Goa – Culture and Tradition
Goa also called “Rome of the East” or “The Miami of India“, has a distinct Portuguese legacy, perky nightlife, natural beauty, and great culinary experience. It is a destination for all seasons.
Whether you need beach life, nightlife, or cultural experiences Goa has it all for you. It is often described as a fusion between Eastern and Western culture with Portuguese culture having a dominant position in the state be it in its architectural, cultural, or social settings.
It has played host to several empires – Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Portuguese whose remaining you can find in its numerous heritage sites. Mainly the Portuguese culture has left its impression on the attitude and general lifestyle of the Goans.
In the past decade, it has become a dream holiday destination for many foreign tourists. Panaji is the state capital of Goa while Vasco da Gama is the largest city.
Goa is the smallest state on the west coast of India which was a Portuguese colony for 300 years (1440-1740). Its history goes back to 20,000 – 30,000 years. Its ancient name was “Rewti Dweep”. It was ruled and inhabited by Sumerians around 2200 BC. It was ruled by several other rulers among them Ashoka – The great was one.
In 1312 Goa came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1510, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Goa. In 1961 Goa and Daman and Diu were taken by the Indian Army from the Portuguese.
It was earlier declared Union territory by Indian Government but in 1987 it was made the 25th state of India.
The culture of Goan people is a blend of Portuguese and Indian culture. Goans is the demonym used by people of Goa and they loved being called by this name. They are friendly and full of life people, the holiday spirit of Goa reflects their attitude.
Most Goans practice “siesta” i.e. pulling down the shutters from 1 to 4 pm to rest in the afternoon. They are first Goans then Hindus, Muslims, or Christians. Religious fundamentalism is something unknown to them.
You can see the unique religious harmony at a few places where both Hindus and Christians offer their prayers. They even participate with great enthusiasm in each other’s fairs and festivals.
The cultural heritage of Goa consists of numerous goa churches, temples, and mosques. Portugues were great church builders and they desire to spread their faith. However, Hindus and Muslim settlers were nonetheless eager to populate the land with their descendants. You can witness Goa’s cultural richness is reflected through Gaons folk dances and songs too.
Goa is a Multi-lingual state, they speak dialects of Konkani and Marathi. Konkani is the official language of Goa and the total language used in Goa are English, Portuguese, Konkani, Hindi, and Marathi.
Goa cuisine is a blend of Portuguese, Muslim, and Hindu styles of cooking resulting in great cuisine. They include a lot of seafood which is expertly spiced and herbed, European spices are mixed with Indian curry and peppers.
Goan use a lot of vinegar and coconut milk in cooking. Rice and fish curry is the staple food of Goa. During festivals, a Goans vegetable stew known as Khatkhate is very popular, which contains at least five vegetables, fresh coconut, and special Goan spices.
Pork dishes such as vindaloo, xacuti, chorisa, and sorpotel are popular. During Christmas egg-based multilayer sweet dish known as Bebinca is a favorite. Feni is a popular alcoholic beverage of Goa which is either cashew feni or coconut feni.
The costume of Goans is according to the tropical climate, generally, they wear cotton clothes.
Goan Catholic women wear dresses/gowns, while Hindu women wear a sari called Nav-vari. Other traditional costumes of Goa people are Pano Bhaju, Valkal is a string of beads and leafy loincloths which is still worn in tribes. Kashti is a tied knot and saree. Goans catholic brides wear a white gown.
Men in Goa wear a western-style costume while the fisherman wears bright colored shirts, half pants, and bamboo hats, and is also a popular dress among tourists. Goa carnival showcases the colorful and popular dresses of Goans.
Dance and Music
Goans are born music lovers, music is an integral part of Goan lifestyle which runs deep in their blood. Along with abundance folk music, Goa also embraces a number of western forms of compositions.
Goa boasts of producing some of the greatest musicians of all time. Singers such as Emiliano D’cruz, Prince Jacob, Souza Boy, M.Boyer, Alfred Rose, Kid Boxer, Rosario Rodrigues, Tony King, and J. B. Rod are from Goa.
Portuguese introduced the usage of violin, piano, and mandolin in Goan music. Dekhni, Fugdi, Corridinho, Mando are some of the traditional folk dances of Goa.
The performing art in Goa is unique and has a distinct Goan flavor. Handicrafts in Goa use a material that is naturally available like clay, sea-shell, paper, bamboo and brass which have become quite popular among tourists as they buy them as Goans souvenirs.
Fairs and Festival
All the festivals celebrated here have a Goan touch. Jatras (feast) is a special feature of the Goan celebration where a palakhi or palanquin procession is carried out and thousands of people participate in it.
There are other Goans festivals celebrated like Shigmo festival, Kalas Utsav, Novidade, Jatra of Shri Shanta Durga, Bonderam festival, and the Goa Carnival. Along with these Christmas and New year attract a lot of tourists.
Some of the popular sports that are played in Goa are bullfighting and football. Water sports of Goa are also very popular. Goa is home to some of the finest casinos in India. It is the only state in India where gambling is legal.
Nightlife in Goa
Goa is the most happening destination in India known throughout the world for its night parties. It is said Goa never sleeps, while the night parties are most sought after by youngsters throughout the world. At night Goa beaches come alive with numerous lights and music.
Tourism in Goa
Goa is the most popular tourist place in India. It is known for its churches, forts, beaches, ferry rides, and folk music.
It is heaven for those who want to relax and have fun. Tourism in Goa is one of the primary industries where you can see tourists coming from around the world all year long.
Some of the major tourist attractions are Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Cathedral Church, Lord Shiva Temple in Mangueshi, Mahalasa Temple. The main church are Candolim Beach, Baga Beach, Sinquerim Beach, Bambolim Beach, Arambol Beach, Vagator Beach, Benaulim Beach, Palolem Beach, Agonda Beach, Mobor and Cavelossim beaches are famous
Dudhsagar Water Falls, Kesarval Springs, Mayem Lake, Arvalem Waterfall, Kuskem Waterfall are some of the famous waterfalls in Goa.
The famous church is Royal Chapel of St Anthony, Church of The Carmelites, Church of St.Francis of Assisi, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapel of St.Catherine, Reis Magos Church, Church of Our Lady of Rosary in Goa.
The famous temples are Mangeshi Temple, Sri Kamakshi Temple, Sri Vithal Temple, Sri Shantadurga Temple in Kavlem are some of the famous temples in Goa. Jama Masjid and Safa Masjid at Ponda are the famous mosques in Goa.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Forest, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Mollem National Park are some of the famous wildlife centuries. Chapora Fort, Fort Aguada, Teracol Fort, Reis Magos Fort, Mormugao Fort, Rachol Fort, Naroa Fort, Corjuem Fort, Cabo De Rama Fort in Goa.
There are plantations like Savoi Plantation, Sahakari Spice Farm, Tropical Spice Plantation, Pascol Spice Village which attract tourists. There are caves and other natural beauties of Goa that attracts a whole lot of domestic and foreign tourist.