FESTIVALS IN GOA
Fairs and Festivals in Goa are really a refreshing experience for the town dwellers as well as the visitors to the enchanting beach town. Some of the festivals are here, other wise Goa is a land of festivities through out the year. Various festivals and events in Goa are celebrated with all the pomp and show. Its hard to differentiate between Hindus and Christians in Goa during festival times. Both participate in each others festivals demonstrating true colors of United India.
This festival is related to Lord Ganesh and his birth. Everthing in Goa comes to a stand still in those 5 days. Life starts slow after Ganesh Visarjan of 11 days. Undoubtedly this is the biggest festival of Goa. People embellish and clean their homes as well as the places where they worship the lord. Amazign idols of the lord are made by the people of the villages and also, this is a time when people get together, share gifts, have fun and enjoy to the fullest.
One of the busiest last week of the year and the month in Goa. Christmas is all about celebrations. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Its all music, dances, Khell (local street shows) and lights. People make it a point to go and attend the mass at midnight. And after this, they decorate their homes with Christmas trees, cribs, stars as well as amazing lighting. People also eat sweets and give gifts to their family members and friends.
Diwali is also a significant festival of Goa. On this day, it is believed that lord Krishna killed the demon named as Narkasur ruling Goa, through his ‘sudarshan chakra’. Goa has a unique way of celebrating Diwali. On the eve of Narak Chaturdashi, every nook and corner of Goa experiences effigies of Daemon Narakasur being made by locals. There are competitions of Narakasur Vadh being held in town squares. These effigies are then burn through the night and early morning of Narak Chaturdashi, Goan men stamp on cucumis melo var agrestis (locally called Karit) and taster the bitterness of it. Following this, they enjoy delicacies and preparations of Flattened rice, commonly known as poha, (also called beaten rice).
FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
Its a public holiday in Goa and is one of the Holidays in the busiest month of Goa’s Tourist season.
St. Francis Xavier was a saint who died on 3rd December and therefore, in Old Goa, every year, people assemble to participate in the feast. The famous and amazing church named as Basilica of Bom Jesus still hold the body of the saint preserved in a casket which is brought to the sight of people only after 10 years, on the day of his feast. Since the saint lives in the memory and hearts of the Goan people, this festival is celebrated with much cheer.
This festival is celebrated during springtime and the celebrations extend to five days. People also call this festival as Shigmotsav and all its festivities come along with the festival of Holi. During this festival, honor is paid to various warriors to return to their homes after defeating the invaders. At this time, people play with colors. People hold umbrellas as well as small sticks and enjoy dancing.
THREE KINGS FEAST
This is a feast which takes place when three boys of Goa play the role of going to see Jesus. They are actually taken by a small boy playing the kettle drum. In order to meet Jesus, the kings ride on the back of a horse and pass through the Hill of Remedios to take part in the High Mass. During this feast, people also worship the Lady of the Mount and make it a point in gaining blessings from and shelter in the lap of the goddess.
SAO JOAO FESTIVAL
This is a festival that is celebrated with much cheer on 24th of June every year since during this day the catholic community pays honor to St. John the Baptist. The festivities involve a number of folk dances that are referred as ‘Sangodds’. The people of the village, mainly the young people make it a point to wear leaves and fruit laden crowns. People also present fruits to their in-laws as well as friends.
This is an important festival of Muslims that comes after the month of Ramadan, the month in which people fast. The festival is celebrated with immense enthusiasm and people make it a point in praying in the mosques and wearing new clothes, just like Hindus on Diwali.
Carnival is an important festival that is celebrated during the month of February for four days. The festival is associated with the legendary king named as Momo who brought in peace, harmony, melody and color to different parts of Goa. During the festivities, people get involved in eating, drinking and enjoying to the fullest. All this happens after the 40 days of Lent. People wear amazing costumes
The main jubilation of this festival takes place at the Divar Island. Bonderam refers to flag in Portuguese. Flags have significance in this festival because they actually helped putting an end to fights and wars among the two sections of the Divar village. The festival is celebrated every year on the 4th Saturday of August. There takes the procession of a parade accompanied by loud music.