Goa Carnival has become a star event in the Goa tourism calendar. This, one of a kind, Indian carnival dates back to 500 years and was a gift from the colonial Portuguese rulers. But the Goanese have kept the traditions of the Goa Carnival alive. This three day cultural extravaganza is celebrated as a precursor to Lent (month long abstinence from meat before Easter). As history has it, the Goa Carnival was incepted as a big party among the Goanese Catholics before their abstinence from meat and liquor. Like every year, Goa Carnival 2018 a fun frenzy! But there is more to the festival than just fun, it forebears the ancient traditions of this state.
- Goa Carnival 2018 Dates: February 10-13 (Saturday-Tuesday)
- Parade Venues: Panjim (on February 10), Margao (on February 11), Vasco (on February 12) and Mapusa (on February 13)
#1: The Proposal Date
With the Valentine’s Day just round the corner, Goa Carnival 2018 would be a good occasion to fill your life with the bliss of love. As a part of the Goanese culture, the Carnival serves as a great initiative to tell your love interest about your feelings. For this is the day when many young hearts exchange their love and admiration towards each other. Following the Carnival, new love birds emerge. This is the day when Goanese exchange their feeling towards one another openly.
#2: Banter Begins Early
The rehearsals and preparations for the Goa Carnival 2018, like all other years, have begun since December. Apart from rehearsing, the performers would occasionally take the liberty of visiting one of their friend’s house with their costumes and makeup. They would then play pranks upon the friend. These pranks are known as Assoltes (in the local dialect) and are a part of the Goa Carnival fun. Once the friend realizes the error, they have to entertain the performers with drinks and snacks.
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#3: Foodies Heaven
Goa holidays take a delicious turn, when you plan it around the Carnival season. Tradition has it, that hotels in Goa alongside the restaurants and even the street side joints, prepare the best traditional fish and meat dishes during this time of the year. As Goanese use this autumn event to clean their kitchens, so everyone is dinning out. The eateries are open all night long on these three auspicious days.
#4: Color Smearing
In the olden times, people attending the Goa Carnival would smear each other with eggs, fruits, flour, etc. The tradition has now been replaced with colors. All the attendees need to smear each other with colors. It is Holy celebrations, Goanese style!
#5: Sarcasm and Criticism
From its early days, this merry event has been used to raise voices against government policies and other laws in a farcical manner. These farcical plays are known as Khell. While the singers and musicians walk all the way, the performers stand on top of the floats performing their roles.
#6: Cultural Extravaganza
The days leading up to this Goa tourism event is filled with cultural competitions for dancing, singing, acting, etc. Reputed judges brought from other states watch through the performances and rate them. Prizes are distributed on the culminating day of Carnival.
#7: Eradicating the Old
This would sound really weird, but in the early days of Goa Carnival the Goanese people would throw out their old utensils from the kitchen as the parade passed by. The attendees would somehow bypass the utensils hurled through the open doors and windows. It is a tradition in Goa, that all the Christians have to clean their house and eradicate the old items before Easter begins. And this tradition was just a part of that ritual. But, the weird practice has been discontinued in the present times.
#8: Lavish Floats
Colorfully decorated floats have become a symbol of this event. Floats can be used to denote various things such as glories of the state, some event, social taboo, etc. But most popularly the floats tell nursery and Biblical tales. Many reputed brands are today sponsoring contests for the Best Looking Floats.
#9: Goa De-tour for Tourists
The Carnival season is the best time to view the true beauty of Goa. It is also a great time to know the culture and traditions of this much Westernized state of India. Tourists can attend the Carnival parade to take a de-tour through the less trodden alleys and roads of Goa. Goa Carnival parade follows a long route which would help the tourists see the hidden facets of this glorious state.
#10: Free Participation
Goa Carnival was incepted as a day of fun for one and all. This is why there is no entry fee for the procession. As a tourist, you need to arrange for some colorful costumes to attend this process. Though the Carnival was seen as a Christian affair earlier, but nowadays Goanese from every religious faith attend this merry event.
Goa Carnival is an event you should always have in your bucket list. You will never witness a grand cultural extravaganza such as this!
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