Goa Carnival 2023: Date, History & Significance

Goa Carnival or Carnival in Goa, refers to the festival of carnival celebrated in the Indian State of Goa. The festival was started in lieu of the Rio Carnival or the Portuguese Carnival of Madeira when Portuguese ruled over Goa. Meaning and celebration of this festival has changed over years and it is now celebrated with excitement and fervor more than ever. Tourists from all over the world come to be a part of the carnival that lasts for four days. Main festivities of the carnival include dancing, live music, sports, masks and costumes, floats & parades, food & drinking and much more. In this article, complete details about Goa Carnival 2023 like its date, story, celebration, significance, etc have been provided.

Goa Carnival 2023 Date

Carnival in Goa is celebrated every year in the month of February or March and it usually starts off on Fat Saturday (known as Sabado Gordo) and concludes on Fat Tuesday (known as Shrove Tuesday), just before Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Catholic season of Lent. In the year 2023, the carnival will be held from 18th February to 21st February 2023.

History & Significance of Goa Carnival

History of celebration of Goa carnival can be traced back to the introduction of Roman Catholic traditions during the Portuguese reign in Goa. During the later days of colonialism, the festival kind of lost its touch but was revived in 1965 after the state got its independence.

At the starting of the festival, it was more about the Portuguese culture and traditions but with passing time it became more about Goan culture. Timoteo Fernandes was a musician from Goa who modeled this festival after the famous Rio Carnival. Now the festival is celebrated at a large scale and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the country thus playing a significant role in boosting the economy of the state.

Goa Carnival Celebrations & Festivities

The Goa Carnival is the largest in India and one of the few traditional celebrations of the Catholic holiday in Asia. Celebrations by the locals of Goa begin even before the festival begins itself. Preparations for the festival begins from the month of December and the streets are decorated beautifully with attractive lighting. On the first day of the festival, i.e., on Fat Saturday evening, a procession headed by King Momo is carried out which marks the actual beginning of the carnival. The festivities are presided over by the king and his consort who are chosen from among the participants.

The procession is flocked by cultural groups, dancers, musicians, performers as well as normal Men and women dressed up in funny clothes. Music, dancing, drinking, masquerade balls and partying continues on all the four days of the festival. Apart from all other things, the food at the carnival is also worth trying. From sweet to spicy, every flavor of food and  life can be enjoyed during this carnival.

The carnival comes to an end with the famous red and black dance where women dressed in red tops and black skirts and men in red shirts and black trousers dance with bands in a colorful procession. In the capital of the Goa state, Panjim, the festival is complemented by a local Wine festival known as Grape Escapade and a dance at Samba Square in the centrally-located Garden of Garcia da Orta.

Major attraction of the carnival is the one-act folk plays known as Khell tiatrs that are performed in public places where a large number of people can gather together. Intruzachim Geetam or Fella Gitam are sung by the performers on the beat of instruments like violins, drums, cymbals, ghumats (a Goan percussion instrument), dolkas, a sort of rustic drum, whistles and many.


When Goa Carnival is held every year?

February to March

What is the date of Goa Carnival 2023?

18th February to 21st February 2023

Why is Goa Carnival famous?

The festival has been celebrating since the 18th century.

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