are carried in procession and immersed in water in ponds, rivers or sea.
Zatra is another Hindu festival of temple feast and processions. This is celebrated in the early part of May, every year, in the town of Shirgao in Bicholim. Thousands of devotees gather and indulge in rituals and pujas to Goddess Shree Lairai. A thrilling and exciting fire walking is
Feast of the passion of Christ
This feast is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter. The festival attracts more than 50,000 people from all over Goa. The feast is celebrated in Siridao, a small village in Tiswadi.
The festival of lights is celebrated together with the rest of the country to rejoice the triumph of good over evil.
Many other religious and non-religious festivals like X-Mas, Goan State hood Day, Independence Day, Republic day etc; which are celebrated nation wide are also celebrated in Goa.