Goa Local Events & Festivals
There is always an interesting festival or celebration in Goa. Below you will find a number of upcoming events in Goa.
Festivals of Goa
Goa has many festivals throughout the year. It comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors to witness & enjoy diverse religious festivals which just go to reflect the underlying fusion of the vibrant cultures.
Mahashivratri, a celebration in honor of Lord Shiva held at all the principal Siva temples, such as the Rudreshwar, Mangueshi, Nagueshi, Sri Mahadev – Bhumika and other temples. Ratha-Saptami festival takes place in February at the Mallikarjuna Temple. The dates vary as per the lunar calendar between Feb & March every year. In 2012 Mahashivratri will be celebrated on 20th Feb 2012.
Maruti-Zatra at Sri Mahalakshmi Temple is important, as Mahalakshmi is the presiding deity of Panaji, Goa’s capital city. Mahalsa Jatra or Vijayarathotsav (Chariot Festival) is celebrated at Mahalsa Temple of Mohini in Ponda.
Three Kings Festival - Also known as 'Epiphany Day', is celebrated by villages of Reis Magos, Cansaulim, Arrosim, Quelim & Chandor. Three little boys ranging in years from 8 to 10 are selected as kings from the three neighboring villages to bring their gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the Child-God.
Republic Day – January 26th is celebrated throughout India as the country’s Republic Day. In Panaji, a colourful parade is staged where the Chief Minster & the Governor takes the salute and hoist the Indian Flag.
Shigmotsav or Shigmo is a grand five-day festival of colors, celebrated distinctively in the villages, corresponding with Holi or Spring Festival. Held for one-week up to the full-moon day in March, Shigmo is celebrated all over in Goa. Colourful floats are shown at Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco-da-Gama and Margao. Rombat takes place on the second and third day of Shigmo. It is a procession of men in traditional dress carrying banners and umbrellas, dancing to the music of drums. Young boys wave green twigs, signifying the arrival of spring.
Jazz Music Festival. This is an annual feature held at Kala Academy in Panaji Held over two days it draws a lot of jazz aficionados.
Goa Carnival – This annual carnival is held just before the start of the Lent of the Catholic community of Goa. It is held in late February or early March depending upon the start of Lent and synonymous with the Brazilian Carnival. A colourful float, street dancing, music and a variety of entertainment is seen in the main cities of Panaji, Margao, Vaso de Gama & Mapusa.
Ram Navami or the birthday of Lord Rama is celebrated at Ramnath Temple in Sanguem. This festival also varies between April & May as per the Lunar Calander.
Chaitra Purnima is celebrated at Sri Mahalakshmi Temple at Panaji, and during the nine days preceding the full moon, at Sri Vithal Temple in Sanquelim.
April / May (Baisakh)
This is homecoming season for Many Goans settled away from Goa. It is also the fruit season and Feni-making season. A distinctive Goan aperitif, Feni comes from cashew apples. In addition it is toddy-tapping season.
Gudi Padwa is considered to be the New Year for all over Maharashtra & Goa. It is one of the major auspicious days of the Hindus. Most houses set up a “ Gudi “ which is a bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade (zari) tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied.
Easter The end of Lent and a huge festival for the Christian community in Goa. The Easter celebrations are marked by church services and large gathering of people at all the churches of Goa. Lots of venues hold Easter Dancing which goes on till wee hours of the morning.
Beach Bonanza From Mid April, a beach festival is held at Colva Beach in South Goa on every other Sunday. A fantastic way to spend an entire day on the beach with lots of live music, dancing & entertainment.
Mahavir Jayanthi is celebrated by all Jain community in Panaji, Margao & Ponda in Goa. It is considered the birth date of Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism in India
Mirg is on 6th June. It is the start of the monsoon season. The Christian Mirg is one day earlier. If the rains fail, prayers are offered to the Catholic saints born this month – St. Anthony, St. John the Baptist and St. Peter and St. Paul. In Goa there is a happy mingling of festivals and feast days for the common good of all.
Feast of our Lady or Miracles, also known as the Milagres Feast is famous for its celebration by both Hindu & Christian community of Goa. This feast is held after a fortnight from Easter in Mapusa with lots of church services and nighttime fest
Laira Zatra. Hugely attended by thousands of Goans, this famous and unusual festival of Goa takes place at Sirigao in the Bicholim district. It is also known as "lgitun Chalne" (fire-walking) as to fulfill thanksgiving. Devotees walk over hot coals of fire after entering into trances.
Sao Joao OR Feast of St. John the Baptist. Held in middle of June, this is the thanks giving feast for the arrival of the monsoon. To welcome the monsoons Sao Joao is celebrated all over the state. This occasion marks the celebration by the local youth in the Villages of Goa who normally get drunk and jump into wells according to the existing tradition of Sao Joao festival.
Sangodd or Feast of St.Peter & St.Paul. This is another of the monsoon celebrations by the Fishing Community of Goa. After a morning church service, the fisher folks, tie up their rafts making a makeshift platform, where they perform local folk dances with live music. This festival is very famous in the village of Siolim in North Goa .
Gokul Ashtami or Janamashtami is the Birthday of Lord Krishna. This marks the beginning of Goa’s harvest festival. At Narve village in Bicholim, people gather for pilgrimage from far and wide.
Independence Day On 15th August celebrates the anniversary of India's independence from the UK in 1947. The Prime Minister delivers an address from the ramparts of Delhi's Red Fort
Ganesh Chaturthi is the Birthday of Lord Ganesh, the most important deity in the Konkan, and is celebrated all over Goa. Thousands return to Goa for this festival, which is associated with a good harvest. Depending upon Lunar Calendar, this festival sometimes is celebrated in September too
Novidade The first offering of paddy is made to the church to be specially blessed. No farmer, whether Hindu or Christian, will harvest his rice crop before it is offered in a ceremony called ‘Novidade’ in which the parish priest himself harvests a sheaf of rice and returns with it to the Church.
Feast of St. Lawrence is celebrated by the local fishing community, as a mark to the beginning of the new fishing season of the year.
Gokul Ashthami Or Janmasthmi Lord Krishna’s birthday is an all India festival celebrated throughout Goa too!. . People from far and wide gather at the Narve village in Bicholim for pilgrimage.
Nagpanchami A festival dedicated to all snakes ( Nags ) but most of all to the cobra on whose coils Lord Vishnu reclines is celebrated and is the day when the Hindus offer the cobra milk and honor it.
Bonderam Celebrated on the island of Divar on the fourth Saturday of August. The festival consists of processions and mock battles which commemorate the disputes which took place over property on the island.
Vasco Saptha This is a century old festival celebrated at Vasco where large crowds gather everyday for a week
Navaratri or the nine night’s festival associated with Lord Rama’s defeat of Ravana, demon-king of Lanka, culminates in the grand festival of Dussehra. Dussehra is celebrated by devotees of the Mother Goddess as her festival. The Sri Bhagavati Temple in Pernem has a fortnight’s festivities on the occasion. Special celebrations for Navaratra Utsav are held at Shantadurga, Nagueshi, Mahalakshmi and Ramnath Temples at Ponda and at Kalika Devi Temples in Kasarpal.
Onam is a traditional harvest festival of Kerala, when it is time to thank God for the bountiful yield. According to the legends in Hindu epics, Mahabali, the legendary King of Kerala, visits the state every year during the Onam festival, to ensure the wellbeing of the people. He is welcomed to his kingdom with reverence. The festival is all about relishing on the grand Onasadya (traditional feast of Onam), shopping, family reunion and welcoming King Mahabali by spreading good cheer. This is a must festival for all Keralites living in Goa
October/ November (Kartika)
Dushera is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a gazetted holiday in India, which is marked on the 10th day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja), according to the Hindu calendar.
Deepawali is the great festival of lights. It is universally celebrated in Goa, in homes, on the streets, in shops and, of course, in religious places. Diwali is a 5 days festival as Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Badi (Main) Diwali, Padwa and Bhaidu. Giants effigy of Demon “Narkasur “is burnt on this day signifying Good over Evil
Kejagiri Purnima could fall early in Aghrana. It is the full moon following Dussehra and at Mardol in Ponda there are special celebrations to mark this auspicious day.
Malni Purnima is the major festival at Sri Devaki Krishna Temple at Marcel.
The Zatra of Shri Shantadurga is held at Dhargali in Pernem. The deity is taken out of the temple in a colorful procession for the day. The annual zatra of Shri Shantadurga at Kunkoliemkarin at Fatorpa in Quepem also falls in this month. Thousands flock to attend the festival from afar.
Datta Jayanti is celebrated as the annual festival at Shri Datta Temple at Dattawadi, Sanquelim.
Feast of St. Francis Xavier The feast is celebrated in Old Goa on 3rd December with processions and services. The feast of the patron saint of Goa is celebrated on the day he died in 1552.
Feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Held on or around 8th December in Panaji and Margao accompanied by a large fair.
Christmas is celebrated as a holiday throughout Goa and India. Goa's Catholics flock to midnight mass services traditionally called Missa de Galo .Christmas Day is marked with large family gatherings and feasting.
New Year’s Eve
Jubilant celebrations on the 31st of December, in the form of all-night street parties and beach parties anticipate the good things the New Year will bring. Goa is flocked by thousands of new year Party goers who come from all over India to celebrate New Year in Goa.