A kaleidoscope of astounding contrasts and vibrant festivities, there is no other land portion on the planet that would allow the visitors to discover global multi-culture in few hours like Goa does.
Located at the Arabian Sea, west of South Indian Coast, Goa sits atop 1022 meters above sea level. Extremely religious tolerant and with a rich multi-cultural history, it was once ruled by the Portuguese, Mughals and gradually nurtured a culture of its own.
This unique cultural blend is quite evident from all its festivals, as Goa hosts Portuguese, Hindu and Christian festivals with as much fervor, fairs, music and cuisines as possible.
Here is the list of some of the most exotic Goan festivals:
Food and Cultural Fest
Held from 28th Feb to 4Th March, this five day celebration specifically focuses on Goan cuisines specially the relishing sea-food. Visitors can pamper their taste-buds with strong chili hot and spicy seafood such as crabs, prawns, pomfrets, lobsters, clams, oysters, ladyfish and mussels. Popular cuisines include – fish-curry, Kismur, Kalputi, Solachi Kadi, and beef tongue – the list is endless.
Held from 1st March to 4th March, this four day extravaganza introduced by the Portuguese is full of fun, amusement frolic and festivity. Covering the entire state, the festivities are marked by a parade of colorful floats, graceful dances and masked revelers dressed in dazzling costumes singing, dancing to lively music and non-stop strumming of guitar and festive beats.
It is quite related to Hindu religious festival, Holi – the festivals of Colors. Held from 16th to 31st March, it is biggest Goan Spring Festival. This energetic color-festival is celebrated with an amazing enactment of epic mythology accompanied by huge ballet troupes who perform elaborate movements of folk-dance with much fanfare. Both visitors and locals celebrate this festival among fervor and enthusiasm.
Cashew and Coconut Fest
Cashews were introduced to India through Goa and both cashews and coconut are significant to Goan economy. So the Goan state government decided to hold a cashew and coconut festival from May 2014, to memorialize that. The tourists can enjoy fun activities like coconut tree climbing, cashew stomping and coconut breaking competitions. And can even shop for handicrafts and relish dishes made of coconut and cashew Feni.
Also called “Chovoth”, it marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha (the Hindu Elephant God) and is the biggest Hindu religion Goan festival. Held in the month of September, this festival is symbolized by the clay-idol worship of Lord Ganesha and after the celebrations, the very idol is finally immersed in the sea. Women observe fast and offer fruit, coconut and other items to the deity. Goan’s literally feast throughout the day as five different cuisines are cooked on the day of immersion.
IFFI stands for International Film Festival of India. Goa is permanent host to the biggest international Film Festival of India. Held in the Month of November every year, it is one of the favorite destinations of international and national film fraternity. The festival aims to appreciate the art of filmmaking, different genres and understand different cultures across the globe through their films. All the shortlisted films are screened on daily basis and the makers are awarded according to their field of excellence at the end of the Film Festival.
Christmas and New-year Fest
Tourists all around the world flock to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve on Goan soil and it is probably the busiest of all time for Goans. It starts on 25th Dec and lasts till 1st Jan and is earmarked by musical events which has been pulling an international crowd to Goa since its commencement. Visitors can go rhetoric about shopping, music, food, dance and boundless entertainment. Parties just flows in the veins of all during that period and they feast as if there’s no tomorrow.
The Feast of three Kings
Also called the Holy Epiphany or Festa dos Reis, The Feast of Three Kings is one of the premiere scores of celebrated Goan Christian festivals. Dedicated to Three Kings of Magi and Lady of the Mount, this fest is ceaselessly celebrated for 9 continuous days and attains its pinnacle on January 6th of each year. To mark this day, three boys aged from 8 to 12, from three adjacent townships of Cansaulim, Quelim and Arrosim are selected as The Three Kings, who lead three different colorful and vibrant processions. These processions are accompanied by soulful music and dances of the Goan Christian community. Each of The Three Kings climbs atop the Remedios Hill, to present their gifts to infant Jesus at the hill Church. From dawn till dusk, people eat, drink, buy souvenirs and gifts, and make merry.
Goa is loaded with festivals throughout the calendar year. Do embark on a trip to this portion of the planet to become part of the exotic cultural extravaganza which colors this land each year.
Mary Brown is travel blogger and a freelance Editor for a luxury lifestyle publication. She is a 20-something fun loving and ambitious female who loves to write about all of her amazing personal and professional travel experiences.