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All You Need to Know about Public Holidays in Goa

Goa is a magical destination, well known for its exciting beaches and colorful culture. You are more interested to explore the hidden gems of this pocket-size paradise and unearthing the beautiful culture of this place. Probably, exploring the colorful festivals of the Goa is the best way to do all that and more. It is always holidays in Goa, mostly due to the laid back lifestyle of the people. Although Christians are a majority in Goa, the Hindu festivals and fairs are also celebrated within the state. Along with its major cultural events and music festivals are also celebrated with great enthusiasm.

1. Christmas

Christmas is one of the most important festivals to be celebrated in Goa. During the festive season, most of the homes are decorated and special meals are prepared for an elaborate family feast. The evening before Christmas Day, special masses are organized in the Churches.

Interestingly, Christmas holidays in Goa are not restricted to Christians only. The Hindus and other communities participate in the festivities and create a warm and colorful ambiance of celebrations. Usually, weeklong celebrations involving cultural programs and events are planned for this occasion.

Where: All over the state

Date: Christmas Day (25th Dec.)

Why is it special? Caroling singers, traditional midnight masses, and festive decorations

P.S: Fireworks are the highlight of the Christmas celebrations

2. The Goa Carnival

One of the popular holidays in Goa, this three or four day festival is celebrated in the state since the 18th century. Believed to be initiated by the Portuguese, this festival revolves around music, color, dance, and a grand feast. A common festival celebrated in the Catholic as well as the Hindu households, you will find people dancing and enjoying.
During the carnival, huge parades are organized all night round where participants dressed in elaborate costumes and masks tap to the beats of drums. It is an addictive celebration of colors, so participation is a must for everyone.

Where: Margoa, Vasco Da Gama, Mapusa, and Panjim

Date: Last week of February

Why is it special? Elaborate fancy dress parades and sawdust fight

3. Food and Cultural Festival of Goa

For seafood lovers, holidays in Goa can be extra special. To celebrate Goa’s cultural diversity, each year the government organizes a five-day event, where chefs (amateur and professionals) participate to showcase their art and flare. One of the biggest attractions of the event is the fresh fish-based recipes – a permanent staple in the Goan household. Besides food, several cultural and musical events run side-by-side making the Food Festival a splendid affair.

Where: Panaji

Date: January – February

Why is it special? Chance to experience Goa culture and food

See more about Famous Goa Foods

4. Feast of Three Kings

The Feast of Three Kings is celebrated in the honor of Lady of Mount. During the festival, communities offer prayer to the Lady of Mount. In the villages, parades are organized to be a reenactment of the scenes from the Bible where the Three Wise Men visit baby Jesus after his birth. The entire scene is quite mesmerizing. 

Where: Arrosim, Quelim, Chandor, Cansaulim, and Reis Magos

Date: January

Why is it special? The scenes from the bible are reenacted by children; a chance to explore the local culture and shop local handicrafts directly from the makers

5. Ganesh Chaturthi

An important Hindu festival, Ganesh Chaturthi is a major festive occasion of Hindu Goan households. Seven to ten-day holidays in Goa are declared by the government in the honor of the elephant-headed god. Each year, Ganapati idol is brought into the home, special meals and religious services are organized in the household, and temples and homes are decorated with flowers. At the end of the festival, the Ganapati idol is immersed in the sea.   

Where: All over the state

Date: August – September

Why is it special? A feast, and decorations

Holidays in Goa is a special affair, attracting visitors and locals alike. The addictive and electrifying ambiance of Goa and the laid back lifestyle of its people make this place a perfect holiday destination – for an average solo as well as group travelers. Do enjoy the celebrations, and soak in the holiday vibes of the place.

Further Reading:

Five Traditional Goa Festivals for Every Traveler to Enjoy

Go Bonkers with the Goa Carnival

Goa Culture – Six Points You Can’t Miss

Exploring the History of Goa

10 Facts about Goa You Can’t Miss

9 Interesting Facts about Goa Every Travel-holic Should Know

Sunburn Festival in Goa