Going to Goa For Good Friday? Don't Miss These Unusual Festivals


​Shigmo Festival

​Also called as Shishirotsava, the Shigmo Festival is a spring celebration that takes place in varied Goan cities. It honours Hindu mythology, folklore, and dance. The festival has two variations -- Dhakto Shigmo (small Shigmo) and Vhadlo Shigmo (big Shigmo). The former is celebrated by farmers and labourers while the latter is celebrated by all. The festival will take place from March 26 to April 8 at Ponda, Calangute, Sanquelim, Valpoi, Panaji, Porvorim, Bicholim, Pernem, Canacona, Vasco, Shiroda/Curchorem, Quepem/Dharbandora, Margao, Mapusa/Sanguem, and Cuncolim.

​ Xenni Uzzo

​Following the Shigmo festival each year, the town of Molcornem in Quepem holds the ancient ceremony called Xenni Uzzo on the first full night. The purpose of the tradition is to pay homage to the founders of the villagers and celebrate the arrival of spring. Villagers use cow dung cakes locally called as Xenni and leaves to create sparks by striking these elements. Locals also engage in lively dance near the Mallikarjun temple.

​Ghode Modni

​Ghode means horse and Modni means joyful; is an old tradition that showcases exemplary horsemanship and martial arts. Performers are dressed as warriors and ride decorated horses. The colourful costumes of the performers create a captivating view. The Ghode Modni folk dance takes place during the harvest season in Goa.


​It is also called as the 'festival of thieves' in Zarme village in Sattari Taluka. Villagers dress up as thieves and indulge in playful activities, starting from staged robberies to comic acts. It is interesting to note that during the festival, four participants are partially buried with only their head exposed, while other four have head submerged in pits. The symbolic act represents tragic historical events from the past where thieves were executed in a wrong manner.

​Homkund Utsav

​In the quiet village of Charao, villagers come together to perform ancient rituals that honour their forefathers and pray for their well-being. The Homkund Utsav involves lightning of a pyramid like wooden structure that is six feet tall. As the wood continues burning to ashes, local folks engage in a tradition where they walk barefoot on coal, to the beat of percussion instruments like dhol, tasha, and cymbals.


​Shisharanni is a religious tradition held at Shri Mallikarjun Temple in Avem-Khotigao, Canacona. The ritual has a unique method of rice cooking where the cooking utensil is placed on the heads of three men who are lying on the ground. The three volunteers are from the Gaondongorim village in Canacona taluka who have their heads covered with a wet cloth and plantain trunk.

​Goan traditions

​Festivals like Shigmo and many others shows the diverse cultural heritage of Goa and hence capture the essence of Goan traditions.

​What Goa has to offer

​If you are drawn to the rhythms of traditional music or mesmerised by the tasty Goan dishes, these distinctive festivals will leave you enchanted. Pack your bags and set off to know about Goa's cultural land.

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