Narkasur Making Competitions in Goa during Diwali

Festivals of Goa: A Complete Cultural Calendar of Goa in 2017

Posted on Posted in Culture, Featured, Local Festivals

A harmonious blend of different cultures, characteristic of Goan population, gives it plenty of festive moments. The colourful festivals in Goa have retained their uniqueness till date and are celebrated with deep fervour over the years. Most of the celebrations are woven around religious occasions. Singing and dancing becomes a part of life. People step down to streets in vibrant attires and the whole state pulsates with the beats of merriment.

Enjoying is not something we do in Goa. For us, it’s a part of life. See for yourself!

January Festivals in Goa

Three Kings Feast, Cansaulim, Goa

The feast of the Three Kings commemorates the adoration by the Three Magi, at the feet of the Baby Jesus. This feast is usually celebrated on the 6th of January, or the first Sunday in January. It is celebrated in a lavish way in three places in Goa. The Reis Magos Church at Verem in the Bardez taluka in North Goa, the village of Chandor in South Goa, and at Nossa Senhora Dos Remédios, in Cansaulim in South Goa.

This festival is marked with grand processions and the crowning of three kings from the three villages, who are then escorted with pomp and fervour to the church on Remedios hill.

Date : 6th January
Venue : Reis Magos, Chandor and Cansaulim

Three Kings feast in Cansaulim, Goa
Credits: JoeGoaUK

 

Shree Shantadurga Zatra, Fatorpa, Goa

The annual ‘zatrotsav’ of Shree Shantadurga Fatorpekareen at Fatorpa is celebrated from January 3. As part of this 6-day event, various religious & cultural activities are held.

Date :  3rd To 8th January
Venue : Fatorpa Temple, Quepem

Shantadurga temple Zatra in Fatorpa, Goa
Credits: Goa Tourism

February Festivals in Goa

Goa Carnival

Dancing in the streets, watching brilliantly coloured floats festooned with a rainbow of flowers and feathers like a flock of exotic birds, masks – some beautiful, something weird- and of course the grand finale, the Red and Black ball; all this and more is part and parcel of Carnival in Goa.

Brought into fashion by the Portuguese colonists, the Carnival takes place every year for three days before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season, and draws in people from all over the world. Not quite as massive as the one in Brazil. But it’s just as spectacular in its own right.

Date : 6th to 9th February
Venue : Panaji, Margao, Vasco Da Gama, Mapusa

Goa Carnival Floats in Panjim

 

March Festivals in Goa

Shigmo / Shigmotsav, Goa

Goa’s biggest religious Hindu festival kick-starts from March 14th and continues in various rural parts of Goa, spanning over a fortnight, with different days marked for celebrations in different areas.

The float parades consisting of Chitrarath, Romtamel and Folk Dance begins in Ponda on 14th, March. The city of Panaji witnesses the float parade on 18th March every year. The float parade ends in Pernem and Sanquelim on 27th March.

Date : 14th to 27th March 2017
Venue : Panaji, Ponda (Also celebrated throughout Goa)

Shigmo in Ponda, Goa

 

April Festivals in Goa

Easter

Easter celebrations in Goa are widespread, but the most spectacular celebrations happen in the capital city of Panaji.

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji is in many ways the focal point of the festivities, attracting the largest crowd. People gather to attend the mass and witness the Way of the Cross. A wooden cross is carried down the steps of the church and moved through the streets of the city and then back to the church by clergymen.

Crowds line up on the roadside to witness the procession, with a band playing music to create a solemn setting.

Date : 27th March (Changes every year)
Venue : Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Panaji

Panjim Immaculate Church

 

May Festivals in Goa

The Goa Food and Cultural Festival, Panjim, Goa

The festival itself is made up of more than 80 stalls set at strategic places around the grounds where the festival is held. Chefs showcase only the best of the Goan culinary delights. The food ranges from the down-to-earth cooking that we know and love to the heights of haute cuisine – a flavourful fusion of Goan and Western cooking.

The festival is a brilliant showcase of Goa’s cultural and culinary talent as well as plenty of other attractions. If you didn’t get to Goa in time for this year’s festivities, perhaps you should ensure that you’re there for next year’s line-up.

Venue : DB Bandodkar Ground, Panaji
Date : 10th – 14th May

The Goa Food and Cultural Festival, Panjim, Goa
That cute kid though <3

 

June Festivals in Goa

Sao Joao Festival, Siolim, Goa

The monsoons begin with the celebration of Sao Joao festival This festival has a special significance in the catholic community and is dedicated to St John the Baptist. 

San Joao, is unlike any other Goan tradition. People dressed in colourful outfits from several villages meet near a stream front in carnival-coloured boats and floats. The feast is marked by people of all ages by jumping into wells, ponds and rivers. The festival is then followed by different types of folk dances and exchange of fruits and other eatables between friends and relatives. across the state and is majorly celebrated in the village of Siolim, Goa.

Date : 24th June 2017
Venue : Siolim

 

The Sao Joao Festival 2017, Siolim, Goa

The Sao Joao Festival 2017, Siolim, Goa

 

July Festivals in Goa

Chikal Kalo Festival, Marcel, Goa

The most ridiculously fun and amusing mud bath, the monsoon festival of Chikal Kalo which literally translates to ‘mud black’ is celebrated only in Goa. This festival celebrates the fun and games that Lord Krishna and his friends used to have whilst playing in the fields during the monsoon season. This festival is celebrated on the temple grounds in the village of Marcel in Ponda.

Date : 28th July
Venue : Marcel, Ponda, Goa

Chikal Kalo - The Mud Festival of Goa
Credits: Samrudha Amonkar

 

Touxeachem Feast, Talaulim, Goa

Literally translating to Cucumber Feast. The Touxeachem unusual and typically Goan festival, celebrated on the feast of St. Anne, 29th July, at the Santana Church at Talaulim, this festival attracts childless couples who offer up cucumbers at the feet of St. Anne, with prayers that she will bless them with children. They then take the cucumbers home and eat them.

As with most Goan festivals, the area surrounding the church is lined up with vendors selling traditional sweets, grams, candles, and most importantly, thousands upon thousands of cucumbers. The festivities are often accompanied by a traditional band and of course High Mass which is said at the church.

Venue : Talaulim
Date : July 29th 2017

Touxeachem Feast in Talaulim, Goa

 

August Festivals in Goa

Vasco Saptah Fair, Vasco da gama, Goa

A festival truly unique to Goa, Saptah is the largest celebration that takes place in the town of Vasco in South Goa. ‘Saptah’ literally means seven, and the celebrations go on for a week. However, the fair and stalls set up sometimes carry on for up to fifteen days.

There is a huge fair that is set up along the Swatantra Path and the side roads with makeshift stalls constructed of bamboo and cloth. Vendors from all across the country come with their wares ranging from eatables to trinkets to clothes and accessories to household items.

Venue : Vasco Da Gama
Date : Mid August

Vasco Saptah Festival & Fair

 

Ganesh Chathurthi in Goa

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi holds a special significance in almost all the religious cities and villages of Goa, specially Mapusa, which is famous for its Temples at Ganeshpuri and Khorlim as well as the local association who also worship the Lord amidst great fervour.

Marcela is the village where this festival is celebrated the most as it is a village known for its wide number of Hindu temples. After 5,7 and sometimes even 21 days people send off their idols in nearby ponds.

Date : 25th August 2017
Venue : Throughout Goa (For Visarjan, head to the beaches & coastal areas)

Umanath Naik painting his Ganesh idols in Nagueshi, Goa for Ganesh Chathurthi
Umanath Anant Naik painting his Ganesh idols in Nagueshi

 

September Festivals in Goa

Dussehra in Goa

The festival of Dussehra celebrates the victory of good over evil. It takes place on the tenth day after the nine days and nights of Navratri. It is a Hindu festival which is widely celebrated across India, however, it goes by different names in different states. Dussehra in Goa is commonly known as ‘Dasro’ in Konkani.

Dussehra is an important festival in the hindu calendar and is widely celebrated across India. In Goa, many of the people who live out of state return at this time of year to celebrate with their families.

Venue : Across Goa
Date : 30th September

Flower Seller prepping up for Dussehra in Goa
Flower Seller prepping up for Dussehra

 

October Festivals in Goa

Goa Vintage Car and Bike Festival

A one day Vintage Bike and Car Festival 2017, and the second of its kind, is being organized by Goa Tourism to promote the passion for restoring and maintaining vintage bikes and cars. More than 50 such Vintage vehicles (bikes and cars only) are expected to drive down town in the capital city. The festival offers a feast for the eyes at the INOX Courtyard.

Cars that one would get a glimpse of at the festival include the Austin, Morris, Cadillac, Ford, Chevrolet, Mercedes, Volkswagen and bikes like Norton, BSA and BMW.

Date : 1st October 2017
Venue : Old GMC, Inox, Panaji, Goa

Goa Vintage Car & Bike Festival in Panjim

 

Diwali & Narkasur Nights in Goa

The festival of lights is a time of fun and is mixed with religious traditions, beautiful in their simplicity. People visit each other and send sweets to friends and neighbours, family members exchange gifts of saris woven through with gold and celebrations last for four days.

Firework displays are common throughout Goa, and paper dummies of the demon king Narakasura are burnt. There are local competitions to judge the best Narkasur idol made by the people. The Narkasur Night happens the night before diwali when the paper mache sculptures are showcased for one last time and then burnt to ash to reenact the myths. 

Date : 19 October
Venue : Across Goa

Narkasur Festival & Competitions in Goa during Diwali
Credits: Ashit Desai

 

November Festivals in Goa

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017

The IFFI began in 1952 and is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. Held annually in our very own Goa, the festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of their own film art; contributing to the appreciation of film cultures of different nations and understanding of their social and cultural norms.

The festival is conducted jointly by the Directorate of Film Festivals and the Government of Goa. It’s a must visit for anyone travelling to Goa during the time.

IFFI Red Carpet in 2016

 

December Festivals in Goa

Feast of St. Francis Xavier 2017

The Feast of St. Francis Xavier in Goa begins each year from 3rd December and continues up to 2nd January. Certainly there can be no better time to plan your trip to Goa. It gives you the superb opportunity to be a part of a religious festival and fair and also be witness to the extravagant activities.

Pilgrims come together at the Bom Jesus Basilica from far-away Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from neighboring Karnataka and Maharashtra, as well as from the most distant corners of the Peninsula, and even from distant countries.

Date : 3rd December 2017
Venue : Old Goa, Goa

Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Goa
Devotees Procession at St. Francis Xavier Church, Goa

 

Christmas in Goa

Possibly one of the best times to get your party on in Goa is at Christmas time.

The churches are splendidly decked out for the festive season, and it’s not just them either. People of all religions join in the festivities, and shops and other places of business are usually festooned with decorations, whilst the windows are often painted with Christmassy scenes, notwithstanding the fact that it never snows in Goa.

Traditional dishes at this time include sorpotel, vindalho and full-roasted chickens or turkeys, as well as spicy, savoury curries and pulao. Houses are decorated with Christmas trees festooned with tiny bells, angels, Santas, stockings, candy canes, snowflakes, icicles, stars, tinsel and lights.

Date : 25th December 2017
Venue : Across Goa

Christmas Crib Making Celebrations in Goa
Credits: Navhind Times

 

See? There’s so much more to Goa than just Christmas & New Year parties. There is some festival every month to keep the people buzzing all year round. 

Liked what you read? Let us know in the comments down below. Do check out the Lokaso app for some exclusive tips from locals about Goa and around. 

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Featured Image by Ashit Desai

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