Guide to Festivals in Goa: June – December 2019

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A harmonious blend of different cultures, characteristic of the Goan population, gives it plenty of festive moments.

The colorful festivals have retained their unique Goan aroma and are celebrated with deep fervor over the years. Most of the celebrations are woven around religious occasions. Singing and dancing become part of life.

Enjoying is not something we do in Goa. For us it’s a part of life.

June 2019

Sao Joao Festival 2019

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 colorful outfits from several villages meet near a stream front in carnival-colored 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.

When? : 24 June 2019

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Image courtesy : Ashit Desai

July 2019

Chikal Kalo Festival

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.

When? : Usually sometime in July

Featured- Chikal Kalo Festival in Marcel, Goa
Credits: Samrudha amonkar

Touxeachem Feast

Literally translating to Cucumber Feast. The Touxeachem unusual and typically Goan festival celebrated on the feast of St. Anne. 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.

When?: 29 July 2019

Touxeachem Feast
Image courtesy : Goatourism.gov

August 2019

Vasco Saptah

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.


Vendors from all across the country come with their wares ranging from eatables to trinkets to clothes and accessories to household items.

When? : 2 August 2019

Vasco Saptah Festival & Fair

Ganesh Chaturthi

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 fervor.

After 5,7 and sometimes even 21 days people send off their idols in nearby ponds.

When? 2nd September 2019

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Umanath Anant Naik painting his Ganesh idols in Nagueshi

September 2019

Dussehra

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. Dusherra goes by different names in different states. Dussehra in Goa is commonly known as ‘Dasro’ in Konkani.
In Goa, many of the people who live out of state return at this time of year to celebrate with their families.

When? 8 October 2019

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

October 2019

Narkasur

The festival of lights is a time of fun and is mixed with religious traditions, beautiful in their simplicity. Houses are lit with lamps and diyas dot the doorways with steady little flames. Pretty pinpoints of flickering light in the darkness.

But in Goa, Diwali is much more than the festival of lights. It’s about good triumping over evil. Kids of all ages gather around supplies to make Narkasurs (demons). Which are then burnt. Some particularly talented artists spend months making marvelous and massive Narkasurs so that they compete in Narkasur Contests.

When? 27 October 2019

Narkasur Making Competitions in Goa during Diwali
Credit: Ashit desai

November 2019

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

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.

It’s a must visit for anyone traveling to Goa during the time.

When? : TBD

Image courtesy : iffigoa.gov
Image courtesy : iffigoa.gov

December 2019

Feast of St. Francis Xavier

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.

When? 3rd December 2019

Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Goa
Devotees Procession at St. Francis Xavier Church, Goa during the celebration of Feast on December 3, 2007.

Christmas

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.

Traditional dishes at this time include sorpotel, vindalho and full-roasted chickens or turkeys, as well as spicy, savoury curries and pulao.

When? 25th December 2019

Christmas Crib Making Celebrations in Goa
Credits: Navhind Times

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