Goa is home to a rich and vibrant community who celebrate a host of different festivals every year. This article lists the festivals that are native to Goan celebrations. Check them out to come closer to traditions of Goa.
Beautiful Culture and Festivals of Goa:
Shigmo is the Goan equivalent of Holi, the festival of colour. This festival involves performances by large dance troupes who perform folk dances on the road in the parade that goes throughout the place. This is a centuries old tradition.
Dussehra is an auspicious day associated with all things new. On this day, people buy new vehicles and start new projects. The new vehicles are draped with marigold flowers and are driven down the roads of Goa. This day is also known as “Vijayadashmi” and is marked by puja ceremonies at the important temples of Goa.
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Ganesh Chaturthi, is unarguably the most popular festival celebrated in Goa. It is celebrated in the months of August or September. Large decorated idols of Lord Ganesha, made of clay, are paraded through the streets. Offerings and prayers are made to the idols. The end of the pujas are marked by the immersion of the idol into the sea.
Diwali, is also known as the festival of lights. This festival commemorates the killing of the demon Ravana by the king of Ayodhya, Ram. On returning after his victory, the kind was welcomed with the lighting of crackers and light. An effigy of Ravana is burnt at a fair, with the arrow of Ram. In Goa, the effigies are called Narkasur and they are burnt a day earlier than Diwali. The effigies are made of paper and straw and decorated colourfully. They are burnt before sunrise.
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Holi is known as the festival of colors. This is the time when all the natives play with colour and drenches one other with paint and coloured water. The use of multiple colours in this festival stands for the oncoming of a good and bountiful spring harvest.
The Christian Carnival is the annual Christian four-day festival celebration. It begins on the Saturday that is before Ash Wednesday. It starts off the 40-day period of Lent that is the period of penance and of abstinence. This is just before Easter which is the time of the Resurrection of Jesus. This four-day Carnival is derived from the world famous festival in Rio, in Brazil. The Goa Carnival is led by the king, King Momo, and consists of a parade with singers with guitars singing folk songs, accompanying floats and colourful dancing troupes in all of Goa.
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Feast of St Francis Xavier:
This is a major Christian festival. The major Feast of St Francis Xavier is held at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, in Old Goa, on the 3 rd of December. St Francis Xavier was a great Jesuit priest and missionary. He is the patron saint of Goa. He attracts worshippers and devotees from all corners of the world. His mummified body has been preserved in silver casket of exquisite ornamentation. It has been preserved for centuries at the Basilica. The body is displayed to the public every ten years during the annual Exposition. The feast, however, is held every year. It attracts thousands of devotees from all parts of India. The saint is supposed to have healing powers.
This festival marks the feast of one of the apostles, St John the Baptist. It is held on June 24th. It is celebrated all over Goa by young men who jump into the wells in order to retrieve the gifts that have been thrown in by villagers. The festival is celebrated at the beginning of the monsoon season. Afterwards, the feast includes the Goan liquor feni and a large meal.
These festivals make Goa the seat of a rich and vibrant community. If you want to experience the real Goa, you had better not miss these!