Goa brings to mind beer, beaches, sand, great food, and the ultimate Sunburn Festival! However, there’s more to this party hub – the Goa Carnival, for one. This, one-of-a-kind, Christian festival has revolved into a social event that integrates components from Hinduism.
This festival dates back to 500 years which was initiated by the Portuguese rulers, but the locals have kept the tradition going. While a lot has changed as compared to the earlier days, but the essence has been revived – that of colourful parades, versatile celebrations, and varied entertainment marked by a cultural and festive spirit.
If you’ve missed being a part of this festival, here’s why Goa Carnival should be on your bucket list this year:
Top things to see and do
This four day cultural extravaganza is welcomed with great enthusiasm and excitement throughout the state. Goa Carnival features a number of activities and you can easily be a part of it. These four days are filled with cultural competitions including singing, dancing, and acting. Besides, the carnival is all about indulging in drinking, feasting, and merrymaking all-day long. You also have a chance to join the troop and be a part of the parades that are accompanied by dances and live bands performing throughout the night.
This extravagant carnival has something or the other in-store for everyone. It’s one of the best opportunities to witness traditional Goa Portuguese culture and entertainment. From fashion shows, to folk music performances and DJ nights, this festival is a blend of old and new. Besides, you’ll also get to see masked performers, agile dancers, acrobatics, fire eaters, theatrical shows, and much more. So if you’re going to be attending the carnival this year, do carry a red and black dress for the last day for the traditional colour themed dance that marks the end to the carnival.
Your trip to Goa would have a delicious twist if you plan it around the Goa Carnival period. Culture has it, that hotels and restaurants and even the street vendors prepare the best sea-food and meat dishes during this time of the year. Traditionally, Goanese use this event as a reason to clear up their kitchens and start afresh, so you’ll notice everyone dinning out. And hence, during these four days, the local eateries are open all night long.
Festival of Color, Culture, Music, and Dance
Goa Carnival was introduced as a festival of fun and celebration for one and all. This is why there are no entry charges for the procession. All you’ll have to do is arrange for a few colourful costumes to be a part of this process. Also, I highly recommend you to have all your other bookings done well in advance, since it’s too difficult to find an accommodation on the spot.
Goa’s state capital – Panaji
March 2nd to 5th – Midday
How to get there?
By Air – Dabolim Airport (29 kms away from Panjim)
By Rail – Thivim, Vasco-da-Gama, and Madgaon Railway Station
By Road – Buses and Cabs from all major cities
Where to stay?
Hotel Palacio De Goa
Address: Doctor Gama Pinto Road, Behind Pharmacy College, Panaji, Goa
Contact: 0832 242 4289
Ginger Hotel Goa
Address: Plot No. 37 & 38, SGO Complex, Near Passport Office, EDC, Patto, Panaji, Goa
Contact: 0832 664 3333
Address: E-212, 31st January Road, Fontainhas, Panaji, Goa
Contact: 0832 222 6523