Goa is a magical land of beaches that was a former Portuguese colony till the year 1961. However, this state still retains its Portuguese charm. Now it has become a favored tourist destination for its bountiful beaches nestled amidst white sand shores, brown sands cliffs, vast stretches of coconut trees etc. making it a paradise of beaches that have a uniqueness of its own. Also, the quaint Churches mostly inspired from Portuguese architecture, local flea markets, stunning sunsets, zestful beach-side parties and Portuguese-inspired Goan cuisine adds to a perfect holiday quotient in Goa. With the onset of mid-December, the whole of Goa comes together during the Christmas season to kick-start the festive fiesta with fun and frolic and singing melodies of Christmas carols filling up the pleasant ambiance of Goa and fireworks all over the state. From vibrant beach parties to moonlit cruises to illuminated Churches, authentic sea food and traditional Goan desserts to bustling bazaars, Goa is an ultimate party destination of India that will never disappoint you. So a perfect getaway in December to witness the exotic Christmas and New Year celebrations this year, is GOA – the party capital of India.
Christmas falls on 25th December every year so mark your calendar and head to Goa this Christmas Eve, for all the right reasons below:
1. Scintillating Goan Cuisine
The Goan cuisine is typically seafood-based. The staple diet of the Goan locals is rice and fish curry. For tourists, Goa offers a wide range of sea-food varieties ranging from shellfish, prawns, lobsters, squids and mussels. It is a perfect mix of Hindu origins, Portuguese colonialism and modern techniques. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and local spices are the main ingredients of Goan cuisine. While with Portuguese influence, ingredients like Potatoes, Tomatoes, Pineapples, Guavas, Cashews and spicy Peri-Peri Chilli were infused into Goan cuisine. The sumptuous coconut and fish-based delicacies draw tourists from around the world. You’ll find many well laid out restaurants serving the best of Goan seafood or you can head to the beach shacks for some authentic Goan delights.
2. Fireworks Display
Watching the sky sparkling with firecrackers is a breathtaking sight for everyone. In Goa, watching fireworks lighting up the midnight sky on Christmas and New Year’s Eve is popular among tourists. In North Goa, Baga and Calangute Beach, and in South Goa, Colva and Bogmalo Beach are the best to soak in the festive spirits as fireworks crowd the sky and welcome the New Year with a bang!
3. Legendary Street Markets of Goa
Goa has an exotic mix of street shopping markets displaying a plethora of herbs and spices, sumptuous foodstuff, handicrafts, accessories, designer jewellery, sculptures from Kashmir, rugs and carpets. The Anjuna Flea Market, Margao Market and Mapusa Market are some of the most popular streets markets of Goa, among the tourists. They are renowned worldwide for the famous Goan handicrafts and local spices. The Saturday Night Market at Arpora in North Goa is known for its amazing jewellery collection and its live band performances. Feel free to taste Goan street foods and grab a chilled beer on the go.
4. Best of Christmas celebrations in Goa
Food is a major part of any festival celebrations around the world and when it comes to Christmas, Goa leaves no stone unturned. The traditional Christmas sweet is a traditional fruit cake made of wine and dry fruits. It is prepared in almost every household along with a number of other local sweet delicacies – Neureos (stuffed dry fruits with coconut), Dodol (a jelly-type pudding made of coconut milk and jaggery), Perad (Guava cheese), Kulkul (golden brown curls glazed with sugar), Baath (a Portuguese style cake made of semolina and coconut milk) etc. and not to forget the popular Bebinca (a layered cake made of Coconut milk, eggs, butter and flour). On the day of Christmas Eve, a traditional dinner is prepared that includes Turkey or chicken, Pork sorpotel ad Pulao (rice cooked with vegetables and spices). After the midnight dinner, locals join together for the midnight mass service – a-hundred-year-old tradition that commemorates the birth of Jesus with sounds of Christmas carols and holy prayers in the backdrop. The Basilica of Bom Jesus dedicated to infant Jesus and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church are good options to witness this ceremony. While food is the heart and soul of Christmas in Goa, its illuminated churches will leave you enthralled by their mesmerizing beauty and charm.
5. Party Hopping in Goa
During mid-December or a few days before Christmas, thousands of tourists pour in here to observe the grand Christmas celebrations and welcome the New Year. Goa has a plethora of party options for everyone. Be it nightclubs, beach-side parties or silent noise parties at the Palolem Beach or enjoying themselves at the beach shacks, Goa has it all. This is what makes it the “Party Capital of India”. If Casinos fascinate you then Goa features some of India’s largest casinos like Casino Pride (a floating Casino), Deltin Royale Casino, Deltin Jaqk etc. where you can try your luck in games like Black Jack, Rummy, Stud Poker, Baccarat and Flash Roulette. The most interesting part about these stylish offshore Casinos is that they are luxuriously played on a cruise over the Goan river. A night at a Casino in Goa is guaranteed to take you into the world of Las Vegas.
When is the best time to visit Goa?
The best time to visit is from Mid-November to Mid-February as the weather turns pleasant and is a great time to relax on the beaches here. This is why, these three months is the peak season of tourists in Goa, every year.
How to reach Goa?
Board a flight to Goa International Airport in Dabolim near Vasco da Gama. On arrival, you can hire a cab for your onward destination.
The two rail heads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim that are well-connected to major cities in India. On reaching, you can book a cab for your onward destination.
Christmas is more than a holy festival in Goa. It is CELEBRATION OF LIFE! So if you’re planning to head to India this Christmas then Goa is ideal for you. We hope you have a perfect Christmas blast with your closed ones in Goa because it is no where else in India where you could get the best feeling like in Goa. So it’s time for you to set off on a fun-filled sojourn to Goa to witness the best of Christmas in India and take back home, a quintessential Goan Christmas that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.