This day extravaganza of fun, frolic, amusement and festivity covers the entire state and the festivities include a parade of colorful floats and troupes of masked revelers attired in gorgeous costumes singing and dancing to lively music that is usually performed live. It offers visitors the opportunity to experience cuisine and culture, through a unique blend of food, fun, local and national live music performances, fashion shows, and entertainment.
This festival is a 5 day celebration planned to give special focus to the Goan cuisine with reference to Sea Food. A number of stalls run by reputed caterers both from the best hotels as well as restaurants and even housewives offer a rich experience of Goan cuisine. Along with food stalls one can enjoy aerated drinks, alcoholic beverages, ice-creams and snacks at the festival. Cultural programmes and fireworks display concludes an important part of the food celebration.
Shigmo is Goa’s answer to Holi, which is a festival of colour. It is the state’s biggest spring festival. The festival honours the homecoming of the warriors who had left their homes and families at the end of Dusshera to fight the invaders. Huge dance troupes perform intricate movements of folk dances on the road all through the length of the parade. Many troupes number more than 100 and they dance tirelessly, as they have been doing for centuries.
Goa International Travel Mart is carried out every year to showcase Goa as a travel destination. It strives to bring about a face to face interaction of the travel-trade, hoteliers, and other stake holders from Goa with leading travel agents from India and abroad. A special Goa Pavilion will be created at the GITM this year to showcase festivals and nightlife, beaches, heritage trails, UNESCO Heritage sites, Wild life, Medical tourism, Monsoon tourism, MICE, Wedding Destination, Spice Farms and Adventure.
The first introduction of Cashew in India was in Goa. It adds greatly to the economy of Goa. Coconut palm as well is an equal contributor to it. To commemorate that, the Cashew and Coconut fest is likely to be held in May 2015. The fest will be focusing on the use of cashews and coconuts in the Goan traditional methods. This is a new kind of event that is organized in order to boost tourism in the state. There will be various cashew drinks and coconut products that will be exhibited during this festival. This event will bring together the local artisans of Goa to create unique experiences for the tourists.
Every monsoon the Sao Joao festival is celebrated with grandeur and gaiety. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist which is celebrated as a feast on 24thJune. The fest includes villagers jumping into the wells streams and ponds. This jump is to signify the joy that St. John felt when Jesus was born. During monsoons this event is the major attraction for tourists. Pool parties and private Sao Joao parties in Goa serve as a complete package of merriment and joy. Guests are made to wear crowns made of leaves and flowers called ‘Kopel’. Popular Goan music bands and dancers perform at various locations and delicious Goan delicacies are served.
This festival is celebrated on the island of Divar located 12 kilometers away from Panjim, on the fourth Saturday of August. The festival begins with a multi coloured flag parade along with a brass band on the island. Once the festival is declared open, the entire island comes to life. Events like fancy dress competitions followed by the traditional float parade and performances by famous music bands of Goa occur all through the day. The fest is held in remembrance of the age old dispute between clans existing on the island during the Portuguese era. Hence the multi coloured flags that demarcate the boundaries of the respective clans.
This festival is also known as ‘Chovoth’ in Goa. This is by far the biggest Hindu festival in Goa. It is symbolized by the worship of clay idols of Lord Ganesha. It’s celebrated for a minimum two days and can go up to 21 days. The clay idols come in various sizes, and are very intricately painted. Women fast as a mark of sacrifice and offer fruits, beetle nuts, coconut, mango leaves and other ingredients. The ‘Aarti’ is carried out twice a day. At the end of the celebration the idols are immersed in water, either in the sea or wells in the hope that Lord Ganesha will return to their houses in the coming year.
World Tourism day is celebrated on September 27th which is organized by Goa Tourism Department. It is a two day event, which has a dedicated theme. The theme of Tourism Day in the previous year was water conservation. There are various competitions held during the event like photography and essay competitions along with performances by different Goan artists. Delicious local Goan cuisine and local beverages is served during the event to showcase Goa’s rich culture and taste.
In Goa Diwali is celebrated because of the defeat of Evil Rakshasa Narkasur by Lord Krishna. One night before the festival, competitions for who makes the scariest and biggest Narkasura’s takes place all over the state. They are paraded in a rally of Narkasuras, and the best one gets cash prizes worth Lakhs of Rupees. The main celebration however begins with the destruction of Narkasura at dawn where the effigies are burnt. Sweets like ‘Neuri’s’ and ‘Ladu’s’ are distributed among neighbors. It is also a festival of lights, hence you will see a lot of kids burning fire crackers on the streets and all the houses are decked up with oil lamps and lights.
Tripurari Poornima festival is held on the banks of river Valvanthi in Sanquelim. It marks the end of Diwali festival in Goa. There are boat contests held on the river banks wherein a lot of contestants bring handmade miniature replicas of actual boats in different shapes, sizes and colours. This competition draws a large number of spectators from all over Goa. Besides the boat competition there are song performances by famous Goan singers, and other cultural events such as traditional folk dances.
Goa is the permanent venue for the International film festivals and it attracts a lot of national and international film fraternity. It is a festival to appreciate film art and understand films of different cultures across the world and hence help to reduce the gap among the cultures of different countries. The film festival hosts screening a lot of national and international art films on daily basis. There are awards to be given out to various verticals of cinema such as acting and directing. It also serves as a platform for local Goan Tiatr artist to be recognized by audiences outside Goa and showcase their talent.
This feast is one of the major Christian festivals and is held in the very famous and important church of Goa, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church. The church is located on a hilltop which oversees the Panjim city. The feast is celebrated all over the state. In Panaji, the celebration goes on for three days. During these three days, there is a fair held in the vicinity of the church that provides a lot of shopping options for tourists. The feast is held in the commemorating the conception of Christ. There is a firework display carried out every night during the feast days.
Dattajayanti is a Hindu festival where in the birth of Lord Dattatreya is celebrated. He is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The most famous Datta Temple in Goa is in Sanquelim, Bicholim. On Dattajayanti, people from all over Goa gather in this temple to celebrate this festival. The temple is located on the banks of river Valvanti. The celebration begins by putting the idol of Lord Datta into a decorated cradle, and then singing hymns to him. Later a procession called Pradakshina is carried out around the temple along with the idol. On the next day people gather to watch ‘natak’ about mythological stories by local actors of Bicholim.
From the 25th of December till 1st January every year is the busiest time for Goans. Tourists from all over the world gather to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve in Goa. Christmas is the most important festival of Catholics in Goa which marks the birth of Lord Jesus. It begins with singing Christmas carols offering prayers and giving gifts. The people are most finely dressed and every house and every street is decorated with shimmering decorations. People make cribs in the house depicting the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger and the three kings who come to greet him.
The New Years day stands as the most crowded time in Goa. There are parties in every shack, every restaurant, every hotel and club that exists in Goa. It’s fun, relaxing and adventurous. The party goes on way beyond dawn the next day.