Goa Carnival
About The Festival

This famous festival cum carnival was first started in Goa in the year 1961. It was initially celebrated by one of the famous rulers in the area, King Momo. Since Goa is known for its Portugese heritage, the festival also helps to celebrate the rich history and legacy of the place. However, the festival is now celebrated by people from different castes and creeds from various parts of India. During the festival, people usually abstain from consuming meat. During the early days, the festival was usually only celebrated by the locals but now there are people from various nationalities and religious backgrounds that come together to celebrate.


Since it is celebrated just before the start of the period of Lent (a period of abstinence from meat and other indulgent items before the festival of Easter in Christianity), people take the opportunity to indulge in eating meat and consuming dairy products which is forbidden during Lent. During the colonial period, the festival usually started with a role play between the masters and their slaves. The slaves would play the role of their masters and cover their face with white plaster which was the cause for much amusement and enjoyment.

Travel Tips

Since the festival begins in March, tourists are advised to travel to Goa around 2-3 days before it actually begins in order to enjoy the other attractions in the area. Reservations in hotels should be made at least 3-4 months before the start of the festival to ensure that tourists get to book a hotel room as there could be huge demand during this particular period.

When to visit

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There are various kinds of celebrations which one can enjoy during the duration of the festival including dancing, singing, drinking and eating, among other forms of merriment. Most of the major streets in the state come alive with dances, the sound of guitars strumming and lively processions among other attractions. The streets are also decorated with vibrant colours and floats which add to the festivities.


The carnival celebrations do not only take place during the day time. In fact, a number of acrobats, dancers and fire eaters, among others throng the streets of some of the main cities in Goa. The celebrations also continue through the night and are characterized by fun activities that are full of life and energy. Since the festival also celebrates the Portugese culture, doses of Feni and a range of delicious food add to the amusement and fun that the carnival is known for.

Most Celebrated Places

The places which are popularly known as the centre for these celebrations include Panjim, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco da Gama.  However, the other areas in the state also make it a point to celebrate this festival while enjoying the carnival atmosphere.

How to Reach

Time Period

The festival is usually held in the first or second week of March (depending on when the Lenten season commences) and extends for around 3-4 days. It begins just before the season of Lent commences thereby allowing the celebrants to enjoy meat, drinks and dairy products before having to abstain from such delicacies for close to 40 days.