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Festivals Of Goa
Goa is a tiny state with a rich cultural history. It has lived under the Portuguese, Mughal and British rule and has amalgamated the best of all cultures. Goans of all faiths are extremely respectful and tolerant of other religions. Goa celebrates not only Hindu, Muslim and Christian festivals, but also festivals that are exclusive to Goa. Here's a list of the most popular festivals of Goa:
One of the most colorful and popular festivals of Goa is the Goa Carnival. This three day extravaganza takes place in the month of February. The highlight of the carnival is the joyous singing, dancing and feasting before the tough abstinence period of 40 days of Lent before Easter. Multi-cultural parades are held and people belonging to different communities and areas prepare their floats with different representations and themes. Mornings see a lot of singing, feasting and street plays while the evenings are usually reserved for the wild dancing and partying all over the streets.
Sunburn is a yearly Electronic Dance Music Festival held in Goa, India. First held in 2007, this festival brings you a mad blend of electronic and trance music by artists from around the globe. Sunburn has brought together some really big Indian and International DJs to entertain humungous crowds over three days in December. Sunburn caters to a very International audience and Goa prices can really skyrocket in the last couple of weeks preceding the fest. So be sure to book well in advance!!
Feast of St.Francis Xavier
St. Francis Xavier was a revered saint who came to Goa during the rule of the Portuguese to spread the teachings of Christianity in India. His remains are preserved in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa. The Feast of Saint Francis Xavier is celebrated every year on December 3rd to mark his death anniversary. It is one of the most culturally significant festivals in Goa. During the Feast of St. Xavier, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is done up beautifully and Goa comes alive with celebrations and splendour. The mass prayers begin as early as 4 am and people come from all over to take part in it. The feast carries on for 9 days and elaborate feasts are organized all through Goa. Devotees from all over the world gather in Goa during this feast to pay their respects to the great saint.
Christmas is undoubtedly the most popular Christian festival of Goa. The state takes on the myriad hues of a sparkling paradise decorated in shades of red, green and white. December 25th is a very important holiday in Goa. Little troupes of carol singers walk around spreading cheer though their hymns and carols. There is much drinking, feasting and revelry all around.
Feast of Three Kings
The Feast of Three Kings is celebrated at Old Goa in Panjim in honour of the Three Kings of Magi who came with gifts for infant Jesus Christ. It is said that a big rock on a nearby hill has two sets of footprints; one of an infant and one of an adult. According to legend, Virgin Mary and the infant rested here while their horse quenched its thirst. Every year, for 9 days in January, a long procession trudges up the hill to the holy chapel marked by vivid celebrations and merry making. A carnival like atmosphere is created and a fair is organized. There is elaborate feasting all around.
Shigmo is a spring festival held around March each year and is one of the major festivals of the Hindu community in Goa. It is celebrated in a way similar to the Indian festival of Holi with colours and revelry. The festival is marked by parades consisting of traditional folk and street dancers and elaborately built floats depicting scenes from regional mythology and religious scenes.