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Goa Festivals

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Christmas PhotoChristmas in Goa : Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by millions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, And is also celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.

While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown. His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East. The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived, and became generally associated with the southern solstice, with a sun connection being possible because Christians consider Jesus to be the “Sun of righteousness” prophesied in Malachi.

The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2013, there is a difference of 13 days between the modern Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar. Those who continue to use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6, which on the Gregorian calendar translate as January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Ethiopia, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova celebrate Christmas on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7.

Eastern Orthodox Churches in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Antioch, Alexandria, Albania, Finland, and the Orthodox Church in America celebrate Christmas on December 25 in the revised Julian calendar, corresponding to December 25 also in the Gregorian calendar.

The popular celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

Sao Joao FeastivalSao Joao Festival in Goa : The feast of St John the Baptist on June 24th is celebrated by young men all over Goa jumping into wells to retrieve gifts thrown in by villagers. This celebration is called Sao Joao, one of the more famous Christian feasts in the state. The Bible speaks of John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother, Elizabeth’s womb when she was visited by Mary who had just conceived Jesus. San Joao or St John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. The jump into the well is to signify the joy felt by John when he sensed the presence of Jesus Christ even while he was in his mother’s womb.

The festivals takes place at the beginning of monsoon season in Goa and people of all ages jumping into wells, streams and ponds. This generally after getting into the spirit of the thing by imbibing Goa’s famous liquor feni. Sao Joao, like any other Goan feast has that captivating spirit of merriment, colour and tradition. In Siolim, the village in north Goa’s Bardez taluka, colourful boat races are organised on this day. People dressed in colourful outfits from several villages meet near a stream in carnival-coloured boats and floats. It is akin to the Carnival in few ways. But Sao Joao is not celebrated with the same fervour throughout Goa. It is celebrated with less enthusiasm in South Goa. The display of Sangodd, a decorated floating platform, made by tying two boats or banana tree trunks together, which are then put into nearby streams to float is an important part of the celebrations.

On the feast day, villagers begin the day by taking a plunge in the village wells singing ‘San Joao’. The highlight of the day is the Sangodd, on which people parade singing Mandos and religious hymns. The Sangodds are uniquely decorated and members of that Sangodd wear a uniform dress to distinguish themselves from other groups. This is also a time to celebrate one’s spirit of adventure. So, on this day there are a number of competitions where youths get to exhibit their talents. The celebration of Sao Joao in Bardez (North Goa) goes back nearly 150 years, when San Joao revelers from Chapora and Zhor villages of Anjuna, Badem in Assagao and Siolim would come up year after year in boats to the chapel of Sao Joao in Pereira Vaddo, Siolim, to pay homage.

The young and old alike sing and dance to the beat of the ghumot and kansallem, with lovely coronets of seasonal flowers on their heads and ‘drenched to the bone’ with feni. Many then proceed to jump time and time again into the streams, wells and ponds to keep away the cold from getting them. Sao Joao still retains its traditional flavour and this organisers say is as a result of their refusal to commercialize the event. So if you are looking for fun, frolic and a wet-carnival like atmosphere then San Joao is definitely the best festival to be in Goa.

One could expect the firework to be the climax and mark the end of the festivities. Yet, it is quite common for citizens of Goa, with all ages, to keep celebrating until 3 or 4 in the morning, and younger people take it even a step further until the first hours in the morning. They walk from on the Beaches of Goa where they wait for the sunrise near the sea, and sometimes, take a bath in the ocean.

Shigmo FestivalShigmo Festival in Goa : In recent years the state government has supported public Shigmo parades consisting of traditional folk and street dancers and elaborately built floats depicting scenes from regional mythology and religious scenes. Meanwhile, Shigmo festivals also continue in various rural parts of Goa, spanning over a fortnight, with different days earmarked for celebrations in different areas. This festival is celebrated around March each year. It is linked to the Hindu lunar calendar, hence its date according to the Gregorian calendar varies.

There are two variants of Shigmo festival: Dhakto Shigmo (“small Shigmo”) and Vhadlo Shigmo (“big Shigmo”). Dhakto Shigmo is generally celebrated by farmers, the labour class and the rural population, while Vhadlo Shigmo is of greater consequence and is celebrated by everyone together. Dhakto Shigmo begins some five days before the full-moon day of the Indian lunar month of Phalguna and ends on the full-moon day in the Old Conquests areas of Goa (the areas that were under Portuguese colonial rule for a longer period of time, starting from the sixteenth century). On the other hand, Vhadlo Shigmo is mostly celebrated in the New Conquests areas, beginning on the full-moon day of Phalguna and continuing for five days.

Naman are songs sung in chorus during the festival, when villagers assemble at a fixed place. Jot is another kind of song. Dances include Talgadi, Hanpet, Lamp Dance and Gopha. Dhol and Taso are drums, some of which can be huge, which people carry from door to door, dancing to their sound. Money is placed in a plate carried by the performers, in response to which they sing a song called the Tali, wishing the donor well. On the last day of the festival, it is believed that a spirit known as the Gade padap enters the dancers. Mand davarap refers to a collective bath taken after the festival comes to an end.

Dhakto Shigmo can be considered mainly as a festival of folk songs and folk dances, while Vhadlo Shigmo is considered a festival performed in the village temple. It is celebrated in different temples on different dates around the same period. The first day of celebration is called Haldune and the second is Dhulvad or exchange of Gulāla. On the first, the village deity is bathed and dressed in saffron robes. After the offering of food, a feast is held. Shigmo celebrated in the temples of Jambavali, Phatarpya, Kansarpal and Dhargale are very famous in Goa and the neighboring states and attract a large number of devotees and tourists.

Easter PhotoEaster in Goa : Easter (Old English Ēostre) is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the “Full Moon” is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are etymologically related or homonymous.[8] Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians. 

Valentines PhotoValentines in Goa : Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them. St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote her a letter “from your Valentine” as a farewell. Today, Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day, albeit on July 6th and July 30th, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni).

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline.

Goa CarnivalGoa Carnival : is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnival is traditionally held in areas with a large Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox makeup. Protestant areas usually do not have Carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. Conversely, the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, does not have Carnival celebrations as they are more culturally influenced by neighboring Asian nations, which do not have Carnival celebrations.

In India, Carnival is celebrated on a grand scale in the state of Goa, where it is known as ‘Intruz’ (from the Portuguese word Entrudo, an alternative name for Carnival), and the largest celebration takes place in the city of Panaji. The Carnival is unique to Goa in India, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for over four centuries. However, because Dubrovnik-Goa trade predates the Portuguese era (Melik Jesa Dubrovcanin, came to India in 1480 and became viceroy of Gujarat).

The Carnival is celebrated for three days and nights, when the legendary King Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with music and color. Huge parades are organized throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings.

Sunburn FestivalSunburn Festival in Goa : Goa is one of the hosting grounds for the famous 3-day dance and music Sunburn festival. Sunburn is a commercial EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Festival held in the beach and party destination Vagator, Goa. It was previously in Candolim, Goa, India every year. It is considered to be Asia’s largest music festival. The festival is an amalgamation of Music, Entertainment, Foodand Shopping, and was ranked by CNN in 2009 as one of the Top 10 Festivals in Goa. The Festival is organized by Nikhil Chinapa and supported by Percept. Spread over 4 days, the festival has multiple stages with artists playing simultaneously. Many enthusiasts across the globe throng Goa during this festival and have the time of their lives. The festival offers music, entertainment, food and shopping. In 2013, 7 massive stages were erected, each with a different theme. The EDM music attracts many tourists and it’s known to be Asia’s largest 3-day Electronic Music Festival. Though Sunburn wraps up by 10:00 pm, the after parties are certainly something to look forward to! Last season, the crowds were entertained by Tiesto, Hardwell, Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia, Nicky Romero and Avicii.

New Year Party PhotoNew Year in Goa : New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner. The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, today in worldwide use, falls on 1 January (New Year’s Day), as was the case with the Roman calendar. There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently. The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on 25 March – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland). Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year. During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK, 1 January is a national holiday.

For information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates. With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, the Gregorian calendar has been adopted by many other countries as the official calendar, and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India). In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates as omens for the coming year. The most common modern dates of celebration are listed below, ordered and grouped by their appearance relative to the conventional Western calendar.

New Year PhotoNew Year Parties in Goa : New Year Parties in Goa last until the early hours of the night, sometimes until dawn, followed by a quiet and intimate moments to the beach. Even the markets of Goa reflects the frenzy and excitement that accompanies the New Year. Bright lights and people masquerading as Santa signify the coming of new year. You can see all the ushers, from politicians to industrialists for models and actors in the new year in Goa. This year it is time to decide on your destination. Pack your bags, take the first flight to Goa and to lose itself in celebrating the new year.

Goa is a wonderful place to visit in the new year. New Year Celebrations in Goa is famous for its locally brewed drink called fenny. Several types are available Fennie guava, coconut, cashew nut, etc. Port wine is also available. New Year Celebrating in Goa is the best way to establish, in a brand new year full of expectations and promises. Goa, with an inherent culture of the party is the perfect place to celebrate the birth of the new year amid fun and frolic. Tourists and backpackers from all over the world descend on Goa to enjoy the events that came to celebrate the New Year in Goa.

IFFI GoaThe International Film Festival of India (IFFI) : Founded in 1952, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. Held annually in the state of Goa, on the western coast of the country, the festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art, contributing to the understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in the context of their social and cultural ethos; and promoting friendship and cooperation among people of the world. The festival is conducted jointly by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Directorate of Film Festivals and the Government of Goa. The 46th edition (latest) of IFFI was held at Panjim Goa from 20 November 2015 with A R Rahman as the Chief Guest. The 1st edition of IFFI was organised by the Films Division, Government of India, with the patronage of the first Prime Minister of India. Held in Mumbai from 24 January to 1 February 1952. The Festival was subsequently taken to Madras, Delhi, Calcutta and Trivandrum. In all it had about 40 features and 100 short films. In Delhi, the IFFI was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru on 21 February 1952. The first edition was non-competitive, had 23 countries including the United States participating with 40 feature films and about a hundred short films. The Indian entries for the festival were Awara (Hindi), Patala Bhairavi (Telugu), Amar Bhoopali (Marathi) and Babla (Bengali). This was the first International Film Festival held anywhere in Asia. The notable films shown during the festival were Bicycle Thieves, Miracle of Milan & Open City from Italy. Yukiwarisoo (Japan), Dancing Fleese (UK), The River (USA) and Fall of Berlin (USSR). It was for the first time that the Indian Film Industry was exposed to a vast range of outstanding post-war era films. From the 3rd edition in January 1965, IFFI became competitive. It has since then moved to Trivandrum, capital of Kerala. In 1975 the Filmotsav, non-competitive and to be held in other film-making cities in alternate years, was introduced. Later, Filmotsavs were merged in IFFI. In 2004 the IFFI was moved to Goa from Trivandrum. Since then IFFI has been an annual event and competitive.

Rider ManiaRider Mania at Goa : Rider Mania at Goa began with a simple thought – Let’s Ride and Let,s Meet !! A few clubbies from three of the older clubs in south india came up with the idea of having a grand Jamboree of fellow Enfield riders . Vernon Dias, then a member of Madras Bulls Motorcycle Club (who was also part of Inddiethumpers one point of time), decided to take the initiative and add mass to this floating thought bubble. His vision grew wings and he soon found himself conceptualizing the meet and giving it an identity. In order to do that, he needed an apt event name & a logo to go with. And this he did himself, personally. It was Vermon’s idea that the event be called “Rider Mania” and he designed the logo that we all relate to, till date. Thus, Rider Mania was born and was held in Goa on the 10th of Jan, in the year 2003 at the Old Anchor resort in south goa. Approximately, 70 bikers participated. The event had its fair share of speed-bumpers. Resistance and skepticism came from both quarters, within and outside. The key sponsors were some of the OE suppliers to RE namely Veedol oil, Armstrong shock absorbers and Pricol. RE also sponsored dinner on one of the evenings. Siddharth Lal the then CEO of Royal Enfield was also present at the event. Rider Mania is an event hosted by Brotherhood of Bulleteers Motorcycling Consortium (BOBMC) member clubs in India every year. It is the annual gathering of Indian Royal Enfield motorcycle owners. The event was initiated by Vernon Dias in 2003 to commemorate the spirit of motorcycling. Riders and biking clubs across the country gather for the two day fest. It is an annual event, organized by different host clubs of BOBMC in a place of their choice, and the 2014 event was hosted by the Madras Bulls in Chennai on 18 and 19 January 2014. Over 800 riders had registered for event as reported by Overdrive in two weeks of opening registrations. The BOBMC Rider Mania, since it is hosted by a club changes its venue to the home of the hosting club and has, thus, travelled the length and breadth of India including Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ooty, Nagpur, Kolkata, Delhi and Shillong in the North east among others. It was hosted by Road Survivors chandigarh In 2015. And is heading to Wanderlust MC nagpur for 2016.

PrintHOG (Harley Owners Group) Rally at Goa : The scenic city of Goa gave a roaring welcome to over 2000 Harley owners as they come together for the 3rd India H.O.G. Rally in Goa. The most awaited rally of the year for Harley owners was all the more special with the brand celebrating the completion of 5 glorious years in the country. 75 Riders who completed the 4 Zonal rides as well as the India H.O.G. ride in one calendar year were honoured by the brotherhood with the coveted ‘Big 5’ patch. And Capitall Harley-Davidson went home with the Chapter of the Year award. Goa also witnessed the spectacular sight of thousands of roaring Harleys ride into the India Bike Week grounds in the biggest ever Harley-Davidson Parade. The HOG Rally really must be experienced at least once by anyone who loves Harley-Davidson and motorcycles in general. Motorcycle rallies are held all over the world and include a range of events to keep you hooked. These include concerts, observation rides, seminars, demonstrations and getting out there and riding your bike with fellow enthusiasts. As part of HOG, there are guided rides, where you can explore the local scenery and go off the beaten track. Imagine biking in a large group, single file along the breathtaking Goan coastline on a Harley. With its laid back atmosphere, stunning beaches and great food, Goa provides the perfect backdrop for this national event in India.