Read on to know more about festivals of Goa, India.
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Goa Tourism : Goa Travel Guide : Festivals of Goa

Festivals of Goa

In addition to the major Hindu, Christian and Muslim festivals, Goa celebrates its own special ones.

January:
6th Feast of the Three Kings, celebrated in Cansaulim(Cuelim), Chandor and Rice Magos.

February/March:
The Carnival is a non-religious festival celebrated all over Goa. On the first day(Fat Saturday), ‘ King Momo’ leads a colourful procession of floats with competing ‘teams’ dressed in flamboyant costumes as they wind through the towns’ main streets. Dances are held in clubs and hotels through the 4 days and traffic comes to a halt on some streets from time to time. Mahashivaratri or Sivaratri is celebrated with feasting and fairs at Siva temples, for example Mangesh, Nagesh, Queula and Shiroda.

March:
Shigmotsav Similar to Holi, at full moon, particularly in Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco da Gama and Margao, is accompanied with plenty of music on drums and cymbals. Procession of all Saints in Goa Velha, on the Monday of Holy Week.

April:
Feast of Our Lady of Miracles, Mapusa, on the nearest Sunday, 16 days after Easter. On the Month of the 3rd week after Easter, the Nossa Senhora de Milages image is venerated by Christians as well as Hindu s who join together to celebrate the feast day of the Saibin. A huge fair and market is held.

May:
30th Goa Statehood Day, when all Government offices and many shops are closed.

June:
13th, Feasst of St Anthony, with songs requesting the gift of rain. Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) (24th).

August:
Janmashtami (birth of Lord Krishna) marked with massw bathing in the Mandovi River off Divar Island. Harvest Festival of Novidade (different dates from 21st to 27th). The first sheaves of rice are offered to the priests, the Governor and re-enactment of one of the battles between Albuquerque and the Adil Shah on the lawns of the Lieutenant Governor’s Place.

October:
Narkasur On the eve of Diwali, Goan Hindus remember the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narkasur. In Panaji there are processions. Fama of Menino Jesus at Colva.

December:
Feast of St Francis Xavier (3rd) at Old Goa. Liberation Day (17 December) marking the end of Portuguese colonial rule (public holiday). Food Festival, Christmas (25 December). Midnight Mass and family get-togethers involving every community.

Like the Hindus in the rest of the country, the Goan Hindus celebrate some common festivals, and observe fasts and have Fairs. Every temple in Goa has a Fair held yearly. The period of the fair ranges from one to five days. The Religious part of the Fair consists of the religious ceremonies being performed for the deity. There are religious discourses and Kirtans held every day. There is always a palanquin procession. All the Fairs have a commercial angle also. A number of stalls are set up. These sell sweetmeats, utensils, toys, ropes, cloth, etc. In Goa dramas play a very important role in these Fairs. The earlier plays were known as 'Dashavatari' based on the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Music always forms the core of each drama. Fairs are also places where sometimes we have unique forms of human worship. In the Sir-igoa Fair, devotees walk on live charcoal. In the Canacona Fair, 3 persons lie down with their heads together and feet pointing in different directions. On their head is kept an earthen pot with fire lit below. An incision with a sword is made in the head of a fourth person and the oozing blood mixes with the cooked rice which is offered to the deity.

The Hindus observe the normal other Festivals as are celebrated by them in the rest of the country. Gudhi Padva is celebrated as the Hindu New Year as else where. After having bath and saying prayer a bamboo staff with a goblet on top is erected in front of the entrance door and worshipped. The prasad is tender neem leaves flavoured with black pepper. Ramanavami (March/April) i.e. the birth of God Rama; Hanuman Jayanti, i.e., birth of God Hanuman; Naga Panchami, i.e. worship of snakes; Gokul Ashtami i.e. birth of Lord Krishna are all celebrated with great fervour by the Hindus. Ganesh Chaturthi i.e. the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh, like in Maharashtra, has great importance in Goa. The festival Goa Festivalslasts for two and a half days. Durva grass shoots in lots of 21 and flowers and ferns form a part of the worship. Earthen coloured images of Lord Ganesh are installed and Puja performed. The installed images are then immersed in water. Fire works display also takes place during this festival. In the Old Conquest areas, a paper drawing of Lord Ganesh is sometimes worshipped. Dassehera is celebrated in honour of Goddess Durga in Goa. Diwali, the festival of lights next is in importance to Ganesh Chaturthi. Earthen pots or lamps or lights are lit in every house. Then effigy of the demon Narkasur is burnt with crowds of people watching it. Shigmo or Holi is another Hindu festival which is very widely celebrated. This is a public festival in Goa. We have in the New Conquest area the Vodlo Shigmo. Celebrated by all classes of people and in the Old Conquest area, we have the celebration of Dhakto Shigmo. Dhakto Shigmo is mostly a festival of folk song and dance. A chorus song known as 'na-mam' is sung on the first day of the festival. Other song known as 'Jof are also sung and a dance known as Tal-gadi' is performed. From the second day onwards, people move from door to door singing to enter into the per­sons who dance and this is known as 'Gade padne'. After a procession a collective ritual bath is performed by all and the festival ends.

Goa FestivalsVodlo Shigmo is performed at the village temple. Songs known as 'chan-draval' are sung. Red powder is show­ered on all. In some parts of Goa ev­ery village has its own way of cele­brating Shigmo. In Zarme village, four village youths are burried up to their necks to show how in olden days petty thieves were punished. In Fatorpa the enactment is done of carrying the de­ity from Kunkolim to Fatorpa to save it from destruction. In Bicholim and the area where the Ranes ruled the festival is celebrated by dancing the 'Ghodemodni'. To the music we hear the sound of galloping horses and then the men come dancing in view. The dancers wear horse shaped bamboo gidles with painted horse heads. They carry swords in their hands, and give the impression of galloping cavalry.

The Mohammedans observe their festivals in the same way as in the rest of India. The Christians have their feast day in various churches and these days are celebrated with great gusto. The other main festivals are New Years day. Earlier the Carnival was cele­brated before Lent with great floric and gaiety. New-a-days the carnival is no longer celebrated but we have dances held in social clubs. The other Catholic Festivals are celebrated by the Christains in the same way as in the rest of the world.


| Month Wise Distribution of Holidays Celebrated In Goa |

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