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"The beautiful state of Goa is a unique blend of socio-religious culture. The Goan calendar is marked by several feast days, thanksgiving, monsoon celebrations, and processions. The temples and churches of Goa have a unique way of celebrating these fairs and festivals."
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Goa Fairs And Festivals

Goa Carnival
People Celebrating Carnival in Goa

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A group of people who are deeply religious and cultural despite being modern - that's how Goans are. The people of Goa are also an enthusiastic lot who love to live every moment of their life to the fullest. These two traits of Goans together make them extremely special. And when they are so special, can their fairs and festivals be in anyway ordinary? Of course not. The fairs and festivals of Goan are infact reflective of their very religious and cultural self. And as for the enthusiasm we mentioned earlier, you need to experience it to know what it actually is.

With a majority of Hindu and Christian population, the major festivals celebrated in the state definitely belong to these two religions. However, this does not imply that festivals of people following other religion are not celebrated in the state. Moreover, there are certain festival that are celebrated only in Goa. It is these festivals that make Goa so special. Varying in their themes, these festivals lend a unique charm to the state and attract tourists in large number.

Famous Goa Festival
Goa Carnival

Other Goa Fairs And Festivals

Feast of St Francis Xavier

The Feast of St Francis Xavier is held during the month of December, in the first week itself. The venue for the feast is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa. St Francis Xavier is hugely renowned Christian saint and his feast attracts a whole lot of devotees from all over the country and even across the world. It is believed that even after his death, the body of the pious saint did not rot away like the rest of the mortals. Today, his body is preserved in a silver casket in the Bom Jesus and is displayed every ten years. After the last exposition in 1994, the authorities found out that the body is longer in a condition to be displayed, hence further exposition appears impossible in future. However, the feast is celebrated every year and if you wish to pay your respect to the saint, you can be a part of this feast.

Feast of Three Kings

This feast is celebrated in The Church Of Our Lady Of The Mount in Old Goa and is also known as the Festa Dos Reis or The Epiphany Day. The date for celebration is 6th of January. The special feature of this feast is that despite being a Christian festival, it is celebrated by Hindus with equal fervour. The Lady of Mount, as a mark of respect to whom this festival is celebrated, is believed to protect people and grant their wishes for children. The festival continues for nine days (ending at 6th Jan) and is marked by a lot of music and dance. On the last day three young boys dressed as kings reach the chapel after driving to different paths and offer the Lady of Mount everything they have. The rituals are followed by a fair where you can shop for a whole range of items ranging from meal to copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts.

Shigmotsav

This is yet another festival that is celebrated in the month of March from 11th moonday to 15th moonday. Shigmotsav is basically a festival of masses wherein people in different villages dress up beautifully and rejoice in the merrymaking of the festival. There is song on every lip as the group of people dance their ways to the temple. 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 (an NGO based in Goa), the Corporation of the City of Panaji and the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa. The festival, now in its third year, aims to preserve and promote the built heritage of Goa. The festival is marked by performances from various artists as well as display of work of art by local artisans. The festival in short is not only meant to celebrate the cultural heritage of the state. Rather, it also makes an effort to inspire awareness and appreciation in the hearts of Goans with respect to their culture and the need to conserve it for the benefit of future generation.

Bonderam

The festival traces its origin during the Portuguese rule. Two villages on the Divar Islands, Piedalda and Sao Mathias, were constantly locked in conflict over property issues. The Portuguese stepped in and tried to resolve the issue. They introduced a manner of division of properties with flags of various nations. However, the villagers were in no mood to accept the changes and threw stones at the flags to knock them out. Today, on the 4th Saturday of August, the Bonderam festival remembers the same incident. Each section of the village has its own float and there is plenty of music to keep the entire atmosphere alive.

Sea Food Festival

As per its name, this annual Sea food festival celebrates the rich sea food of Goa. For five days at a stretch, reputed hotels and chefs hold a stall and offer wonderful sea food prepared by them. Not to be left behind, the housewives too make their contribution in turning this event into a joyful affair. The festival will be loved by all those who are fond of sea food in general and Goan sea food in particular.

Monte Music Festival

A pretty recent festival, started just few years back, the Monte Music Festival celebrates the coming together of western classical along with Indian classical form of music. The venue for the festival, which is organised by the combined efforts of Fundacao Oriente, Cidade de Goa and the Kala Academy, is Capela da Nossa Senhora do Monte (Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount). Performances are usually held for four days and provides a platform to a number of artists to display their talents in front of an appreciative audience.

Kesarbai Kerkar Music Festival

This annual festival, celebrated for the past 23 years, is a joy for the lovers of music and dance. The venue for the festival is the Kala Academy complex in Panaji and the time of the year is November.

Christmas and New Year Celebrations

When Festivals in Goa is talked about, Christmas is right at top in excitement and energy. In fact, there might not be another place in India, that celebrates Christmas and New year with such enthusiasm and gala. Throughout the week between Christmas and New year, Goa is drenched in the colors of festivities with numerous parties and cultural shows. The best place to enjoy the Christmas celebrations are the churches of Goa whereas beaches are the unparalleled destinations to go for new year extravaganza.

Some More Goa Festivals

Hindu Festivals

Chovoth, Diwali, Gokulashtami, Holi, Lairai Jatra, Nagpanchami, Gudi Padwa, Raksha Bandhan, Ram Navmi, Vasco Saptah

Christian Festival

Christmas, Good Friday, Colva Fama, Margao Feast, Procession of Saints, Konsachem Fest, Sao Jaoa, Touxeachem Fest, Feast of St peter Paul.

Goan Festivals

Annual Mando festival, Fontainhas Festival of Arts


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