Popular Goan Festivals

Anyone who has travelled to Goa is acquainted with the lively spirit of its people. Indeed, Goa celebrates life in all its colorful avatars, believing each day to be more special than the next. It’s this animated spirit, along with the natural charm of this place, which endears itself to its visitors.

This exuberant spirit is fully reflected in the colorful festivals which are held in the state. These are occasions of merrymaking, when the streets are marked by masked parades, songs and dances. Further, they provide a unique insight in the tradition and culture of the people. This blogs brings you the festivals in Goa you need to attend at least once in your lifetime.

1.Goa Carnival

Goa Carnival is one of the biggest celebrations in the state. On this occasion, people dance and sing, and the streets are the scenes of brightly colored floats adorned with flowers and feathers, closely resembling exotic birds. This festival was brought into fashion by the Portuguese and takes place every year for three days before Ash Wednesday.

The celebrations are held in Panaji, with the leading character being King Momo, who encourages people to “Kha, piye aani majja kar”, which means eat, drink and make merry.

2.Vasco Saptah Festival

Vasco Saptah Festival is one of the largest celebrations to be held in the town of Vasco in South Goa. It’s so called because the celebrations continue for a week. This festival is dedicated to Lord Damodar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva who is believed to have cured the city from an outbreak of cholera in the late 19th century.

The festival is held in the month of Shravan (July/August) soon after Nag Panchami. On this day, a grand far is set up along the Swatantra Path and the road is lined with makeshift stalls constructed of bamboo and cloth. Vendors from all across the country assemble with their wares which range from eatables, trinkets, clothes, accessories and household items.

3.Feast of Sao Joao

Of all the various fairs and festivals in Goa, one of the most exciting is the Feast of Sao Joao. Celebrated on 24th June, this feast is dedicated to St. John. This festival is observed at the onset of monsoon. Both North and South Goa celebrate this occasion with enthusiasm.

On this day, people adorned in colorful outfits from several villages gather near a stream in carnival colored boats and floats. Both young and old dance to the beat of ghumot and kansallem. Completely drenched in feni (type of liquor found in Goa), they then jump into wells and ponds.

4.Grape Escapade

Wine lovers will love this! Great Escapade, held in Goa since 2005, showcases the spirit of Goa and Goan lifestyle like no other. The celebrations of this festival, which continues for four days, centers on wines, entertainment and haute cuisine. These also lend an element of glamour and glitz to the proceedings.

On this occasion, various hoteliers, restaurateurs, wineries and lifestyle brands come together under one roof. Crowning of the Grape Escapade Queen and Grape Stomping are two special highlights of this festival. Further, exclusive wine tasting sessions are also conducted on all four days for invitees and wine connoisseurs.

5.Goa Food and Cultural Festival

On your next visit to Goa with Goa tour packages, participate in the Goa Food and Cultural Festival if your visit coincides with it. It is the event to head to if you want to explore the cuisine of Goa in its various flavors.

In this event, the various chefs showcase the best of Goan culinary delights. Other than that, several exciting events are also held including cooking competitions and cooking demo to a live feni distillation unit, one of the favorites of the fans.

6.International Film Festival of India

The International Film Festival of India, or IFFI, is the first international film festival to be held in Asia. However, Goa has been hosting this festival since 2004. This event aims to provide a common platform for films across the world to be showcased on a different platform. This leads to an understanding of film cultures in various nations, as well as appreciating different cultures and ethos.

7.Shigmotsav Festival

Attend the Shigmotsav Festival, and you will know why it’s the best time to visit Goa. This festival, which spans over a fortnight, is celebrated vigorously in various parts of rural Goa. Different days are earmarked for different kinds of celebrations.

This event is marked by Shigmo parades which are replete with music, dance, colors and floats. The traditional life of a Goan is depicted through traditional folk dances like Ghode Modni and Fugdi. The streets of Goa come to life with revelries and merrymaking.


To witness a beautiful side of Goa, visit it during the time of Christmas. Celebrated on 25th December, it is a time for exchanging gifts and pleasantries. Christians as well as non-Christians attend the midnight mass and the entire day is marked by get-togethers and parties.

Visit Goa with Goa honeymoon tours and come across the unique sight of Christmas cribs set up in fields, village streets, farms and highways.

9.New Year

Apart from the beaches in Goa, tourists flock to this state to welcome the arrival of the New Year. People dancing on the streets, bonfires on the beach and people flocking to clubs, these are the common sights during this time.

However, one fascinating tradition followed here on New Year’s Day is the burning of the Old Man. An effigy of the man, stuffed with straw, is set ablaze at midnight to signify the burning away of the shortcomings of the year passed by.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Events
  1. The Wanderer 9 months ago

    I’m yet to make an entry to Goa, but would surely to visit there when some festival is on. It will enhance the overall experience. Really nice post.

  2. Danik 9 months ago

    I would go to Goa for the carnival! It looks so colourful. 🙂 Loving the looks of the other festivals 🙂

  3. amit 9 months ago

    Goa is on my list to visit, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of New Years eve’s in various countries around the world, thanks to this post looks like I will have to experience bringing in the new year in Goa.

  4. Karla 9 months ago

    Goa seems to be a really festive town. I wish I could witness the festive season there too.

  5. Claudia 9 months ago

    While I’ve never yet visited India, Goa is one of the places that I know we must go. I’ve heard so much about it from a good friend who’s from there, and your post echoes those comments. These festivals look so colorful and inviting!

  6. Paige W 9 months ago

    Goa seems like a festival-destination almost year round! I’m so amazed at how many amazing things there are to see there. I’ve heard it’s a great place to visit Holi as well.

  7. Nancy 9 months ago

    I have heard a lot about Goa’s beaches, but I didn’t realize that there are so many colourful festivals! The Shigmotsav Festival looks and sounds wonderful. I hope I can time my visit to Goa to coincide with this celebration!

  8. Claire 9 months ago

    I love local festivals, crazy, colourful and so much fun! New Years in Goa sounds very cool, I like the idea of burning your past mistakes ready for a new year!

  9. Jennifer 9 months ago

    I didn’t realize Goa had that many colorful festivals. There is so much color at these festivals. I would love to witness one.

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