With the majority of the population being Hindu, Goa has scores of festivals celebrated all around the year. All these festivals do not occur on fixed dates of the caldendar year, since they are based on the Hindu calendar.
Despite the long period of Portuguese colonisation, the Hindu festivals have retained their unique Goan character and are celebrated with deep fervour.
In Hindu mythology, Goa is called the land of the Gods and with good reasons. There are hundreds of Gods and Goddesses with differing names, tastes, rituals and traditions. Most of these have remained unchaged over the centuries while others have adapted to the changing times and circumstances.
Quite a lot of the Goan festivals are actually Jatras (feasts) of the local or family deity celebrated at the temple of the God or Goddess called Devasthan. It is a festive and colourfull occassion in the temple complex with thousands of devotees taking part in the celebrations and the palakhi (palanquin) procession.
Hindu Festivals: Mahashivratri: A celebration in the honour of Lord Shiva held at all the principal Shiva templeIs, it is celebrated in Harvalem, Ramnathi, Kavlem, Mangueshi, Nagueshi, Shiroda, Brahmapuri. Shirgao, Kasarpal, Fatorpa and Panaji. More »
Muslim Festivals: Units of Shah Abdullah at Ponda -17th Zilhaj (February).
Christian Festivals: January 6: Feast of the Three Kings at Reis Magos, Cuelim (Cansaulim) and Chandor. More »
Carnival: Among the various colourful feasts and festivals feasts and festivals that Goa celebrates -with great eclat, Carnaval and Shigmo are the most rumbustious, awaited by the population with intense enthusiasm. Unlike 'Shigmo' which is also celebrated in some oilier parts of India, although under different appellations, 'Carnaval Goa's own, unique, and the Union Territorys contribution to India's other expressions at untrammelled revelry. More »
Shigmo Festival: Holi in Goa is celebrated as Shigmotsav, which is a festival of farewell to winter and welcome to spring celebrated with colour, songs and dances to the beat of drums. Float parades depicting various scenes of mythology are also held.
Shigmo in Goa is esentially a festival of the masses. It is so all over India, though it is celebrated under different names and in different ways in various parts of the country.
It is the festival of farewell to winter celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna(March), the last month of the Hindu calendar.
In Goa, which has always been land of temples, shigmo begins with Naman or collective obeisance of villagers from 9th moon day to full-moon day. During all these days, they are to 'shun' non-veg. food and all intoxicants.
From the 11th Moon day to the 15th moon day, various village groups clad in their most colorful dresses set out with festive mood with multi-colored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spoted "Dwajas", beating drums and blowing flutes to gather at the village temples, and dance in the temple court yard singing various folk songs to the beat of the drums.
On the 5th day comes the real day of re-joicing. It is called "Rang Panchami" - it is practised differently at different places. The main function of the day, however, is the profuse use of 'Gulal' or red-powder. It's a symbol of rejoicing, when people throw it on each other as a sign of full-hearted greeting.
Other Festiavls Goa: A time to express happiness at the arrival of spring is a 3-day festival of colour, fun and frolic providing a healthy entertainment for all. young and old. with khells, dance and parades. It is celebrated in February March. More »