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Goa Carnival 2023

(Last Updated 31 Jan, 2023)

  • Dates :

    18/02/2023 - 21/02/2023

  • Location :

    Panaji, Vasco, Mapusa and Margao


The most amazing thing about Goa is that fun and festivities that begin in February with the holiday season do not stop upon arrival of the New Year but continue up to the celebration of Goa Carnival or the pre-Mardi Gras revelry. This tradition dates back to the arrival of the Portuguese in Goa way back in 1510.

Goa Carnival Date:  18 Feb to 21 Feb 2023
Where to Celebrate  Panaji, Vasco, Mapusa and Margao.
Famous for   Cultural, Festival of Color, Song and Music
Carnival Tickets  No entry fee
Nearest Airport  Dabolim Airport
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 indulgent feasts and dancing & drinking bouts before the fasting and abstinence associated with the penitential season of lent, Goa Carnival is a 4 day of razzmatazz that is observed all through the state with great enthusiasm and zeal.

How is carnival celebrated in Goa?

Carnival de Goa features a frenzy of tourist activities. Tourists indulge in feasting, merrymaking, and drinking throughout the day. The festive mood is even more aggravated by the enormous parades that move the various streets of Goa. Live bands and dances accompany these parades. 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 2023 include dancing troupes, revelers wearing masks and costumes usually, electrifying music generally performed live, sports competitions, floats & parades, and hedonistic pursuits like great food and drinking.

1. Traditions

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 have been replaced with color powders.

2. Carnival Food

During the Goa Carnival Festival, Goa hotels and restaurants prepare lip-smacking seafood and meat. People at the carnival can dive into the rich flavors and treat their taste buds to 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 pants. They dance to the beats of the big musical bands.

What Are the Places in Goa Where Goa Carnival 2023 Will Be Held?

The 4 major towns of Goa will be gracefully decorated during Goa Carnival 2023. 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 2023 there. This town is known for its art culture, temples, and churches. You can participate in Goa Carnival 2023 at Maruti Temple, Vainguinim Beach, Reis Magos Fort, Fontainhas, and Goa State Museum.

Vasco da Gama - Another town in Goa with a deep influence on Portuguese art, culture, and well-preserved history. The best places to enjoy the celebration of Goa Carnival 2023 in Vasco da Gama are Japanese Garden, Mormugao Fort, St Andrew's Church, and Monkey Beach.

Mapusa - It is one of Goa's epic centers of tourism due to its proximity to North Goa. This city serves as a base for pristine beaches in Goa. 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 famous for its Portuguese Colonial past, Margo is where the enthusiastic celebration of Goa Carnival 2023 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 2023

Goa becomes the springboard of entertainment during Goa Carnival. And in 2023, the same enthusiastic fervor could be seen. You can watch colorfully decorated float parades and savor authentic Goan seafood with Feni, the local drink. The non-stop music and dance on the streets grace Goa to their fullest. Under the spell of Goa Carnival 2023, 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 catch the red and black dance that will force you to tap your feet against the ground.

Travel Tips for Attending Goa Carnival 2023

Goa Carnival also marks the climax of the peak tourism season in Goa. The hotels, resorts, and homestays are packed to their capacity, and prices are 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 challenging to make. So, book your accommodation in advance.
  • To explore beaches in Goa and their historical heritage, we recommend that you browse through our collection of Goa tour packages, including shorter 3 days itineraries to itineraries lasting well over 10 days. Also, you can combine visits to nearby tourist destinations in Mumbai and Kerala.
  • 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 travel in your 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 the railway station via Swatantra 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 to 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 around 1 hour and 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 take a train from Dabolim (Line 56962) or take a taxi (28 km away) to Mapusa.

From Madgaon Railway Station - You can walk 3.5 to 4 km (50 minutes) to Margao or 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 about 50 minutes (33 km approx.




Frequently Asked Questions - Goa Carnival

Q: Why is Goa Carnival celebrated?

Ans: Goa Carnival was started in the 18th century by the Portuguese in Goa to celebrate the beginning of Lent. In the Christian calendar, Lent is a season of abstinence, fasting, and prayer. Goa Carnival is celebratd to enjoy the last lavish meals and merrymaking before entering the season of fasting and abstinence.

Q: Who leads the celebration of the annual Goa Carnival?

Ans: King Momo leads the celebration of Goa Carnival. According to local tradition, during Carnival Goa is taken over by King Momo, usually a local resident who presides over the festival during the 4-day span. King Momo traditionally proclaims the Konkani message “Kha, piye aani majja kar” (English: “Eat, drink and make merry”)

Q: What is the Duration of Goa Carnival 2023?

Ans: The Goa Carnival 2023 will be held in almost every town of Goa for 4 days. But you could witness most of it at Panaji, Mapusa, Margo, and Vasco da Gama.

Q: What is the ticket price of the Goa Carnival?

Ans: Ticket is not required to enjoy Goa Carnival. However, if you wish to participate in the Red and Black Dance, you have to pay around INR 100 per person.

Q: Is there an entry fee for Goa Carnival 2023?

Ans: No! There is no entry fee for Goa Carnival 2023. You can join the celebration without spending a single penny. However, there is a grand celebration of red and black dance. To attend that exhilarating celebration, you need to spend INR 100 (approx.)

Q: Are there complimentary passes available for Goa Carnival 2023?

Ans: No! Complimentary passes are not required for Goa Carnival.

Q: What are the accommodation options available during the Goa Carnival?

Ans: Accommodation options during the Goa Carnival 2023 are in abundance. You just need to prioritize your budget as there is no dearth of Goa accommodation, from luxury to budget to homestays and Airbnbs.

Q: Which cities of Goa will celebrate Goa Carnival 2023?

Ans: The 4 major cities of Goa will be gracefully decorated during Goa Carnival 2023. These are - Panaji, Vasco da Gama, Mapusa, and Margao.

Q: Is Goa Carnival safe for tourists?

Ans: Yes! Goa Carnival is considered a very safe gathering for tourists - both domestic and international. But don't forget to wear face masks to eradicate the risk of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, use your common sense and don't drink and eat anything given by people you don't know.

Q: What are the best tips for attending Goa Carnival 2023?

Ans: If you are planning to attend Goa Carnival 2023, you must follow these best tips for a guaranteed great time:

  • The first tip is to book your accommodations in Goa in advance. Since February is one of Goa's peak tourist seasons, the accommodation prices will shoot up to new highs.
  • Be your own guard and keep your belongings safe as pickpockets might be around you during the massive gathering.
  • Make sure to get to know about Goa's street traffic status during Carnival because Goa streets will be occupied with the carnival spirit.
  • Avoid wearing gold jewelry.
  • Limit the cash in your wallet and keep your Debit/Credit Cards at your hotel.

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