Festivals of Goa

Goa is the smallest India state by area that was established in the year 1987. It’s situated in the western edge of the country & bounded by Maharashtra, Karnataka & Arabian Sea. It’s the richest state in India with per capital GDP & half times of the entire country.

Goa had long been under Portugal regime and an enormous Portuguese influence is still witnessed across the state. The smallest Indian state represents an enriched cultural heritage and history and exhibits a confluence of different cultures that had been dominant in the Konkan region over centiuries. Thus, apart from a huge Portuguese influence you have the Goan culture wrapped with a Mughal touch as well as enriched by the aboriginal feel of the Goan tribes.

Presently, the state is inhabited by people from both Hinduism and Christianity as well as Islam and all the major Hindu, Muslim & Christian occasions are celebrated in Goa with deep respect and enthusiasm. Goan people are renowned for their flamboyance and they love to break out in pompous celebrations for each of the festivals honored here. Fun, frolic and merrymaking come natural to them and it’s the ever joyous spirit of the Goan folks which is fondly echoed all through the festivities taking place in the state throughout the year. Food, dance, drinks and parries are an eminent part of the state’s festival culture and you have people from all over the country and world teaming up with the Goans to celebrate joyous occasions such as Christmas or New Year.

The Goa culture is marked by a wide gamut of festivities. Some of the festivals carry deep religious undertone while some are the vibrant expressions of usually fun-loving and merrymaking Goan populace. The Goa beaches are an important hub for most of the much relished festive celebrations in the state.

Major Festivals of Goa

Goa Carnival

The Goa Carnival bears the strong deep rooted influence of Portuguese heritage on the Indian state. The Carnival takes place just before Lenten fast and the 4 day festival celebrates the fun-loving spirit of the Goan folks. You will find people rejoicing on the streets with masks, fancy dresses & obscene songs. Unchecked eating is one of the major aspects of the festival as well as varied cultural events like unrehearsed farces, street plays, dances and songs shooting caustic comments at the present establishment.

New Year

The commencement of the New Year is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm every year. The entire state lights up in bright colors and beautiful embellishment with beaches being the center of attraction at this time of the year. The New Year celebrations in Goa are marked by grand parties with gourmet and drinks overflowing and people from all over the world grooving till dawn.

San Joao

It’s a traditional Goan revelry which is observed on 24th of June every year. On this occasion, the new son-in-laws visit their mom-in-laws for a fruity treat. Different folk dances are an eminent aspect of this joyous Goan festival.


This is a Portuguese festival which is still celebrated in Goa with much joy and merriment. Bonderam takes place on 4th Saturday in the month of August each year at the island of Divar- amidst great excitement and melodious music. The occasion is commemorated with mock fights in between the rival teams who engage in “Fotash” & berry fight to knock out offensive flags.


Christmas too is celebrated with great exuberance and joy all over Goa, attracting active participation from both Christians and non-Christians. Parties and dancing are a vital part of the Christmas celebrations all over the state where you have the Goan populace rejoicing with gift-giving, splendid gourmet spreads as well as spectacular Christmas decorations.


The Christian populace of Goa celebrates the Easter festival with utter respect and enthusiasm. The Goan Catholics maintain the tradition of Lent fast and Good Friday with great sincerity and reverence. The Good Friday is celebrated with special masses & processions from every church in the state but of course the most amazing scene is presented by the Panaji church processions. Hot-Cross buns are a favorite and one among the most significant bits of the Easter celebration at Goa.


it’s a popular Hindu festival in Goa which is celebrated bidding adieu to winter. The festival of masses starts from ninth moon day of March every year and is continued up the full moon. The occasion commences with Naman by Goan villagers and throughout the Shigmo celebration the Hindu goans shun themselves from non-vegetarian spreads & all kinds of intoxicants. You will find the village folks clad in colorful traditional costumes moving in procession with torans and Dwajas towards the village temples- beating drums & blowing flutes all the way. The Divli folk dance at the templecourtyards is a major part of celebrating Shigmo in Goa.

Goa also celebrates-

Holi - The festival of colors is celebrated by the Goan folks amidst great amusement and fun in the month of March.

Diwali - The Festival of Lights is rejoiced by the Goans with great celebrations in Autumn.

Ramzan Eid & Bakri Eid- The secular state of Goa is respectful towards its Muslim populace and celebrates the most significant Islamic festival with great enthusiasm.

Ganesh Chaturthi - The re-birth of Lord Ganesha is celebrated in August/September.

Janmashtami - The birth anniversary of Lord Krishna is celebrated in the month of August.

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