FESTIVALS OF GOA
Though round the year Hindu festivals are celebrated in Goa, but being an erstwhile colony of the Portuguese, the Christian festivals with local cultural synthesis draw huge attention. Tourists across the globe gather in Goa to partake into these festivals of Goa. Festivals of Goa are prime tourist attractions, in addition to the Goa beaches.
Zatra at Cansaulim (January 6): A remarkable Zatra is held at Cansaulim near Margao to celebrate the arrival of the three Kings at Bethlehem. Three young men from different villages wear wigs and gaudy garments and look like puppets. Then they climb to a church located on a hillock near the village. Inside the church is a carved infant Christ. Their entering the church is a signal for the villagers to start merriment, dance and music. There are fire-eating, fire-walking feats. This festival is observed with gay abandon.
The Feast of St. Francis Xavier (December 3): the Feast of saints Francis Xavier is held at Velha Goa or Old Goa, about 10 Kms east of Panaji, capital of Goa. The mummified body of St. Francis Xavier is enshrined in a silver casket in one of the chapels of Basilica of Bom jesus built in 1605 by the Jesuits.
The body of the saints is exposed to public once in every ten years and pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage.
The Carnival (March/April): The most colourful and unforgettable festival is the Carnival, celebrated by the Catholics with gay abandon once a year for three days preceding Lent-from Sunday to Tuesday. During these three days Goa is gripped by the pulsating rhythm of guitars and the lilt of folk songs. The revelers of their colourful improvised fancy dresses dance and sing in the streets, with kings Momus, Lord of the Carnivals, presiding over the scene.