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Hindu Festivals in Goa

In Goa, Hindus form the majority population, which makes it obvious that the Hindu festivals are celebrated with much joy and fervor in Goa. The Hindu community in Goa primarily celebrates Ganesha Chaturthi, Diwali, Dusshera, Holi, Rakshabandhan (Rakhi), Rama Navmi and Krishna Janmashtami festivals.

Ganesha Chaturthi
Unquestionably, the most illustrious festival of Goa, Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated around the months of August or September. Most Goans return to their native place of birth or their ancestral houses to join the entire family in the celebration of the birthday of the Elephant God, Ganesha.

It is celebrated with much enthusiasm also because of its proximity to the state of Maharashtra, where Ganesha Chaturthi is unarguably the most important festival of the year.

Diwali is celebrated all over India and is also known as the "festival of lights". Its roots can be traced back to the era, when Lord Ram destroyed the Demon King Ravana. After fourteen years of exile and victory over Ravana, Lord Rama was hailed in his birthplace Ayodhya with a celebration of crackers and lights. In Goa, Diwali is celebrated by one and all with the same keenness and joy as all over India. All over Goa, giant effigies of Narakasur (as Ravana is popularly known there), dressed in colorful paper outfits and weaponry are put up in the days foregoing Diwali. Then, they are burnt just before sunrise.

The festival of Dusshera is celebrated just before Diwali in Northern India. These two festivals are celebrated as one in Goa. Huge effigies of Ravana, the demon king are burnt all over the city at night. It marks the victory of good over evil and denotes the fact that evil can never get away with its misdeeds and in the end, goodwill shall be victorious.

Holi or the "festival of colors" is a very joyous occasion and is celebrated with fun and happiness all over the country and Goa is no exception to it. In this festival people, smear each other with colorful powder and drench each other in colorful water. Children run here and there and apply color on their friends and loved ones and play in water. The festival of Holi comes around the months of March and April. The date is not fixed as it is based on the Hindu calendar.

Rakshabandhan /Rakhi

Rakshabandhan, or popularly known as Rakhi, is celebrated all over India with much warmth and devotion. It is a festival in which girls tie colorful, sacred threads around the wrists of their brothers, who in turn promise to protect their sisters from any sort of harmful influences whatsoever. The brothers then give their sisters a gift as a token of their promise and love. This festival is celebrated usually in the month of August.

Ram Navmi
Ram Navmi or the birth anniversary of Lord Rama is celebrated on the ninth day of the expanding moon in the months of March - April. Lord Rama is considered the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram Navmi is festival which starts from the beginning of the Hindu New Year and goes on for as long as nine days. The temples in Goa are decorated and the images of Lord Rama are adorned with flowers on the occasion of Ram Navmi. Fairs are planned in a number of places around Goa. Lord Rama's birthday is celebrated with great pleasure and is believed to bring serenity and happiness to the people. The biggest celebration takes place in Southern Goa, where thousands of followers get together to take part in the festivities.

Krishna Janmashtami
Popularly called as Janmashtami, this festival marks the birthday of one the most lovable gods of the Hindu folklore, Lord Krishna. It is believed that Lord Krishna was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who came in the corporeal world to destroy evil. This festival is celebrated in the months of August - September according to the Hindu calendar. Janmashtami is celebrated with people paying a visit to local Krishna temples, which are particularly adorned and lit for the occasion. A major highlight of the day is "dahi-handi" in which young boys form a human pyramid and try to reach a pot of curd, which is tied high up. It is believed that Lord Krishna used to steal curd and butter from neighboring houses by forming human pyramids with his friends.

Just before midnight, devotees visit temples and perform a special "aarti" to mark the birth of lord Krishna as he was born at midnight.

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