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Culture of Goa

The culture of Goa is shaped by several influences over the course of centuries. The most prominent of the influences of course, is the Portuguese one, which is the legacy of Portuguese rule for more than five centuries.

Goa is a unique destination in terms of a vibrant culture and a cheerful blend of myriad people of different ethnicities and religions, who have merged seamlessly into this beautiful landscape. Here magnificent Catholic churches coexist with ancient temples and during your Goan sojourn, you'll glimpse several quaint seaside villages that look frozen in time. The architecture of the region has a predominant European flavour but is steeped in a history that is uniquely Goan.

Although Konkani is the local language of this state, Marathi, Hindi and English are also widely spoken and understood, giving Goa a multilingual appeal. A small part of the populace still speaks Portuguese and you may even come across some shop signs in Hebrew or Finnish. The people here are generally friendly and laidback, welcoming visitors with a warmth that touches a corner in the travellers' heart. One tradition that no traveller can afford to ignore is the siesta time. Most shops and business establishments will close down during the afternoon hours so plan your shopping expeditions accordingly.

The scenic backdrop and cultural amalgamation of various influences have ensured that Goa's art and craft too mirrors the harmony of the region. Local artisans excel in creating object d art from bamboo, jute macramé, seashells, papier-mâché, and wooden lacquer. Goa does not disappoint anyone looking for the perfect souvenir of a wonderful holiday, the best one, perhaps, being a cartload of beautiful memories. All these are slices of the culture of Goa, which you would cherish, during your Goan tours and afterwards.

Goa's folk music enchants and entices with a soulful symphony of classical western sensibilities tinged with local flavours. The Portuguese influence is manifested the most in Goa's music with typically lilting melodies and peppy beats resonating through the land. Many of the locals can play a musical instrument or two and almost every village has its own band. Don't be surprised if you find entire families relaxing to the soothing sounds of a piano or a guitar accompanied with generous helpings of feni (a local drink brewed from cashew nuts or coconuts), during the evenings.

Goa also has a rich heritage of folk dances and the more popular western dances as well. No trip to Goa can be complete without witnessing the beautiful swirls of the Bhandad or Corredinho- the traditional Portuguese folk dances; nor the breathtaking beauty of the Dekhni, a traditional beauty dance; or the magical Lamp Dance, Tonvamel, or Morulem. Although music and dance form an integral part of Goa's day-to-day life, Goa comes to life during its festivals.

Festivities form an important exponent of the culture of Goa. Be it Shigmo, the Goan version of Holi, or the Feast of Our Lady of Miracles, which is celebrated 16 days after Easter, or the well known Carnival; Goa celebrates the joys of life with fervour and enthusiasm. Although most of the festivals are Christian specific due to the strong Catholic influence, the celebrations are secular in nature with both Hindus and Christians celebrate the festive spirit with zealous passion, for all things joyous and wonderful.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/01