The most amazing thing about Goa is that fun and festivities that begins in February with the holiday season does not stop upon arrival of the New Year but continues up to the celebration of Goa Carnival or the pre Mardi Gras revelry, a tradition that dates back to the arrival of Portuguese in Goa way back in 1510.
Goa Carnival Date:
13 Feb to 16 Feb 2021
Where to Celebrate
Panaji, Vasco, Mapusa and Margao.
Cultural, Festival of Color, Song and Music
No entry fee
Nearest Railway Station
Madgaon Junction railway station
History of Goa Carnival
Based on the Christian tradition of Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Wednesday) which refers to the events of the carnival celebrations; Goa Carnival is a festival that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Goa on a grand scale every year.
Originating from the tradition of Mardi Gras, a tradition of hedonistic feasts and dancing & drinking bouts before the fasting and abstinence associated with penitential season of lent, Goa Carnival is a 4 day razzmatazz that is observed all through the state with great gusto and zeal.
How is carnival celebrated in Goa?
Goa Carnival features a frenzy of tourist activities. Tourists indulge in feasting, merrymaking, drinking throughout the day. The festive mood is even more aggravated by the huge parades that move the various streets of Goa. These parades are accompanied by live bands and dances. Goa forgets to sleep during the carnival as these parades continue throughout the night. Most of the streets are decorated with attractive lighting and grand balls.
The festivities during Goa Carnival include dancing troupes, revelers wearing masks and costumes usually, electrifying music which is generally performed live, sports competitions, floats & parades and hedonistic pursuits like great food and drinking.
One of the funniest traditions of Goa Carnival is that the Assoltes, who perform at the sarcastic folks plays at the carnival, dress up in costumes and prank their friends. Once they realize that they are being pranked, they need to pamper the performers with food and beverages. Goanese people throw their kitchen utensils out of the window. It is a famous tradition to perform when the parade walks by. No one gets hurt! It is an old Christian tradition to clean houses before Easter. Like Holi, people at Goa Carnival play with bright colors and get into playful fights. Earlier it used to be eggs, dyes, and flour, which has now been replaced with color powders.
2. Carnival Food
Yummy in Tummy! That is what Goa Carnival food is going to make you say. Hotels and Restaurants in Goa prepare lip-smacking seafood and meat. People at the carnival can dive into the rich flavors and treat their taste buds with Indian food.
3. Red and Black Dance
Goa Carnival has a special dance called Red and Black Dance. This dance performance is held before Fat Tuesday, the last day of feasting before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Women are dressed in red tops and black shirts, and men in red shirts and black plants. They dance to the beats of the big musical bands.
What Are the Places in Goa Where Goa Carnival 2021 Will Be Held?
The 4 major towns of Goa will be gracefully decorated during Goa Carnival 2021. These are - Panaji, Vasco da Gama, Mapusa, and Margao. Learn what’s in these 4 towns during carnival in a quick turnaround time:
Panaji: It is Goa's capital and tourists can indulge in the Goa Carnival 2021 there. This town is known for its art culture, temples, and churches. You can participate in Goa Carnival 2021 at Maruti Temple, Vainguinim Beach, Reis Magos Fort, Fontainhas, Go State Museum.
Vasco da Gama - Another town in Goa with a deep influence of Portuguese art, culture, and well-preserved history. The best places to enjoy the celebration of Goa Carnival 2021 in Vasco da Gama are Japanese Garden, Mormugao Fort, St Andrew's Church, Monkey Beach.
Mapusa - It is one of the epic centers of tourism in Goa due to its proximity to North Goa. This city serves as a base for pristine beaches in Goa. When you are in Mapusa, witness the celebration at Shree Ganesh Temple, St Jerome Church, Milagres Church, Shree Ganesh Temple, and Shri Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan.
Margo - Another city in Goa that is famous for its Portuguese Colonial past, Margo is where the enthusiastic celebration of Goa Carnival 2021 will be held. Must visit sites are Colva Beach Road, Municipal Garden, Holy Spirit Church, Our Lady of Grace Church, Goa Chitra Museum, Sat Burzam Ghor, and Shree Damodar Temple.
What Are The Rituals of Goa Carnival 2021
Goa becomes the springboard of entertainment during Goa Carnival. And in 2021, the same enthusiastic fervor could be seen. You can watch colorfully decorated float parades, savor authentic Goan seafood with a lot of Feni. The non-stop music, dance on the streets grace Goa to its fullest. Under the spell of Goa Carnival 2021, the beach shacks get decorated, and you will be witnessing the lively processions followed by colorfully dressed men and women with wacky masks. Don't forget to witness the red and black dance that will force you to tap your feet against the ground.
Travel Tips for Attending Goa Carnival 2021
Goa Carnival also marks the climax of the peak season of tourism in Goa. The hotels, resorts, and homestays are packed to their capacity, and prices at an all-time high. Millions of visitors from all corners of the globe arrive in the tiny emerald of Goa to attend Goa Carnival and indulge in feasting and revelry.
If you are planning to travel to Goa and be a part of this year’s carnival, it is always advisable
To book your accommodation well in advance.
To browse through and select a Goa hotel of your choice and budget in advance. The prices skyrocket in Goa at this time of the year and spot booking is often difficult to make. So, book your accommodation in advance.
To explore beaches in Goa and its historical heritage, we would recommend that you browse through our collection of Goa tour packages which include shorter 3 days itineraries to itineraries lasting well over 10 days. Also, you can combine visits to nearby tourist destinations in Mumbai and Kerala.
To call your hotel, if you get stuck in traffic. The streets are very crowded with parades, floats, and people.
To keep your possessions safe. They may be pickpockets lingering around.
How to reach Goa?
By Flight: Goa has one major international airport, the Dabolim International Airport. The majority of domestic as well as international flights around the country land at Dabolim International Airport.
By Train: Goa has two major railway stations — Margao and Vasco-da-Gama, both located in the southern area of the state that is well-connected to several major cities in India.
By Road: Goa is well connected via national highways such as NH4A, NH17, and NH17A. These highways connect Goa with other major states of India like Mumbai, Mangalore, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Chennai.
How to reach Panaji
From Dabolim Airport - It will take you approx. 50 minutes in a taxi (28 km approx.) (depending on the traffic) to reach Panaji from the Dabolim airport.
From Madgaon Railway Station - Exit the station and walk 200 km to the Cross Road. Catch a bus to Madgaon bus station from where you can get bus service to Panaji.
From Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station - Take a bus from the station which will take you to Panaji in around 34 minutes.
How to reach Vasco
From Dabolim Airport - Reach Vasco from Dabolim Airport in around 11 minutes (5 km approx.) via Mangor Airport Road. You can take a taxi or drive yourself if you are traveling in your own car.
From Madgaon Railway Station - You can take a day train directly from Madgaon to Vasco (32 km approx.).
From Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station - It will take you approx. 4 min (1.2 km) to reach Vasco from railway station via Swantantra Path and Fl Gomes Road.
How to reach Mapusa
From Dabolim Airport - Mapusa is located approx. 40 km away from Dabolim Airport. You can get taxis from outside the airport that will take you to Mapusa.
From Madgaon Railway Station - Take a bus from the railway station to Mapusa. The distance between Madgaon station and Mapusa is approx. 48 km. It will take you around 1 hour 19 minutes via NH66 to reach the location.
From Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station - Take a bus from the railway station to Mapusa. It is approx. 40 km away from the Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station.
How to reach Margao
From Dabolim Airport - You can either take a train from Dabolim (Line 56962) or take a taxi (28 km away) to Mapusa.
From Madgaon Railway Station - You can either walk 3.5 to 4 km (50 minutes) to Margao. Take a bus from the backside of the railway station or hire a rickshaw or taxi to Margao.
From Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station - Take the train line 12779 to Margao from Vasco-da-Gama Railway Station. It will take you around 35 minutes. You can also take a bus to Margao. It will take around 50 minutes (33 km approx.