Goa Carnival is held in the month of February every year, Goa Carnival is one of the largest carnivals in India that includes Catholic celebrations and cultural festivities. Despite falling into obscurity during the latter days of the Portuguese colonial rule of Goa, it is today a major tourist attraction. The one-of-its-kind carnival which will be held on the streets of Goa from 13th to 16th February will mark the craziest street dance, vehicles adorned with flowers and feathers, people wearing masks, and the crowning of King Momo.
It is a three- to four-day long festival preceding the season of lent (February)which means fasting or self-denial from meat, marking the season of exhilaration, merrymaking, and mayhem before Catholics start fasting and abstinence.
Goa Carnival History?
The history of the Goa Carnival can be traced back some 500 years ago to the time when the Portuguese settlers ruled over the area. It started as a pre-Mardi Gras revelry accompanied by partying and large consumption of food and drinks before the 40-day long sacrifice and fasting season began. The event was originally celebrated by the Catholics and was more about Portuguese culture and traditions but with time, all communal barriers dissolved leaving it as a grand celebration of Goan culture.
Where Are The Different Cities Covered During The Carnival?
The Goa carnival is celebrated in the most popular cities which includes the capital of Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco, and Margao. These four cities witness a massive celebration that is done on a grand scale with different parades that are conducted on different days. Starting from Panaji tO the wonderful Margao to the quaint towns of Vasco and Mapusa, the carnival goes through interesting lanes and alleys of the almost unknown towns. Some other areas and towns across the state where the celebrations take place as well, only on a much smaller scale, are Calangute and Candolim.
What Are The different Attractions Marked By The carnival?
Who doesn’t know about Goa’s rich history and Portuguese heritage, but the heavy commercialization doesn’t let you experience its vibrant tradition. However, Goa revives itself during the carnival and comes to life. There are several things to do in Goa Carnival and here’s what to expect:
- Colorful decorated float parades
- Sports competitions
- Authentic Goan seafood and a lot of Feni
- Fashion Shows & DJ Nights
Places To Visit In Cities Where Goa Carnival Will Be Held
- Panaji – Our Lady Of The Immaculate, Fontainhas, Goa State Museum, Reis Magos Fort, Miramar Beach, Goa Science Centre And Planetarium, Maruti Temple, Vainguinim Beach
- Margao – Holy Spirit Church, Colva Beach Road, Our Lady Of Grace Church, Goa Chitra Museum, Municipal Garden, Shree Damodar Temple, Sat Burzam Ghor
- Vasco da Gama – Japanese Garden, Monkey Beach, Mormugao Fort, Pilot Point, Baina Beach, St. Ansrew’s Church, Heart-Shaped Lake, Hansa Beach, Sao Jacinto Island
- Mapusa – St. Jerome Church, Shri Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan, Datta Temple, Milagres Church, Shree Ganesh Temple
Things to do at the Goa Carnival
Below are the activities that tourists can do during Carnival.
Goa Saturday Parade
Led by King Momo, the parade begins in the evening and is surrounded by dancers, musicians, vendors, women, and other people dressed up in comical attire and bizarre clothing.
How To Participate In Goa Red And Black Dance
For all the dance lovers, this is the best place to dance crazily by participating in the huge crowd filled with excitement, happiness, and enthusiasm. One can wear the most unusual outfits in Black and red with a mask on the face to dance the night away with various bands, musicians. Crowning of King Momo and the Red and Black Ball are huge draws at the Goa carnival festival. The revelry is marked with drinking, dancing, and lots of music till late into the night before the dawn of Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent.
The Métier Of Goa Carnival
The one-act folk plays known as Khell or Fell are the specialty of the carnival. It is held during the carnival in Chandor where walking-actors go about the village singing Intruzachim Geetam or Fella-Gitam accompanied by musical instruments. The sound of drums, violins, ghumats -a Goan percussion instrument, and cymbals soak the air. The Fell is known for its acerbic and sardonic censure meant to correct human foolishness and are typically amusing.
The dholak is the director of the one-act, interspersing the story, while the whistle of the producer(mestri) serves as the curtain-raiser. A few hotels in Goa organize special celebrations for their guests during the Goa carnival.
Other Activities That Are Worth Participating In Goa Carnival
The Carnival also holds various competitions, scrumptiously prepared Goan cuisines that are a part of truly captivating Goan culture and are a must to see. You can additionally enjoy the colorfully decorated floats, cheer or participate in the various celebrations. Don’t miss out on the Fashion shows organized, DJ Nights, short plays etc. The Goa Carnival is where most youngsters in Goa confess their love for each other. Traditionally bistros and other cafeterias prepare their finest fish and meat dishes on Carnival days. People visiting Goa for this festival also play with colours these days instead of using eggs, fruits and flowers like before.
How To Reach Goa
With almost every transportation facility available, you can reach the place through train, luxury bus, or take a direct flight. However, there is a new option you must try –the Mumbai-Goa Angriya cruise. The newly introduced cruise offers several amenities from luxurious accommodation to suit every budget to spas, lounge, restaurants, infinity pool and an open deck. Departing at 4 pm from Mumbai, the cruise reaches Goa at 9 am the next morning. If you are planning to come back via cruise the time of departure is 4 pm from Goa.
So, if you have not witnessed this extraordinary wonder residing in the beautiful place, you must pack your bags and book your tickets to explore around and make the most out of this carnival.