5 Unique Festivals Of Goa

The contagious fervor that Goan festivals emit lures the attention of minds and hearts worldwide

Festivals celebrate traditions, culture and above all are lore of cheer for the young and old. each country, state and even region has their own unique festivals exuding a contagious sense of community and fervor. Here are five festivals unique to the state of Goa.


Hundreds of years of Portuguese rule have left Goa with some alluring festivals that are still celebrated amidst much hurrah and heartiness. every august, the island of Divar celebrates a festival known as Bonderam. Bonderam which originates from bandeira is the Portuguese word for flags and starts off with a flag parade accompanied by a brass band. The flags symbolize the ones the Portuguese put up to demarcate boundaries as a means to stop ongoing fights between the two sections of Divar. The festival is akin to the carnival ambience where in celebration seems to be the order of the day. Colourful parades, dancers and musicians fill the street as crowds scramble to find the best view point. The floats depict a variety of ideas and exude creativity as well as self introspection. The tiny island comes alive to the sound of music and festivity, as crowds from far and wide make a bee line for the tiny island of Divar. Display

Feast of Three Kings

The feast of Three Kings also known as the feast of epiphany is celebrated in the month of January in a century old chapel that stands atop a hill. On the day of the feast, a High Mass is held followed by a time of fun and frolic. Three young boys are chosen to enact the three kings or wisemen that followed the guiding star to where Jesus was born bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The three kings go up the hill in three different traditional pathways but descend via a common pathway. The festivity is heralded by kettledrums and trumpets as hundreds walk up the steep hill. The entire feast is accompanied by music, dance and entertainment and an extensive fair that covers the hill.

Chikol Kalo

The mud festival is probably a festival that many in Goa itself are unaware of. Known as Chikol Kalo, it is played on an open ground in the village of Marcel in front of a temple, which has been cleared and prepared for the festival. The games end with the breaking of a mud pot (dahi handi) fixed a few meters above the ground. a pyramid is formed and a young boy climbs to the top. an eclectic atmosphere emanates amidst wet mud, the sound of drums, cymbals and other musical instruments. The celebrations proceed with traditional games which include tug of war, various drills and formations all in the slushy mud.

Sao Joao

excitement fills the atmosphere as shouts of ‘viva sao Joao’ echo through the air. Celebrated every year on the 24th of June, são João’ is the feast of st. John the Baptist. although all villages throughout the state celebrate the festival with pomp and gaiety, the village of siolim is regarded as the epicenter of festivities as crowds rush to witness the traditional boat parade. The parade includes boats decorated with flowers, creepers and even flags. adding to the colour of the festival, revelers wear traditional copels (wreaths of flowers) on their head. These copels are creative masterpieces; often competitions decide the best copel from them all.


shigmo also known as shigmotsav is a traditional spring festival that consists of a parade of traditional folk, street dancers and floats. The floats are elaborately built to depict scenes from regional mythology as well as religious scenes. The float parades are held in major cities like vasco, Margao and Mapusa, the most spectacular of them all is held in Panjim. The festival spans over a fortnight with different days marked for different areas and festivities and is usually during the month of March.

Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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