Festivals of Goa
In addition to the major Hindu, Christian and Muslim
festivals, Goa celebrates its own special ones.
6th Feast of the Three Kings, celebrated in Cansaulim(Cuelim), Chandor
and Rice Magos.
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
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
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.
30th Goa Statehood Day, when all Government offices and many shops are
13th, Feasst of St Anthony, with songs requesting the gift of rain.
Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) (24th).
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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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