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Of the numerous festivals and events celebrated round the year in Goa, the Goa Carnival is probably the most anticipated. While the carnival is mainly a festival for Christians, with time it has also embedded certain Hindu as well as western traditions and has now turned into a sort of pageantry, celebrated by the entire population.

The carnival takes place in the month of February. For three days, the streets of Goa witness unending dance and music after which the weeklong event of festivities begins.

The carnival is a time for merrymaking just a few days before the rigorous 40 days of lent. Parades can be witnessed on streets throughout the state and the evenings are marked with grand balls. On the final day, the Clube National in Panaji presents their famous red and black dance, which concludes the event.

History of Goa Carnival

The carnival is celebrated only in Goa and was first held during the Portuguese rule, which lasted close to five hundred years.

The origin of the Goa Carnival can be traced to Rome and Greece in the hedonistic feast held there. The first carnivals were held in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies and later incorporated western traditions of dancing, singing and drinking.

The event is presided over by the legendary king Momo, who orders the residents to party on the first day.

The event was on decline at the end of the Portuguese rule but was revived to boost tourism after the liberation of Goa. Today, thousands of tourists from around the globe visit the region to be a part of the Goa Carnival.

When is the Goa Carnival Held?

The Goa Carnival is celebrated in the month of February every year and is presided over by the legendary king Momo. The event is held just before the austere days of lent and is meant to be a time of merrymaking before the rigorous days ahead.

Hotel bookings should be made in advance if visiting the region at the time of the fest.