Kalas Utsav is held in February-March (Phalgun Mahina according to the Hindu calendar) every alternate year at the Sri Morjaee Temple in Morjim village. This significant event aims to promote and provide a platform for students to display their creativity and artistic abilities. The festival starts from Phalgun Shuddha Panchami and lasts almost a month. Celebration is at its prime during the first seven days when many socio-cultural events take place. Kalas Utsav has both religious and social significance attached to it.
Goa Carnival is the epitome of celebrations in Goa, introduced by the Portuguese, who ruled the state for over 500 years. The carnival is celebrated for three days and three nights. Goa's streets brim with decorative streamers, balloons, and lavishly dressed contestants with ornate masks. The festivity starts with King Momo taking over the state and initiating the celebrations. Goan The musical parades begin in Panji and travel to the major locations of the state. Christians gorge on various kinds of meat and delicacies full-heartedly as the carnival is held just before the start of Lent when meat is strictly not to be devoured.
Bonderam Festival is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August at the Divar island located near Panjim. The festival is based on an interesting legend where the Portuguese had tried to create peace between warring groups by demarcating their lands with flags. As a remembrance, the people of Divar celebrate the festival by hosting a mock "Fotash" flight of bamboo stems and berries. There is music and enjoyment in the air, and the whole of Old Goa joins in the merriment.
Feast of Three Kings
The Feast of Three Kings is nine-day merriment where Christians and Hindus join in to offer prayer to the Lady of Mount. The Lady of Mount is considered sacred as she is supposed to bless married women to bear children and fulfil all wishes made at her chapel. Boys aged between 8-10 are selected to enact the role of Three Kings in the Feast of Magi. These boys chosen from the villages of Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim offer their wealth to the Lady of Mount. Dressed in colourful clothes and led by drums' beating, these boys carry on the tradition until the successive kings are announced. A huge fair is held with lots of stalls selling furniture, toys, and clothes etc.
Good Friday or Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus. A huge feast is held on Thursday to represent the last supper of Jesus and celebrations continue until Sunday.
In Goa, churches are decorated, people participate in the processions. Special mention to the Panjim Church of Mary Immaculate Conception, where people gather to listen to the mass and partake in the Way of Cross. Afternoon sermons (lecture by a preacher) are held in Konkani and English languages. Then wooden cross displaying the crucifixion of Jesus is taken along the streets of Panjim.
Sao Joao Festival
The Sao Joao Festival is celebrated on 24th June and is devoted to the feast of St. John the Baptist. Rains generally arrive in Goa by this time, and it is the time to rejoice. People drink merrily and jump into the wells shouting 'Viva re Sao Joao'. Those who wish to become mothers offer fruits, flowers, & vegetables to the wells, while their mothers-in-law invite newlywed sons-in-law for a feast.
Shigmotsav or Shigmo festival in Goa occurs during the Phalgun month of the Hindu calendar, which announces the onset of spring and the end of winter. Various festivities and events are held around Goa. Farmers pray from the 9th moon day till the full moon day, after which they dance in colourful clothes holding torans and flags until the 15th day. The event is mainly celebrated in Goa's four prominent Hindu populated cities, namely Panaji, Margao, Mapusa, and Vasco.
St. Francis Day (Feast of St. Francis Xavier)
St. Francis Day is held every year on 3rd December to honour the death of the patron Saint of Goa - St. Francis Xavier. Assortments of ceremonies are prearranged across Goa, among which the famous one is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Devotees from all over India and the world arrive in Goa to worship the saint and attend the feast where a high-ranking clergy performs Pontifical Mass. Wax models of body parts that need curing are offered to the saint who was believed to have great healing powers.
Food & Cultural Festival Of Goa
Everyone from homemakers, restaurateurs to high-profile chefs of 5-star hotels take part in the festival displaying their culinary art at various beaches in Goa. Fresh produce from the sea is tossed into an array of tempting preparations blending both Portuguese and local Konkani cuisine. Several cultural events are held during this three days festival.
Feast of Our Lady of Rosary
Also known as, Navelim Feast, the celebration is held at a quaint little old town of Navelim just outside Margoa in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. An annual event begins on the third Wednesday in November with traditional processions and novenas. The whole town sparkles up with colourful lights during the feast. Masses are arranged at the Holy Rosary School playground, and in the evening, there is a luminous exhibit of fireworks.
Christmas / Midnight Masses
Christmas in Goa is celebrated in a big way. Merrymaking, prayers, and feasts form a part of the festivities that start at the beginning of December. Houses are decorated with lights and Christmas trees. Relatives and neighbours join in the happiness with parties held to mark the celebration. On Christmas eve, people gather at the church for Midnight mass. Shops are decked up with decorations, and Santa Claus distributing gifts are seen on the streets. There is joy and laughter in every nook & corner in Goa.
Tripurari Poornima (Boat Festival)
On Tripuri Poornima, a boat festival is held at Sanquelim in Goa, whose origin lies in a mythological legend. Traditional diyas made up of earthenware and sailed down the River Valvanti, making way for a beautiful and illuminated sight. This day is also known as Dev Diwali. Nowadays, these diyas have paved the way for cardboard boats with electric lamps of different designs. Also, cultural programmes are arranged where plays are hosted to enact the mythological legend.
Novidade Festival takes place in August-September ("Bhadrapada Mahina" according to the Hindu calendar). The festival marks the start of the harvesting season, where both Hindus and Christians take part in the festivities by offering their first crop to the church. Communities sing and enjoy together, creating a carnival-like atmosphere with a dazzling display of fireworks.