Curry, culture and carnivals – A quick guide to the cultures and customs of Goa
Shimmering white sands, sparkling blue waters and gently swaying palms – these are just some of the things that attract more than 2 million* people a year to this little corner of paradise and make Goa holidays so popular.
However, there’s a lot more to Goa than beautiful beaches and perfect weather. The unique history and culture of the place makes it a fascinating holiday destination for families and backpackers alike.
Talk to anyone who has visited Goa and the one thing you can be sure they’ll rave about is the food. Goan cuisine is famous for its delicious combination of Eastern and Western influences and, generally speaking, is not as spicy as food from other parts of India.
Lots of coconut milk is used, which tends to temper the flavours of the spicy chillies and, being a Portuguese outpost, there are lots of Mediterranean influences too, with olive oil and garlic used liberally. Keep an eye out for fish curry and rice, which is a local favourite!
Culture wise, Goa is as laid back as it gets and this is one of the key attractions for people booking cheap holidays to Goa. There’s a reason it’s been an essential stop off point on the hippie trail for the past five decades: the people are warm and welcoming, and there’s a relaxed, easy-going pace of life.
Over the years, Goa has become a haven for people who want to take some time out to recharge their batteries and discover a new way of life. In terms of religious customs, Goa is a lot more flexible than other parts of India and much more secularised, as people are free to practise whichever religion they choose.
One of the most important cultural events in the Goan calendar is the famous Goa Carnival. This festival has been celebrated for over 300 years and the original Portuguese influence is still very much in evidence.
For three days and nights the streets of Goa are alive with music, singing, dancing and of course street stalls selling delicious local cuisine. The carnival is held every year in February and attracts people from all over India as well as other parts of the world. The atmosphere is vibrant and buzzing, and if you can time your holiday to coincide with the carnival, you won’t be disappointed!
*Figure obtained from Lonely Planet travel guide. (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa)
If you’ve been to anything amazing on a holiday to Goa, go ahead and mention it in the comments below… Don’t be shy!
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