Culture In Goa

Goa, a former Portuguese territory, for more than 450 years is often described as 'The Rome of the East'. It has over the past decades, become the dream holiday destination, for many a foreign tourist. More than 40 years after the departure of the Portuguese, Goa is perhaps the most westernized of all the states in Modern India.

One of the things that make Goa unique, are the laws, a legacy that the Portuguese have left behind. The common civil code, confers equal status to all religions, it favors no particular religion. The law also accords equal legal status to both sexes, in all matters.

Goa's rich cultural heritage comprises of dances, folk songs, visual arts, music and folk tales rich in content and variety. Goan are born music lovers, most Goans can pluck at a guitar or pick out a tune on the piano.

Goans are very proud of their state, and are well prepared to fight for its protection. Environmental issues feature prominently, but often lack firmness in dealing with issues related to government utilities, administrative corruption and horrendous government services


Goa has a colourful culture, that evolved from its history of Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rulers. Thus leaving behind distinctive marks on the land and the lives of the people. Though, Goa is a multi-ethnic state, Goans are very tolerant towards each other's faiths. The majority Hindu community and the sizeable Catholic minority have lived in peace and harmony for decades and centuries. They participate in each other's many feasts. Many Hindus attend the novenas during the feast of St. Francis Xavier (the patron saint of Goa), as the Catholics take part in the zagors and zatras. It is not rare to see young Catholics at local Hindu temples during the feast of Dusshera. They consider it auspicious to have their vehicles blessed by the temple priest on that day.

Fairs and Festivals of Goa

When you travel to Goa, you will find that Goa is famous for its Indo-Latin festivals especially the famous carnivals. These are the occasions when a Goan peasant manifests joy and happiness. The word, 'carnival' originated from Medieval Latin: carnem levare or carnelevarium which means 'take away or remove, meat'. Even recapitulation discovers its origin in the ancient Saturnalia festival of ancient Rome. For the Hindus of Goa it's Shigmo. This, too, was originally a spring festival like Saturnalia honouring the New Year and celebrating the burgeoning of life. While Carnival and Shigmo are festivals of joy, Shivaratri is one of austerity and penance. It is also, in all likelihood, the most ancient of the three major festivals of Goa because it is in honour of Lord Shiva, a God who had been worshipped in India for centuries before the Indo-Iranians migrated into this land. Shivaratri, however, is essentially an introspective festival. Zatra is celebrated in all special temples at Mangueshi, Nagueshi, Ramnathi, Kavlem, Madkai, Kundai, Shiroda, Khandepar, Borim, Kapileshwari, Mulgaon, Fatorpa, Amona, Shirgao, Marshel, Mala-Panaji, Mapusa, Velinga, Karmali and Calangute. Goa, so, completes the trio of Christianity, Hinduism & Islam. Apart from these there are several festivals celebrated by the respective communities but enjoyed by everyone making Goa an example of Indian secularism.

Nightlife in Goa

When you travel to Goa, be sure to enjoy the nightlife at Goa. The nightlife in Goa is tantalising and people party out to enliven the evenings. A family on a night-out attending rave parties or cheering up over a cool peg of feni or gin is a daily routine in Goa. The strangest custom one comes across in some areas as they make a trip to Goa is the presence of a bar-cum-restaurant in almost every third house. All the trendy looking rooms of the houses are open to the public with a couple of chairs and a table. The atmosphere is just great - relaxing and conducive to a pleasant night out with family and friends. Most of the places serve exquisite seafood and other Goan delicacies having well stocked bars. And if you want to jive the night away, there are a couple of nice discotheques in Goa.

Map & Guide and Street Maps of Goa