Christmas celebrations in Goa include exchanging gifts and offering prayers. The nativity scene is evoked by creating clay statues and artefacts made from millet grass, boxboard and hay. Statues from a crucial a part of the Christmas festival and it’s like the birth of Jesus within the stable of Bethlehem.
A village group along side many children with one of them dressed as Santa go Christmas serenading with a box to boost funds. These funds are normally contributed towards a meal for the poor, orphans or maybe a little party for the people of the ward. Live cribs with carol singing make rounds in villages. People from all religious communities in Goa participate within the festivities of Christmas. Programs are held at the various parishes in Goa during the Christmas week. The village youth make huge cribs on the community ground or maybe in fields.
There are a number of local sweets of which the foremost popular are Neureos, (stuffed dry fruit and coconut rounds), Dodol (coconut and cashew squares) Aranhas (coconut nest which is strips of tender coconut dipped in sugar and put kind of a birds nest on to decorative butter paper) Doce, Bolina and Bebinca. These sweets are traditionally made at home and sent in little decorative baskets to relatives and friends during the Christmas week.
Dancing and parties form an inevitable a neighborhood of Christmas in Goa. During the festival, the people dress themselves within the finest of their clothes. People decorate their houses with buntings, streamers, bobbles, tinsel, colourful papers, poinsettias, etc. The Christmas trees are decorated with beautiful items such as candies, sparkling stars, cotton flakes, socks, gifts and a number of other decorative items. Even the churches are decorated for the occasion. The market places are all embellished with tinsel and buntings and other people masquerading as Santa stalk customers, particularly children with gifts. Decorated and glittering Christmas trees are everywhere the place.
The celebrations of Christmas at Goa begin within the evening of 24th December. The festivities begin with decorating the Christmas tree, making of the crib in each house and also a standard ward/village crib. Decorating the Christmas tree form an integral a part of the Christmas celebrations in Goa, which begins on the day before the Christmas.
The Christmas trees are decorated with many decorative items including socks, candies, stars, bells, gifts, etc. Dancing, pealing of church bells and fireworks form an intrinsic part of the Christmas Day celebrations in Goa.
Carols are sung and every one the churches in Goa organize the midnight Mass. The mid night Christmas mass, on Christmas Eve , draws huge crowds. The Midnight Mass commemorates the birth of Jesus in the dark . Therefore, the people of Goa sing Christmas carols and hymns during the midnight.
The Midnight Mass in Goa is characterized by the sounding of bells and lighting candles. The service on Christmas is attended by Christians wearing new clothes. After the mass there are cultural events and social gatherings with everyone wishing every one they meet a “Merry Christmas”. Moreover, family reunions and partying also include the celebrations of Christmas.
The Crib should be a cherished neighbourhood of the Christmas celebration in every family. It is not only completely religious in significance but also presents to the youngsters during a beautiful way the central event which we commemorate on this great feast. Thus it assumes the character of a spiritual shrine within the houses of the faithful during Christmas season. Dignified decoration might enhance its attraction and solemnity.
Christmas day is by comparison very silent. It is each day spent with family together within the comfort of one’s home. There are gifts for all the members of the family and even the visiting relatives get gifts kept under the Christmas tree. It is a time to strengthen bonds which will have gone astray or been neglected during the course of the year.
It is remarkable that the celebration of Christmas in Goa isn’t restricted only to the Christians. But People belonging to varied communities participate within the festival with immense enthusiasm. In fact, everything within the city/village seems to return alive with the festivities. The beaches in Goa form the centre of the festivities during this point . Loud music and dance, clubbed with sumptuous dishes mark the festivities of Christmas in Goa.
Festivities and visiting people go on even after Christmas, sometimes 10 days beyond Christmas. On New Year’s night, children sit with an effigy of an old man, much like a scarecrow on the road, and collect funds from passers-by.
They burn him in the dark , which is symbolic of putting the past behind and introduction the New Year or the longer term .
The Christmas season ends officially on Epiphany , which is that the Feast of the Magi or the three kings who came to pay obeisance to the infant Jesus. There is a church and a symbolic procession of the three kings at three places in Goa namely, Chandor, Reis Magos and Cuelim-Cansaulim.
The Goan Christmas Experience
Christmas in Goa is incomplete without these unique experiences on 25th December.
Attend a Midnight Mass
There are over 400 churches in Goa, both large and little, and there is no better way to spend Christmas in Goa than by attending a midnight mass. The Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Church of the Immaculate Conception are also excellent choices.
Say a prayer, thank God for your blessings, and join in singing hymns and carols with others. The Christmas Service normally begins about 10 p.m., so arrive early to secure a spot.
Dine on some Christmas dinner
The food in Goa is usually fantastic, but it’s especially good during the holidays. Treat yourself to a traditional Christmas dinner at a fine dining establishment or at a beachside shack. On the menu, you’ll find scrumptious dishes like roast turkey, pork sorpotel, and a variety of grilled fish.
Remember to save room for Bebinca, Goa’s favourite dessert. A good lunch can cost anywhere from Rs. 500 in a tiny restaurant to Rs. 3000 in a posh hotel, depending on where you dine!
Prepare the Old Man for New Years
Not quite a Christmas ritual, but the tradition of burning the old man on New Year’s Eve is an age-old one that native Goans continue to observe today. Several effigies resembling elderly men, fashioned of hay and old garments, are lit on fire to symbolise the elimination of the previous year’s anxieties and ailments. Children frequently collect money to save for the following year’s celebrations.
Watch the Christmas fireworks
On both Christmas and New Year’s Eve, head to the beaches of Goa and spread out a blanket to watch fireworks light up the midnight sky. Baga and Calangute are popular North Goa beaches for seeing fireworks, while Colva and Bogmalo are popular South Goa beaches. The sand is littered with impromptu dancing and parties, and everyone is encouraged to join in the fun!
Let your hair down
This year’s Sunburn Music Festival will take place on the beaches of Vagator from December 27 to December 30. This electronic music extravaganza, billed as Asia’s largest music festival, features the skills of well-known foreign and Indian musicians. The three-day festival features music, dancing, and entertainment and is the place to go if you want to let your hair down and enjoy the holiday season.