Goa brings to mind sun, sand, beaches, great food, cheap beer, and the Sunburn Festival! However, there’s more to this coastal state… the Goa Carnival, for one. If you haven’t experienced this grand spectacle yet, here are 7 reasons you should definitely add it to your travel bucket list now.
Originally a Christian festival, the three-day Goa Carnival has turned into a major social event that incorporates elements from Hinduism. Usually held during February-March, this extravaganza of food, drink and merry-making embodies the fun, free, inclusive vibe that the state is famous for.
The carnival dates back to the time when Goa was under Portuguese rule. While a lot has changed, the essence remains the same—that of all-round revelry, colourful parades and varied entertainment, marked by a festive and cultural spirit. In recent years, the carnival has become an important event on Goa’s calendar, drawing lakhs of travellers every year.
Here’s why this elaborate festival should feature on your bucket list this year.
#1 Because This Carnival Is Absolutely FREE!
The best part about the Goa Carnival is that you can be part of this grand celebration for FREE! You could even DIY yourself a nifty outfit to get into the spirit of things. There are no tickets, no restrictions and absolutely no invitations required.
#2 Because It’s The Best Way To Explore Goa
The Goa Carnival is an interesting way to explore the coastal state. It takes little-known lanes and alleys across Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa, giving you an insight into the very heart of Goa.
#3 Because It’s The Perfect Mix Of Modernity & Tradition
This is one of the best opportunities to experience Goa’s Portuguese culture and contemporary entertainment. From folk music to DJ nights and fashion shows, this carnival is the perfect blend of old and new. You could also step into a Goan village and see the carnival being traditionally celebrated with Konkani drama and dancing.
#4 Because It’s India’s Own International Fiesta
From almost fading away to becoming a major festival, the carnival has come a long way. And truth be told, no other event in India can match the flair and flamboyance of the Goa Carnival, which has an international appeal. So if you can’t make it to Rio this year, head to the Goa Carnival!
#5 Because It’s Got All Kinds Of Fun
This grand carnival has a number of events and something for everyone. From elaborately designed floats, music bands and singers, agile dancers, fire eaters, masked performers, acrobatics, theatrical displays and a lot more. Wear red and black on the last day of the carnival for the fun Red & Black dance that marks and end to the festivities.
#6 Because You’re Likely To Meet A King
King Momo, a legendary character known as the ‘King of Carnivals’, presides over the Goa Carnival and is a special highlight. Usually depicted as removing a mask, King Momo is a chosen local man who participates in the festivities and asks everyone to “Kha, piye aani majja kar” (Eat, drink, and make merry).
#7 Because You’re In For A Culinary Delight
If you love food, you have to go to the Goa Carnival, which is THE food and cultural event of the year. Whether you head to a beach restaurant or a street stall, there is no dearth of lip-smacking food options in Goa during carnival time. Don’t miss out on the amazing seafood dishes and local delicacies, for a taste of both Portuguese and Indian flavours.
This year, the Goa Carnival will be held from February 25-28. Although the entire state gears up to celebrate, the carnival covers Panjim, Margoa, Vasco da Gama and Mapusa.So escape for a weekend getaway now and soak in the local flavour of Goa with this free-for-all event.
Location: Goa is a state in western India, about 600km from Mumbai.
How to Reach: Dabolim Airport, about 29km away from Panjim, well-connected to other Indian cities; Madgaon, Vasco-da-Gama, and Thivim are the major railway stations; buses and taxis are available from different Indian cities.
Official Language: Konkani, Portuguese, Hindi & English
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical monsoon
Food & Drink: Fresh sea food, with both Portuguese and Indian flavours. Feni is a popular local alcoholic drink.
Interested in holidaying in Goa? Goa Dhamaka