Goa Culture – Six Points You Can’t Miss
Goa is the land of sand, sun, and aromas. A free-spirited state in India, Goa has been in the bucket list of almost every traveler coming to India. As Goa is an important port city and colonial hub of the Portuguese, the Goa culture offers a kaleidoscopic blend of peace, tranquility, spirituality, and everything else that defines the Goan susegad.
Pocket-sized paradise of India, at Goa you will find a never-ending strip of beaches. The Arabian Sea kissing some of the fabulous golden seashores has inspired tourists and backpackers to live in the day and forget the past. Apart from being a beach paradise, the place is also a spiritual sanctuary. You might find people practicing yoga early in the morning or just meditating as the sun rises on the horizon.
From the cultural point of view, the Goan lifestyle is inspired by Portuguese colonial influences. The architecture, heritages, and food habits were the results of this exotic wedding of ideas. The Portuguese have left a mark in the Goa’s baroque architecture, forts, colorful ceremonies, whitewashed churches.
Let’s uncover some of the interesting aspects of the Goa Culture and its people.
1. Intricate History
Till the medieval period, around the 14th century, Goa was pre-dominantly a Hindu state ruled by several dynasties. In the later period, Delhi Sultanate and then the Vijaynagara Empire took over the region. During the reign of the Vijaynagara Empire, Goa became a flourishing trading town frequently visited by traders and merchants.
In the 16th century, Portuguese came to Goa and annexed the region. During their reign, Goa culture picked up the Portuguese elements.
2. Portuguese-Indian Architecture
One cannot emphasize enough regarding the Portuguese influence on Goa’s architecture. Most convents and churches in Goa, a few of them listed under the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, showcases the unique Goa-Portuguese style architecture. The old manors and mansions in the older districts of Goa are known for their distinct edifice.
Even a few Indian temples like Mangueshi Temple showcase some of the elements of Portuguese-Indian architecture.
Important monuments of Goa:
a. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário
b. Basilica of Bom Jesus
c. Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine
d. Chapel of Santa Catarina
3. Varied Food within Goa Culture
Food and drinks are an important part of a culture, and the same is true for Goa and its people. The Goan cuisines are mostly divided into two parts – Hindu and Catholics. The Hindu meals are mostly fish-based – however, meat and eggs are avoided. Apart from that, in the Hindu kitchen, you will find the predominance of several vegetables and locally found lentils. On the contrary, Catholic cuisines mostly comprise of different variants of meat and eggs. In both households, jaggery is used as a sweetening agent. For souring, kokum, tamarind or sour toddy vinegar is used.
Some of the popular Goan cuisines are:
b. Pork Vindaloo
c. Chicken/Prawn/Vegetable Xacuti
f. Kokum juice
4. Fantastic Handicrafts
Just like the exotic Goa culture, the handicrafts of this sea-facing state are a colorful affair. As you stroll down the market, you will find people selling beautiful shell jewelry, exquisite Azulejos tiles and ceramics, brassware, or cane and coconuts shell items. These pieces are popular souvenirs frequently picked up by the tourists.
Some of the important handicrafts of Goa are:
a. Painted Tiles
b. Wooden or coconut shell jewelry
c. Kunbi Saris
d. Seashell jewelry
These beautiful artifacts are not only gorgeous to look at but are a great gift to take back home.
5. Occupation of Goa People
People are an important part of the culture and heritages of a particular place. People in Goa like to lead a laid back lifestyle - Susegad – trying to make the most of the moment. Most Goans are fishermen. In addition to that, most locals in the rustic area practice small scale farming. The village Goa culture is dominated by nature, with major regional festivals circling harvest season. In the major cities overlooking the beaches, almost everyone local is engaged in the tourism industry – either running a beach shack or working as a tour guide.
6. Performing Arts and Dances
Performance arts and music are an integral part of the Goa culture. Goans have a profound fondness for traditional arts including theatre, dances, and music. Dhalo, Fugdi, and the Kunbi are ancient art forms that date back even before the Portuguese annexation. The Dekhṇi, a woman only dance, and Goff Tolgadi and Shigmo, a couple’s dance, are two of the popular dance forms of Goa. Both the dances are colorful and the music involves Indian percussion instruments. The theatrical arts like Dashavatar and Kalo are quite popular.
Overall, these six points highlight only a glimpse of the colorful Goa culture. To fully experience the magic of Goa, you will have to visit this sun-kissed state.
So, book your tickets now. Goa and its beautiful beaches are waiting for you.
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