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Goa Carnival 2020 Dates : This year the carnival is due to start ongoing to be held between February 22, 2020, to February 25 2020.

Goa Carnival, Goa Overview

The Goa Carnival is a legacy of the Portuguese rule and has grown from being a quiet event to a popular, massive scale festival, attracting thousands of tourists from India and abroad. One of the most awaited occasions in the state, the carnival has a long history of its origin, stretching back right to the ancient Roman Empire. It is also known as the Carnaval, Goan Carnival, Intruz or simply Carnival. It attracts a huge number of tourists as well as localites and is the biggest of its kind in Asia. Spectacular and colourful float parades are held in most of the favourite cities of Goa. The atmosphere is charged with dances, musical events and the great food, all of which are major crowd pullers.

Goa Carnival 2020 Date

A Carnival Float
A Carnival Float

The next Carnival in Goa is set to commence from February 22, 2020, and end on February 25 2020. 
Observed before the fasting season of Lent, the period marks the end of the winter season. Though most Churches and Christian denominations strictly follow the Gregorian calendar, dates of Lent and the Carnival do not fall on fixed times. This happens because these dates are determined on lunar phases. The event begins on Fat Saturday and concludes on Shrove Tuesday.

Goa Carnival 2020 - Venue 

Festivities occur in the cities of Panjim, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco da Gama, with Panjim having it the largest of all. Early booking of travel and hotel tickets can bring the visitors on the safe side of confirmation of them witnessing the events with ease and can land them in good discounts as well.

Performers at the Goan Carnival
Performers at the Goan Carnival

The nearest railway station from the city of Panjim is Margao Railway station, which is approximately forty kilometres away from the city. Buses and taxis are readily available from the station. The nearest airport is the Goa International Airport, also known as Dabolim Airport, situated at a distance of around thirty kilometres from Panjim.

The History of Goa Carnival

A Carnival float commencing the parade
A Carnival float commencing the parade

Goa has much to offer the visitors regarding the Portuguese legacy left behind, and the Goan carnival happens to be a significant one among them. Having its origin in the pagan traditions of ancient Rome where people consumed all the gathered food for winter at its end lest their decay, the grand celebration of the event was assimilated by and into the Christian world. The Christian liturgical calendar marked the days as last period before the beginning of the period of Lent. Lent is considered to be a period of fasting and penance, in which people would cleanse them of sins and abstain from consuming meat. Thus the period before the commencement of Lent is celebrated as final days of enjoyment and feasting, organised into the Carnival. Celebrations take place throughout the Christian world across denominations, but mainly by Roman Catholics. The Portuguese, who mostly conformed to Roman Catholicism, introduced the Carnival in colonised Goa, and the exact date of the first ever Carnival to occur in the state is lost although some consider 1961 as the beginning year. Though the festival faced a setback in the last years of the Portuguese rule in Goa, it was revived again. Today, not only the Christians but all the people of Goa celebrate it with much enthusiasm.

Goa Carnival Festival Celebrations & Events

The epicentre of the Carnival is the capital city of Panjim, although celebrations occur at several places across the state.

Parade and the Floats
Panjim sees the grandest of these celebrations with heavily decorated carnival floats moving through the roads, accompanied by dancing men and women in bright costumes. The floats compete with each other for a prize. The city turns childishly colourful and high on jovial spirit. Mermaid shaped large floats, clowns with large heads, and people moving their bodies to dance numbers on the roads are defining features and common sights to the festival.

The Stalls
Short plays representing Goan culture are also organised. Various musicians can be found playing their instruments with much entertainment. Other forms of art too are represented by respective artists. Food stalls line up, offering a variety of food to the people to buy.

King Momo

King Momo of Goa Carnival 2018
King Momo of Goa Carnival 2018

A nominal leader, known as King Momo, is chosen before the celebrations, who is supposedly given charge of the state to rule for four days. Generally, a fat, jolly person is selected for the job, as per the practice all around the globe. King Momo of the Goan Carnival leads the troupe of dancing men and women, with the message of 'Kha, piyeaanimajjakar' meaning, 'Eat, drink and enjoy'. The celebrations conclude with an event in which people clad in red and black clothes dance for the final time. The end marks the beginning of the period of Lent.

Though the Carnival is a cultural festival, it incorporates massive commercialisation trait which has called for as much appreciation as criticism.

The Significance of the Goan Carnival

A glimpse of Goa Carnival
A glimpse of Goa Carnival

The celebration of the Carnival serves many purposes in a single shot. On the one hand, it helps in strengthening the harmony among the people of diverse communities residing in the state, and on the other, it presents Goa as a sought-after destination for the tourists, hence empowering tourism which is a significant source of revenue for Goa. It keeps the cultures and traditions of the state alive by its celebration and gives the people a recreational period from a hectic daily schedule. Another point worth mentioning is, it culturally links Goa, and in the process, India, to other parts of the world where Carnivals are celebrated.    

Photos of Goa Carnival

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