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EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN GOA

Introduction

Goa has various religious mix of people and has number of holidays and festivals. During national holidays Banks and Post Offices may remain closed. Christian festivals occur on set dates. Hindu religious festivals follow the lunar calendar and therefore change from year to year. Following are some of the national, state and local holidays apart from local village events.

January

FEAST OF THE THREE KINGS

On 6th January the three villages of Reis Magos, Cansaulim and Chandor celebrate this festival with reenactment by local boys of the three kings arriving with gifts for Christ.

JATRA

The Jatra is the feast of the God to whom the temple is dedicated. Best at Shantadurga Temple at Fatropa in Quepem, at Bogdgeshwar Temple in Mapusa and Devki Krishna Ravalnath Temple at Marcela in Ponda. This festival is also celebrated in other temples of importance

REPUBLIC DAY

Republic day on 26th January marks the anniversary of India's republic in the year 1950. In Delhi it is celebrated in spectacular way with enormous colorful military parade.

February / March

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF CANDELARIA

Popular Christian festival held on 2nd February at Pomburpa.

POP, BEAT & JAZZ MUSIC FESTIVAL

Held over two days in February at the Kala Academy-Panaji.

SHIGMOTSAV OR SHIGMO

Goa's version of Holi, this Hindu festival is held to mark the end of winter. It normally takes place on the full moon day of the month of Phalguna and is widely celebrated by gangs of youths throwing colored water and powder at one another. Tourist frequently become a target-it is in good humor just to excite the tourist. This is not a day to go our dressed in best cloths.

CARNIVAL

The original reason for the carnival was to celebrate the arrival of Spring and it is observed within the Catholic community as three days of partying before the start of Lent. In Panaji the festivities center around a procession of colorful floats which takes place on Sabado Gordo or Fat Sunday. The event is opened by the arrival of King Momo who makes a traditional decree ordering his subjects to forget their worries and have a good time.

VASANT PANCHAMI JATRA

Hindu's festival, best celebrated at Shantadurga temple in Queula at Ponda, in Mangesh temple at Priol, in Mahalsa Temple at Mardol which are in Ponda This festival is also celebrated in Ajoba Temple at Querim in Pernem and in Mahalaxmi Temple at Amone in Bicholim

MAHASHIVRATRI JATRA

Hindu's festival, best at Siroda and Ramnath temples both in Pond and at Sanguem; also good at Harvalem, Kavlem and Mangesh Temples. This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Shiva.

URS OF SHAH ABDULLAH

Muslim's, death anniversary of saint Urs of Shah Abdullah. On this day of 17th February Muslims sing lyrical Muslim devotional songs called quawwalis, often sung through the night at Ponda

March / April

RAMANAVAMI

The birth of Rama an incarnation of Vishnu is celebrated at the temple of Partagal in Canacona.

PROCESSION OF ALL SAINTS

At Goa Vellha on 5th Monday in Lent. Thirty status of the saints are brought out from storage and paraded around the neighboring villages. The main road through Goa Velha generally becomes blocked with the traffic as people from all over Goa are also drawn to the fair.

GOOD FRIDAY & EASTER

The Easter celebrations are marked by huge church services; the congregations often overflow into the streets or the services are held outside to accommodate everyone. Christian families mark the event with large clean gathering.

FEAST OF JESUS OF NAZARETH

Held in Sindao on the first Sunday after Easter.

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MIRACLES

Held in Mapusa 16 days after Easter. This particular festival is famous for its common celebration by large numbers of Hindus and Christians.

BEACH BONANZA

From mid-April onwards successive Sundays see Colva Beach becoming the scene for this small festival featuring live music, dancing and entertainment.

YOUTH FLEET

Same as Beach Bonanza but on the Calangute beach.

MAHAVIR JAYANTI

Jain festival, celebrated by the strictly vegetarian Jain community. Marks the birth of Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, and is a public holiday. Celebrated grandly at Borim in Ponda.

May / June

IGITUN CHALNE

Occurring in May this is one of the most distinctive festivals in Goa and is specific to the temple of Sirigao in Bicholim Taluka. Igituna Chalne literally means fire-walking and the high point of the festival which occurs at night when devotees of goddess Lairaya walk across a pit of burning coal to prove their devotion.

FESTIVAL OF ST. ANTHONY

Held on 13th June The feast of St.Anthony Portugal's national saint is celebrated in Goa. This festival has taken on a particular local significance. If the monsoon has not arrived by the time of the feast day a statue of the saint is lowered into the family well for the arrival of the rain.

FEAST OF ST.JOHN THE BAPTIST

Held on 20th June. St.Anthony's feast day marks the onset of the rains, the Feast of St.John is a thanks giving for the arrival of the monsoon. The most obvious manifestation of the rains is the fact that the wells start to fill up again and to mark the event young men of the community jump into the water. Since each well owner by tradition has to supply feni to the swimmers the feast day is marked by increasingly high spirits.

FEAST OF SAINT PETER & SAINT PAUL

Held on 29th June. Another celebration of the monsoon, this time by the fishing community particularly in Bardez taluka. The fishermen tie their boats together to form rafts which serve as makeshift stages. After a church service in the morning and a large feast the festival of Sangodd is held. Tiatrs, folk dances and music are performed before an audience who watch from the banks of the river.

GOA STATEHOOD DAY

Celebrated on 30th of May, State holiday to celebrate Goa becoming the 25th state of Indian Union on May 30, 1987.

August

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

FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE

The feast day is to celebrate the end of monsoon and the reopening of the Mandove to river traffic.

GOKUL ASHTAMI

The celebration of Krishna's birthday. In some Krishna temples the deity is symbolically placed in a cradle.

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.

NAVIDADES

Held on 24th August. The offering of the first sheaves of rice to the head of state.

August / September

GANESH CHATURTHI

The Hindu festival is celebrated throughout the state and commemorates the birth of Ganesh. The festival can last for two and a half days. Clay models of Ganesh are taken in procession around the areas of the temples before being immersed in water. A period of fasting is observed.

September / October

FAMA SE MENINO JESUS

The feast is held at Colva on the second Monday of October and celebrates the 'miraculous' favor granted by the Menino Jesus which resides within the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Colva.

GANDHI JAYANTI

Celebrated on 2nd of October, the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Prayer meetings are held at the memorial site in Delhi. As a sign of respect it is a Dry Day and no alcohol is served.

DUSSEHRA/DHAROTSAV

Hindu's festival, this is extremely popular ten-day long festival begins on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashvina. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and culminates in the burning of the effigy of the demon king, Ravana. In Goa, the main puja of this festival is performed at the place of work. Machinery, tool, vehicles etc., are cleaned and garlanded with flowers and worshipped.

October / November

DIWALI (DEEPAVALI)

This Hindu festival also known as the Festival of Lights is second in importance only to Ganesh Chaturthi and marks the victory of Good over Evil. Symbolically lamps are lit morning and evening within the homes of the worshippers.

GOVARDHANA PUJA

Hindu festival dedicated to those holiest animals the cow.

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

Celebrated on the 3rd Wednesday of November in Navelim's Church.

November / December

MARATHI DRAMA FESTIVAL

Takes place at Kala Academy from November to December.

FOOD AND CULTURE FESTIVAL

A five day festival held on any one of the beaches in November or December to highlight Goan cuisine and entertainment.

KONKANI DRAMA FESTIVAL

Held at Kala Academy during November and December.

TIATR FESTIVAL

Held at Kala academy during November

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. Preceding the feast, nine days of Novenas are held, attended by pilgrims from all over the world. Stalls selling sweetmeats, toys, clothing etc., line the streets.

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Held on or around 8th December in Panaji and Margao accompanied by a large fair.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Christmas is celebrated as a holiday throughout Goa and India. Goa's Catholics flock to midnight mass services traditionally called Missa de Galo or Cock Crow as they go on well into early hours of the morning. 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.

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