With the majority of the population being Hindu, Goa has scores of festivals celebrated all around the year. The festivals are celebrated through out the year. Most of the Goan festivals are Jatras (feasts) of the local or family deity celebrated at the temple, called Devasthan. There is gala affair in the temple complex with thousands of devotees taking part in the colorful celebrations and the palakhi or palanquin procession.
The long period of Portuguese colonisation, has given unique Goan
character to the Hindu festivals and are celebrated in distinctive and
stylish elegance. Most of the Hindu, Christian and other religious
festivals are celebrated in the same manner as around India, but with a
Goan flavour. Mainly celebrated Hindu festivals, by the Goans are Ganesh
Chathurti, Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dassra (Dussehra), Holi, Rakshabandhan,
Ramnavmi and Krishnajanmashtami.
Local Festivals of Goa
Shigmotsav or Shigmo: This is a grand five-day festival of
colours, 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 universally celebrated in Goa, but especially at
Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco-da-Gama and Margao.
Kalas Utsav is celebrated on a major scale every alternate year at Sri
Morjaee Temple in Pernem. People from Maharashtra and Karnataka also
attend the seven-day socio-religious event held here.
Novidade: The farmers, Hindu or Christian give their first
offering to the church before harvesting their rice crop. The offering
takes place at the time of Novidade, in which the parish priest himself
harvests a sheaf of rice and returns with it to the Church. Local people
accompany him with music, fire-works and jubilation. Women folk of Goa's
earliest tribal settlers perform a dance called Bhandup in the second
half of the month.
Zatra of Shri Shantadurga
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
The feast of Bonderam is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August
every year at Divar Island, 12-km from Panjim. On this day, the quaint
land of Divar, away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim, is agog with
excitement. Melodious music drifts from the village to mainland Old Goa
- once the hub of Portuguese Goa - even before the crack of dawn on the
Saturday. At noon people begin trickling into the village. By the
evening the trickle is a deluge. An expectant crowd assembles along
either side of the main through fare of the village. The tempo is set by
lands and lasses wielding "fotashes" engaging themselves in
mock battles. The gaily colored floats accompanied by colorfully dressed
youngsters make a pretty picture.
Carnival in Goa is a non-stop 3-day festival of color, song and music,
creating a healthy entertainment for all, young and old. The soothing
climate, full of fun- 'n' -frolic, which the Carnival generates, is much
longed for. It does not matter whether one enjoys or see others
enjoying. There is enthusiasm and happiness all around.