If you have always wanted to visit Goa, a state located on the Western coast of India to experience a fun lazy holiday by the beach with palm trees and endlessly good food and great music from its beachside bars then wait no more. Goa is an amazing destination filled with colonial architecture, culture and a rich history. This once Portuguese colony is now recognised as a UNESCO world heritage and has so much to offer to any visitors. We think the only way to discover a new country is to meet the locals and join in the local festivities. Hence in this post we share with you some of the popular festivals which are celebrated in Goa.
Though Goa is considered as the most westernized state of India and its predominantly Christians, they do celebrate a lot of the Hindu festivals and have created a unique blend of cultural confluence in the festivities. This beautiful beach capital of India will definitely not disappoint you as well, besides the big festivals such as Christmas, the New Year’s Eve beach parties as well as Diwali, here are six other 6 must not miss festivals when you do visit the beautiful Goa.
Wine festival you ask? Well Goa has been hosting one of the biggest wine festival in the world since 2005. So if you love your wine and plan to visit Goa during summer time, then this is the perfect chance for you to discover new wines and taste decade old wines. There are also great music, live performance and you will also get a chance to meet other restaurateurs, hoteliers and wine experts from all around the world. You will also get a chance to experience the tradition of Grape Stomping.
If you are big on Carnivals then you must head to Goa to witness this amazing carnival which has been celebrated since the 18th century. Also known as ‘Intruz’, the carnival boasts of parades, music, fancy dress costumes, toe-tapping dancing with spellbinding floats and lots of parties organised across Goa. The carnival is held to commemorate the start of Lent which is the 40 days of fasting before Easter).
Holi or Shigmo Festival
Holi Festival, or the “Festival of Colours”, happens around India and is one of the most popular festivals throughout the world. In Goa, Holi is also celebrated to mark the beginning of the spring harvest. The festival is celebrated by throwing brightly coloured powder each other hence we would totally recommend not wearing white! Large bonfires are lit and people celebrate the festival with song and dance. In some areas in Goa, the locals celebrate a similar festival to this called Shigmo and there is also an elaborate folk performances as well as street music and dance.
Festival of St John the Baptist
Two big celebrations happen in June, the first being The Feast of St. John the Baptist which has been celebrated for about 175 years now while the second is the Dancing Monsoon Fiesta. Head to the North of Goa if you would like to see more enthusiasm for this event, and why not join the locals and take a plunge in the village wells singing ‘San Joao’. The locals also tend to drink a lot of feni to commemorate St John jumping into the wells to mark the birth of Jesus. In parts of Goa, boat races are organised. So if you are looking for fun and a wet-carnival like atmosphere then this festival is definitely for you..
Goan Food Festival
If you are a huge foodie and drool over the Goan delicacies such as Pomfret Recheado, Prawns Balchao, Portuguese Devil Curry and Pork Vindaloo then do not miss this amazing food festival which celebrates the delicious food of Goa. People from all walks of life including hoteliers and restaurateurs join in the 5 days of festivities cooking and baking up a storm, there will also be cultural programs and fireworks or you could opt to sit in a lifesize boat beneath the stars and make merry like like the Goans.
Feast of St. Francis Xavier
The Feast of St Francis Xavier is widely celebrated in Goa especially amongst its large Catholic community. St Francis is known to have converted many Goans from Hinduism to Catholic. The festival is held in December each year on his death anniversary where thousands of people from all over the world visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa to participate in the morning mass. On this day, the pilgrimage is transformed into a festive place, where streamers decorate the lanes along with stalls selling food, drink and souvenirs.
Hope you enjoyed reading about these fabulous and popular festivals which take place in Goa each year. If you would like to book your perfect holiday to Goa, then visit Holiday Gems for some cheap holiday deals. You can visit their website here.
You may also want to read this: Top Weekend Breaks in the UK
** This is a collaborative post, image and text has been provided to us for a small fee.