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Tag Archives: Goa festival

Christmas in Goa

Christmas in Goa

Christmas Time in Goa 

 

Goa is among those eminent destinations that are found in full bloom during Christmas. Goa stands as the most accurate place for witnessing the vibrant Christmas celebrations. Being a part of Goa during this time of the year will surely make your Christmas the most cherished one of your life.

Christmas in Goa is one of the most important festivals that are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Like elsewhere in the world, December 25 is celebrated in Goa too as the nativity of Jesus Christ with traditional joy and gaiety. People from all the communities in Goa join hands to celebrate the festival.

 

Christmas Crib in Goa

Christmas celebrations in Goa include exchanging gifts and offering prayers. The nativity scene is evoked by creating clay statues and artefacts made up of millet grass, box board and hay. Statues form an important part of the Christmas festival and it is reminiscent of the birth of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem. 

A village group along with many children with one among them dressed as Santa go Christmas serenading with a box to raise funds. These funds are normally contributed towards a meal for the poor, orphans or even a small party for the people of the ward. Live cribs with carol singing make rounds in villages. People from all religious communities in Goa take part in the festivities of Christmas. Programs are held at the different parishes in Goa during the Christmas week. The village youth make huge cribs on the community ground or even in fields.

There are a host of local sweets of which the most popular are Neureos, (stuffed dry fruit and coconut rounds), Dodol (coconut and cashew squares) Aranhas (coconut nest which is strips of tender coconut dipped in sugar and put like a birds nest on to decorative butter paper) Doce, Bolina and Bebinca. These sweets are traditionally made at home and sent in little decorative baskets to relatives and friends during the Christmas week. Click Here To know how to prepare few of the Christmas Sweets Recipes.

Dancing and parties form an inevitable part of Christmas in Goa. During the festival, the people dress themselves in the finest of their clothes. People decorate their houses with buntings, streamers, bobbles, tinsel, colourful papers, poinsettias, etc. The Christmas trees are decorated with beautiful items such as candies, sparkling stars, cotton flakes, socks, gifts and a number of other decorative items. Even the churches are decorated for the occasion.  The market places are all embellished with tinsel and buntings and people masquerading as Santa stalk customers, particularly children with gifts. Decorated and glittering Christmas trees are all over the place.

The celebrations of Christmas at Goa begin in the evening of 24th December. The festivities begin with decorating the Christmas tree, making of the crib in each house and also a common ward/village crib. Decorating the Christmas tree form an integral part of the Christmas celebrations in Goa, which begins on the day before the Christmas. The Christmas trees are decorated with many decorative items including socks, candies, stars, bells, gifts, etc. Dancing, pealing of church bells and fireworks form an intrinsic part of the Christmas Day celebrations in Goa.

Carols are sung and all the churches in Goa organize the midnight Mass. The mid night Christmas mass, on Christmas Eve, draws huge crowds. The Midnight Mass commemorates the birth of Jesus at midnight. Therefore, the people of Goa sing Christmas carols and hymns during the midnight. The Midnight Mass in Goa is characterized by the sounding of bells and lighting candles. The service on Christmas Day is attended by Christians dressed in new clothes. After the mass there are cultural events and social gatherings with each person wishing every person they meet a “Merry Christmas”. Moreover, family reunions and partying also include the celebrations of Christmas.

Christmas Crib 2014

The Crib should be a cherished part of the Christmas celebration in every family. It is not only completely religious in significance but also presents to the children in a beautiful way the central event which we commemorate on this great feast. Thus it assumes the character of a religious shrine in the houses of the faithful during Christmas season. Dignified decoration might enhance its attraction and solemnity.

Christmas day is by comparison very silent. It is a day spent with family together in the comfort of one’s home. There are gifts for all the members of the family and even the visiting relatives get gifts kept under the Christmas tree. It is a time to reinforce bonds that may have gone astray or been neglected during the course of the year

It is remarkable that the celebration of Christmas in Goa is not restricted only to the Christians. But People belonging to various communities participate in the festival with immense enthusiasm. In fact, everything in the city/village seems to come alive with the festivities. The beaches in Goa form the centre of the festivities during this time. Loud music and dance, clubbed with sumptuous dishes mark the festivities of Christmas in Goa.

Festivities and visiting people go on even after Christmas, sometimes 10 days beyond Christmas. On New Year’s night, children sit with an effigy of an old man, much like a scarecrow on the road, and collect funds from passers-by.

They burn him at midnight, which is symbolic of putting the past behind and ushering in the New Year or the future.

The Christmas season ends officially on January 6, which is the Feast of the Magi or the three kings who came to pay obeisance to the infant Jesus. There is a Church service and a symbolic procession of the three kings at three places in Goa namely, Chandor, Reis Magos and Cuelim-Cansaulim.

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Viva Sao Joao

Viva Sao Joao

Viva Sao Joao

Summer is gone and the rains come along and if that is a reason enough to jump around in the water, then the feast of st. John the baptist could be it. One of the famous christian feasts in the state, the feast of St.John the baptist is celebrated on the 24th of June by young men all over Goa jumping into well to retrieve gifts thrown in by villagers.

 

History has it that the bible speaks of john the baptist leaping for joy in his mothers, Elizabeth’s womb when she was visited by mary who had just conceived jesus. San joao or St. john the Baptist baptized jesus in the river jordan. The jump into the well is to signify the joy felt by john when he sensed the presence of jesus christ even while he was in his mother’s womb.

 

sao joao in siolim goa

Kids wearing a crown made of flowers and leaves, these form the highlight of Soa Joao

 

 

The traditions followed are so fascinating that one cannot help but participate in it. On this day, people of all ages jump into well, streams and ponds. This is done generally in the spirit after imbibing Goa’s famous liquor ‘feni’ and singing ‘viva sao joao’. Youngster’s procession is held where they go from door to door and collect liquor and fruits. They then offer their prayers and collectibles in a water body in their town. New brides and marriageable girls are blessed and they throw flowers, vegetables and seasonal fruits in the water to fullfil their wishes. Many other youths then jump into the water to collect them.

 

The highlight of the day is the ‘sangodd’, a decorated floating platform, on which people parade singing mandos and religiuos hymns. The sangodds are uniquely decorated and members of that sangodd wear a uniform dress to distinguish themselves from the groups. This is also a time to celebrate one’s spirit of adventure. So, on this day there are a number of competitions that youngsters participate in. some of the beings the siolim boat parade, prizes for headgears, décor and costumes. People wear headgears or crowns made up of tender coconut leaves or flowers known as ‘copel’ and lively music is played on the ghumot (goan musical percussion instrument) and kansallem (cymbals).

 

fruits arranged for st. john the baptist feast in Goa

Fruits arranged in homes to celebrate the feast of St. John the Baptist in Goa

 

 

 

In the village of benaulim- south goa, which has the church of Saint John the Baptist, there is a 9 day novena before the feast day. On the feats day itself there are football matches, singing and dancing apart from the gastronomical delights of traditional goan food which includes sorpotel and sannas, feijoadas, sausage pullao among other foods and plenty of feni to go around and camaraderie to top it all off. People gather together to have fun and enjoy good company.

 

locals celebrate sao joao by playing fork music

Locals celebrating Sao Joao (the feast of St. John the baptist) by playing local instruments and dancing to Goan fork music.

 

 

Sao joao, like any other goan festival has the captivating spirit and merriment, colour and tradition. It is celebrated with such pomp and gaeity. There is so much good energy travelling around with all the happiness and laughters. It is truly something hard to miss when you are around in Goa! And for youngsters who think all this is such a bore, there is always parties that they can attend!

 

 

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