|Goan Customs & Traditions
The multi-religious fabric of Goan society shines brightly,
imbibed with the spirit of Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava (Equal
Respect for All Religions). The major religions are Hinduism
and Christianity, together accounting for more than 95%
of the population, while Islam, Buddhism and other religions
account for the rest. Unlike the common perception, Goa
is not a Christian majority state, but a Hindu majority
|Goa is a multi-lingual state, thanks to its chequered history
of thousands of years, which has seen people of various regions,
ethnic races and religions from India and abroad coming over
to and settling in Goa, while influencing the local language.
At present, Marathi and Konkani are two major languages of Goa.
Hindi, the national language of India, is well understood in
Goa. In major towns, English is widely used in writing and conversation.
Goa being a major tourist place offers a tourist-friendly medium
of interaction through English. On the other hand, Portuguese,
the language of the colonial rulers and the official language
till 1961 before liberation, notwithstanding the official patronage
and a compulsory medium of study, failed to make a dent in the
mind of the majority of Goans. It remained only the language
of the elite but alienated the masses. Thus just after the departure
of the Portuguese, Portuguese lost all its favour and usage.
However, very few - particularly the older or pre-liberation
generation - still use Portuguese.
|Fairs & Festivals
|Throughout the year, every month, you will find fair and festival
of one kind or the other. These are mainly religious and social
in nature. But purely artistic festivals are also organized
such as Kala Academy's annual festivals, which draw artists
and art lovers from all over India.
|Goan folk dances bear a tradition of thousands of years, characterized
by innumerable forms performed by and reflecting lifestyles,
cultures and aspirations of different strata, religions and
castes of Goan society. The prominent ones are described here.
|Goan art colourfully illustrates the unity in diversity of
Goan heritage. Various art forms pertaining to different religious
beliefs and life styles have mingled into one unique identity
that has developed into Goan art. Thus we find Hindu artists
chiseling out Christian images in villages and cities. Goan
art, developed around religious requirements, represents this
process of assimilation, interdependence and mutual acceptability.
|Goa Carnival - Traditions & Customs
For four nights and three days, then,
beer, cigarettes and liquor became the order of the day. However,
the church and social activists intervened successfully to
turn the Goa Carnival into a harmless and healthy people feast
instead of just a promotion fest for all wrong kind of tourists
and consumers. Roman version of the Indian Spring festival
of Holi, Saturnalia highlighted floats, tableaux, clowns,
vamps, contortionists and pranksters. A similar festival in
Greece was held in the honor of Kronas, one of the Titans
and the father of Zeus. Latin Europe celebrated these three
days of fun and merriment in anticipation of dull forty days
of Lent season. Italians eat a 1000-egg omelette on Friday
before Lent at Ponti, British gorge on eggs and butter in
large quantities on Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day while French
on Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.
Germans celebrated the Fastnacht or Eve of
Fasting. In Portugal, the pre-carnival celebrations are known
as 'assaltos' and people go out in masked groups to 'raid'
their friends' houses and are offered delectable food and
beverages, amid much singing and dancing. The Portuguese aristocratic
descendants of Goa still follow the custom. In the ancient
times, the carnival was the occasion for authentic battles
in which prominent citizens also took part. The Portuguese
sailors from the fun ship Sado made the occasion all the more
lively with their guitars, mandolins and other musical instruments
and sang fados along with other carnival tunes. Later, the
Goa carnival turned mildly violent in nature and flowers and
sweets were replaced by potatoes, rotten eggs, tomatoes and
brinjals and the powder bombs by 'cocotes' made of spoilt
flour and husk making it cruder than before.