Being a predominantly Roman Catholic society, most of the festivals of Goa are Christianity-specific. Feast days, thanksgiving, monsoon celebrations, processions-all mark the Goanese calendar. Shigmo, the Goanese version of Holi, is celebrated in the month of February and March. The Feast of Our Lady of Miracles, celebrated 16 days after the Easter, is secular by nature and is celebrated with pomp and show by both Hindus and Christians. Igitun Chalne, held at Sirigao temple in Bicholim during May, is one of Goa’s most distinctive festivals. The main attraction of the festival comes when devotees of Goddess Lairaya walk across burning coals to prove their devotion. The Feast of St. Anthony in the month of June is also significant as it marks the beginning of monsoon. Besides such religious festivals, Goa is also known for its arts and crafts fairs, and food festivals
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 Fairs and 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.
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 distant lands.
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.
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