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Carnival in Goa, also called "Carnaval", "Intruz", "Entrado",[1] or (colloquially) "Viva Carnival" [2] refers to the festival of carnival, or Mardi Gras, in the Indian State of Goa. Though significantly smaller than the well-known Rio Carnival or the Portuguese Carnival of Madeira, the Goa Carnival is the largest in India and one of the few traditional celebrations of the Catholic holiday in Asia. Despite falling into obscurity during the latter days of the Portuguese colonial rule of Goa, the Goa Carnival was resurrected as a minor street celebration in 1965 and has since turned into a major tourist attraction for the small state.[2]

Goan Carnaval
Goa Carnaval.jpg
People dancing during Goa Carnaval.jpg
Floats at Carnaval in Goa 2.jpg
Floats for Goa carnaval.jpg
From Top left to right: City decorated for Carnaval, People dancing on streets, Floats during Carnaval
Also calledCarnaval, Carnival
Observed byGoans, communities worldwide
SignificanceCelebration prior to fasting season of Lent
2018 dateAfternoon, February 10 –
midday, February 13
2019 dateAfternoon, March 2 –
midday, March 5
2020 dateAfternoon, February 22 –
midday, February 25
2021 dateAfternoon, February 13 –
midday, February 16
Related toMardi gras



While the roots of the Carnival in Goa date back to the introduction of Roman Catholic traditions during the Portuguese conquest of Goa, the festival itself fell into obscurity during the later days of colonialism, as Portugal's authoritarian regime known and is celebrated on the same day as Portugal Estado Novo limited freedom of assembly and press.[3]

After the end of Portuguese rule, the festival was resurrected by Timoteo Fernandes in 1965, a Goan musician who modeled it after the famed Rio Carnival.[2] Today, the urban parade includes floats from local villages, commercial entities, and cultural groups. It is still organised in a very traditional manner, including by the staging of streetside local plays, in the coastal taluka of Salcete. According to the Government of Goa's Department of Tourism, the carnival is "Goa's most famous festival and has been celebrated since the 18th century."[4]

The Carnival usually starts off on Fat Saturday (known as Sabado Gordo) and concludes on Fat Tuesday (known as 'Shrove Tuesday'), just before Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Catholic season of Lent. In Panjim, the capital of Goa, the festival is complemented by "Grape Escapade", a local Wine festival, and a dance at Samba Square in the centrally-located Garden of Garcia da Orta.[5]

According to local tradition, during Carnival Goa is taken over by King Momo, usually a local resident who presides over the festival during the 4-day span.[6] King Momo traditionally proclaims the Konkani message “Kha, piye aani majja kar” (English: “Eat, drink and make merry”).


The parade usually begins on Fat Saturday evening with a procession headed by King Momo. Balloons, horse-drawn carriages, decorated bullock carts and elaborate floats are the highlights of the parade. The festivities during Goa Carnival include dancing troupes, revelers wearing masks and costumes, live music, sports competitions, floats & parades, and food and drinking.[7]


In 2018, the festival was celebrated from 9–12 February.[8] In the urban areas, individual float parades were held in the Goan cities and towns of Panjim, Margao, Ponda, Vasco, Curchorem, Mapusa and Morjim.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Its Goa - What is the story behind Goa Carnival?". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Oheraldo - The dawn of Viva Carnaval in Goa". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Dictatorship, liberation, transition in the short fiction of three Portuguese-language Goan writers: Alberto de Menezes Rodrigues, Ananta Rau Sar Dessai and Telo de Mascarenhas". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Carnival". Goa Tourism. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Times of India - Red and Black Dance at Samba Square". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. ^ "The Wall Street Journal - Goa Ready for King Momo and Carnival". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Goa Carnival 2018 | Festival in Goa". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Goa Carnival 2018". Retrieved 30 October 2018.

External linksEdit