Goa really does have it all -a rich and deep heritage, stunning natural beauty with its beaches, waterfalls, emerald fields and lush greenery and a vibrant cultural life. No wonder it draws people from across India and the globe to its shores and is now also the events capital of India!

The first significant event of its kind to be held in Goa. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 1983 laid the infrastructure for tourism in the tiny State.

Now the State offers a plethora of amazing events, most of which have made Goa their annual home and of course its most famous festival – a huge cultural event – the Goa Carnival!

Goa Carnival, also called Carnaval, Intruz or Entrado, is the largest in India and one of the few traditional celebrations of the western Christian festival of Carnival or Mardi Gras. Because traditionally many people go on a fast during Lent giving up meat, sugar or other foods and drink, carnival is an opportunity to enjoy these treats for the last time. It is a time to celebrate and party, with music and dancing in the streets. With its origins in the introduction of Roman Catholic traditions during Portuguese rule in Goa, Goa’s most famous festival has been celebrated since the eighteenth century and has turned into a major tourist attraction for the State.

Today, the urban parade includes floats put up by local villages, commercial entities and cultural groups. Carnival is still organised in a very traditional manner with streetside local plays and performances and with a lot of gaiety and colour. Goa is taken over by King Momo, usually a local resident, who presides over the festival during its four-day span and urges people -,’Anni Majja Kar’ (eat, drink and make merry) before Lent begins.

Among the biggest festivals of the State, Shigmo is celebrated by the Konkani community of Goa with a lot of pomp and fervor. Heralding spring, the festival falls either in March or April. Celebrated with music, song and dance, the festivities include colourful float parades that move through the villages and towns of Goa. Large crowds gather to witness the spectacular performances and parades.

Other annual events include the International Film Festival of India (IIFI) which has gone from strength to strength since it made Goa its permanent venue in 2014. Held under the aegis of the Government of India in collaboration with the Government of Goa, IFFI previews an eclectic selection of films in Goa bringing top filmmakers, prestigious jury members, actors, critics, writers, film professionals and people interested in the arts together in Goa.

The Serendipity Arts Festival brings some show-stopping programs to Goa over a week in mid-December every year now for 5 years. India’s largest multi-disciplinary festival showcases theatre, visual arts, dance, music, the culinary arts, performances and more in eclectic venues across Panjim city, transforming it into a hub of creative energy.

Sunburn Festival is a commercial electronic dance music festival held in Vagator Goa for many years now. The festival has grown to be ranked the third largest dance festival in the world and as big as Tomorrowland and Ultra, as per the IMS APAC Business Report 2014. It was ranked by CNN in 2009 as one of the Top 10 Festivals in the world. Spanning over three – five days, the festival has multiple stages with top musicians, DJs and artistes from around the world playing simultaneously to huge crowds.

The Goa Arts & Literature Festival (GALF), a small homegrown mainly volunteer driven event is quickly becoming an annual stop on the cultural calendar. Held in December, the Festival hosts an interesting roster of book readings, panel discussions, talks and book launches and has brought a number of literary stars to Goa including Amitav Ghosh, Teju Cole and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee among others.

Difficult Dialogues, an annual conference held in Goa for about 5 years now, is founded on the belief that a healthy dialogue can resolve most conflicts. The prestigious series of talks and panel discussions touches upon issues relevant to South East Asia and gathers educationists, policy makers and law enforcers from different spaces to engage in conversation. Topics under discussion have included the state of law in India, global finance and civil society, health, gender equality and education.

Other significant events include the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas held by the Directorate of Art & Culture which gathers experts in various fields to hold a series of lectures on meaningful themes. Previous speakers have included Lord Meghnad Desai, Sudha Murthy, Ramachandra Guha among others.

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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