In Goa except for the rainy season, a lot of festivals occur throughout the year. The Hindu festivals usually occur on different dates every year whereas the Christian ones occur on fixed dates. The Hindu temples have annual processions called zatras in which hundreds of devotees follow the deity that is taken around the temple compound amidst the sound of drums and trumpets. Some of the main festivals celebrated in each month in Goa are:
At Fatorpa the Shri Shantadurga Zatra is celebrated and another such zatra is held in the Pernem subdivision at Dhargali.
The feast of the three kings also known as Festa dos Reis is celebrated at the Remedios Hill in Quelim where three small boys ride to the hilltop chapel wearing crowns on white horses. It is also celebrated in the Franciscan church at Reis Magos and at Chandor.
At Pomburpa the feast of Our Lady of Candelaria is celebrated in the Bardez division.
Urs of Shah Abdullah is celebrated by the Muslims at Ponda.
Many Zatras are held during this period such as the Kavlem Zatra at Ponda's Shantadurga temple, At Panaji in the Mahalaxmi temple, the Maruti Zatra and the Manguesh Zatra at Ponda's Mangueshi Temple.
Mahalsa Zatra/ Vajayarathosav also known as the "Chariot Festival" is celebrated at Mardol near Ponda at the Mahalsa Temple of Mohini.
An important Hindu festival devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva is Maha Shivaratri "The Great Night of Lord Shiva" where devotees sing praises by staying awake all night. It is the anniversary of the creation dance of Shiva called tandav and is also his wedding day. It is specially celebrated in temples like Nagueshi, Mangueshi, Sri Mahadev and Rudreshwar that are Shiva temples.
A non religious festival celebrated all over Goa is the famous Goan carnival that is celebrated for three days held in February or March.
A festival corresponding to the Hindu festival of colors called Holi is Shigmo that is held for 5 days. Sometimes called the "Hindu Carnival", it occurs at the beginning of spring on the full moon day and marks the end of winter. It includes a procession of floats, music and dance.
At the Shri Damodar temple at Zambaulim this festival Rangapanchami also called Fatorpa and Zambaulim gulal is celebrated in which people throw color at each other like holi.
One of the most auspicious days of the Hindus that mark the beginning of their new year is Gudi Padwa. "Gudi" is a victory pole and "Padva" is the lunar month's first day. Lord Rama on this day freed the people by killing the monkey King Bali. Many people consider this a great day to do something new like moving to a new house, starting business and to celebrate the occasion they worship a "gudi" that they put up in their courtyards.
Ramnavami that is the birthday of the hero of the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama is celebrated in Partagal at Canacona.
Easter celebrated in all churches with mass after the 40 days of Lent.
On the first Monday of the Easter week the Procession of All Saints of the Franciscan Third Order the only of its kind outside Rome is held at Goa Velha where twenty six life size effigies of saints, popes, kings, martyrs, queens and cardinals are paraded.
On the first Sunday after the Easter the feast of Jesus of Nazareth is celebrated at Siridao.
At St. Jerome's Church at Mapusa the feast of Our Lady of Miracles is celebrated 16 days after the Easter in which both Catholics and Hindus take part.
A famous and unusual festival of Goa is the Laira Zatra that takes place at Sirigao in the Bicholim taluka. It is also known as "lgitun Chalne" (fire-walking) as to fulfill thanksgiving vows the dhoti clad devotees walk over hot coals of fire after entering into trances.
The beginning of the monsoon season for the Hindus is marked by the festival Mirg celebrated in June and for the Christians Mirg is a day earlier. If it rains people offer prayers to Catholic saints born in this month like St. John the Baptist, St. Anthony and St Peter and St. Paul.
To welcome the monsoons Sao Joao is celebrated all over the state. In this the youngsters in villages jump into a well wearing a crown of leaves and fruits to commemorate St. John's movements in the mother's womb when the mother of Jesus visited her.
Sangodd celebrated mostly in the Bardez taluka in the villages of Saipem, Orda and Candolim is the feast of the Patron saint of fishers, Saint Peter. Here people watch the traditional dramas performed by actors and musicians on floating stages prepared by tying boats together.
The harvest festival called Novidade is celebrated on 24th August where the parish priest harvests the sheaf of rice himself and the first offering is made to the church and the paddy is specially blessed.
The St. Lawrence feast is celebrated towards the end of the monsoons and for the fishing boats it marks the reopening of the Mandovi River.
At the Divar Island near Old Goa on the last Saturday of August the villagers observe the feast of the harvest or the festival of flags known as Bonderam. Here after returning home the emigrant workers wave the flags of their adopted countries while marching through the village.
This festival of Nagapanchami dedicated to all the Nags (cobra) on whose coils Lord Vishnu reclines is celebrated and is the day when the Hindus offer the cobra milk and honor it.
The century old famous Vasco Saptaha celebrated at Vasco is the biggest in the mood of festive revelry and in terms of crowd.
The festival that marks the beginning of the harvest festival in Goa is Janamashtami. Also known as Gokulashtami, it is the birthday of Lord Krishna. People from far and wide gather at the Narve village in Bicholim for pilgrimage.
The Assumption of Our Lady feast is celebrated and a fair is held at Panjim on August 15.
The birthday of the son of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh who bears the head of an elephant is the most important festival of the state for the Hindus. In this festival also known as Chovot or Ganesh Chaturthi, clay models of Lord Ganesh after being worshipped for 5 to 7 days are immersed into the sea or a river. It is celebrated all over the state and the deity is the most important one in the Konkan.
In the Hindu festival of Dussera - the day when Lord Rama defeated the demon King of Lanka Ravana, the festival of 9 nights Navratri ends. Dussera is celebrated as the festival of the Mother Goddess by her devotees. Special celebrations take place at the Ponda temples like the Shantadurga temple, Naguesh temple, Ramnath temple and the Mahalaxmi temple.
In the first half of October at the Our Lady of Mercy church at Colva the feast of Fama De Menino Jesus is celebrated. The miraculous favours granted by "Menino Jesu" are celebrated.
This festival celebrated called Narak Chaturdashi is associated with the slaying of the demon King Narakasur by Lord Krishna.
In the village Borim at Ponda the Borim Zatra dedicated to goddess Navdurga is celebrated.
To celebrate the homecoming of Lord Rama after his 20 years exile the famous festival of lights known as Diwali is celebrated by Hindus all over India.
On the third Wednesday of November the feast of Our Lady of Rosary at Navelim is celebrated.
In honor of the patron Saint of Goa the feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated on 3rd December at Old Goa's Basillica of Bom Jesus. Here thousands of people pass the tomb of St. Francis Xavier.
On 8th December at Panaji and Margao accompanied by a fair, the feast of Immaculate Conception is celebrated.
All over India Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated by the Muslims.
On 25th December Christmas is celebrated with the customary midnight mass.