Introduced by the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for over four centuries, the Goa Carnival, held in the months of February or March happens to be one of the most anticipated events in Goa. An extravaganza of fun, frolic and excitement, the Goa Carnival is held just before Lent. Locally known as ‘Intruz’, from the Portuguese word Entrudo, an alternative name for Carnival, the Carnival is unique to Goa. The largest celebration of the carnival takes place in the city of Panaji.
The Lenten period, as per the liturgical church calendar, refers to the six weeks directly before Easter. This duration is characterized by fasting and other pious or practices. Traditionally during Lent, no celebrations are held. Thus, immediately before Lent, a carnival is held to make the most of life, before engaging in a period of piety and rituals. Any carnival typically involves parades combining elements of a circus, mask and public street party. Masquerading is an integral part of these celebrations. The agenda is to celebrate life to the fullest, marking a departure from the established social norms.
As far as accessing Goa is concerned, Panaji, the capital city of the state is well connected via air. Tourists also have the option to reach Panaji via train. Numerous interstate buses also operate to various cities of Goa. Thus, accessing Goa is not a problem. The weather during this time is rather hot and humid. So ensure that you pack accordingly and choose an accommodation with well-equipped air conditioners.
The Carnival in Goa was held from 1st March to 4th March in 2014. It is an open event and anyone can join the festival. The highlight of the exotic frenzy is the appointment and arrival of King Momo and his retinue to the capital city Panaji on “Fat Saturday”, the eve of the Carnival. The mascot of the festival, King Momo orders his subjects to party. Another significant attraction of the Goan Carnival is the floats parade which is held in various cities on Goa. The main Carnival floats parade kicks off from Panaji and is held on subsequent days in the other cities of Goa. In 2014, the floats parade was held in the cities of Margao, Mapusa and Vasco. While many floats as usual showcased the traditions of Goa, others also focus on social themes like environmental consciousness and women’s empowerment. The State Tourism in collaboration with the hospitality industry also hosts a Goan food and cultural festival alongside the carnival. The evenings during this time comes alive with the performances of local artists and celebrities.
Plan a trip to Goa during the Carnival and witness a completely vibrant, colourful and energetic side to it!