Goa festivals are an integral part of the state's culture and heritage. Among the festivals of Goa, some are steeped in religious undertones while the others are expressions of the fun-loving nature of the people. The long colonial rule of the Portuguese notwithstanding, the majority of the Goans are Hindus and as such they celebrate most of the traditional festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important festival of the state and is
marked by religious observations and rituals. The sizeable Christian
community in Goa too celebrate their festivals with fervor and gaiety.
Among these, the feast of St. Francis Xavier is the most auspicious one
and devotees from all over the world come to Goa to pay homage to St.
Francis Xavier, Goa's patron saint.
The Goa carnival is the most famous festival of Goa known the world
over for fascinating parades and colorful celebrations.
The Bonderam festival is light-hearted harking back to the animosity
that existed between two wards of a village during the Portuguese era.
The two wards, Piedalda and Sao Mathias, in Divar Island used to engage
in bitter feuds over property issues that often led to bloodshed and
Feast of St. Francis Xavier
The Feast of St. Francis Xavier commemorates the death of St. Francis
Xavier, patron saint of Goa. Fondly called the Goincho Saib or the Lord
of Goa, St. Xavier was a Spanish Jesuit missionary who preached
Christianity in many parts of Asia.
Feast of Three Kings
The Feast of Three Kings is unique among the scores of Christian
festivals celebrated in Goa. The festival, also known as the Festa dos
Reis or the Holy Epiphany, is celebrated in many parts of Goa but the
most colorful ones are held in the Reis Magos church in Verem and the
chapel of Our Lady of Cures in Cansaulim.
Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa
Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important festival celebrated in Goa.
Observed as the birthday of the elephant-god Ganesha in the Hindu
pantheon, Ganesh Chaturthi festival is marked by traditional fervor and
gaiety. A festival with a pan-Indian spread, Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa
holds the seat of pre-eminence among all other festivals.
The Goa carnival is synonymous with the state of Goa and is the
manifestation of the quintessential fun-loving spirit of Goan's at its
sublime best. Largely a legacy of the Portuguese era, the Goa carnival
has transcended the confines of its religious roots.
One of the most colorful festivals in Goa, Shigmo is celebrated by the
Hindu majority with joyous festivities and elaborate parades. On the eve
of Shigmo, usually observed in the month of March, a fiesta of color and
rich cultural heritage unfolds across the length and breadth of Goa.