A woman having decorative feathers attached to her clothes during a carnival

Goa Carnival 2023


Every year the party capital of India, Goa, holds the inviting Goa Carnival Festival. This festival is a 4-day event and is celebrated throughout the state with immense passion and desire. Goa Carnival 2023 will be held from the 25th to the 28th of February, before the start of Lent, the season of abstinence before Easter. With the different festivities available here, you would not want to miss this festival at any cost.

History


Goa Carnival is based on the Catholic tradition of Mardi Gras. The source of this festival dates back to when the Portuguese colonised Goa, and this celebration became obscure due to Estado Novo (celebrated on the same day as the carnival). Timoteo Fernandes, a Goan musician, in the year 1965, modelled the current festivities after the Rio Carnival to attract tourists and ensure the Goan tradition and culture remained intact.

An image of a beach in goa with boats and people on the shore
A person playing a drum and people vibing next to him

Parade


The parade starts on the 25th of February (also known as Fat Saturday), with an actor chosen for the role of King Momo. King Momo is considered the king of carnivals in Spanish and Latin American festivities, and his arrival signifies the start of the fiesta. You can see horse-drawn carriages, floats with busts, and decorated bullock carts during the procession. The highlight of the carnival is the parade and people in elaborate and flashy costumes. It is truly a sight to behold for the colours and the festivities.

Join in the Celebrations


The Carnival Festival in Goa is celebrated in 4 towns across Goa - Panaji, Vasco Da Gama, Mapusa and Margo.
  • Panaji -The celebration happens in and around Maruti Temple, Reis Magos Fort, Fontainhas, Vainguinim Beach, and Goa State Museum.
  • Vasco Da Gama - The festivities are convened in and around the Japanese Garden, St. Andrew's Church, Mormugao Fort, and Monkey Beach.
  • Mapusa - Join in the celebrations in and around Milagres Church, Shree Ganesh Temple, St. Jerome Church, and Shri Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan.
  • Margo - Witness the festivities at Our Lady of Grace Church, Colva Beach Road, Sat Burzam Ghor, Municipal Garden, Holy Spirit Church, Goa Chitra Museum, and Shree Damodar Temple.

two people wearing mask and costumes during a parade
A masquerade mask showcased with decorations on the sides

Things to do at the Carnival


If you are an art lover, then you will enjoy the canvasses showcased by local artists at this carnival. You can also head to the masquerade ball if you’re in the mood to party, wearing a unique mask. Also, do not miss the Red and Black dance, where the dress-up theme is black and red - men tend to wear red shirts and black pants and, women wear red and black dresses and dance to live music being played. 

Food and Drinks


King Momo says, “Kha, Piye, Maja Kar,” translating to eat, drink and make merry. This sentence is the epitome of the carnival! Do not miss the delectable flavours of Goan cuisine, mainly consisting of seafood and meat. Be sure to try the local drink called Feni, this drink has two variations, one is made from cashew and another is made from coconut, each having its unique flavour. Do note that Feni contains 75% alcohol. 

Shrimp being cooked on a stove by a person

When you’re in town to see the Goa Carnival 2023, Caravela Beach Resort is the ideal place to stay. You’ll be able to visit Margao, the closest town to witness the Goa Carnival. Caravela offers 8 types of rooms, suites and villas and has 7 dining options to choose from, including a seaside restaurant. Refinement meets luxury at Caravela Beach Resort, and staying here will make your vacation memorable!