What is Goan Culture Like? | Things to Know Before Visiting Goa
Goa, also known as “the Rome of the East” or “the Miami of India,” is one of the most modernised states you will encounter on your solo trip to India. The Goan culture is what adds flavour to this popular tropical destination. And the reason for this stems from Goa’s unwavering commitment to “unity in diversity.”
You can experience the best of both worlds in Goa—East & West. Whether it is the Portuguese influence on Goa or the Mughal and Hindu influences, the culture and heritage of this tiny state have only diversified over time. In fact, despite rapid modernisation, Goa retains the authenticity of its rich culture. Every festival is celebrated with pride and joy. If you want to learn more about Goa’s culture, I strongly advise attending one of the state’s cultural festivals.
If Goa’s culture piques your interest, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, I have discussed everything you need to know about Goan culture before visiting the state. Keep reading to delve deep into the culture of Goa.
Goa, a multi-ethnic state
Goa is a cultural melting pot of Indian and Portuguese influences. As a result, the state boasts the multi-ethnic tag (quite proudly). You will mainly come across Christian and Hindu people in the state. Although the people of Goan are of different ethnicity, they prefer to refer to themselves as Goan above all.
Most Goan people speak in the Konkani dialect, but you don’t have to worry about communication. As the state mainly thrives on tourism, they are equally fluent in English and Hindi.
The susegad lifestyle of Goan people
Now, this is something that attracts every traveller who travels to Goa, including me. It is said they live the susegad life, which means that they believe in relaxing and living a laid-back lifestyle.
Aside from that, I’ve noticed a common trait in their way of life: they like to live in the moment and to the fullest. Isn’t this the lifestyle we all wish we had? As a result, get ready for the most laid-back vacation of your life. For this reason, I recommend that anyone travelling to Goa not plan everything ahead of time. If you want to explore Goa in its true essence, then the best is to go with the flow and take one day at a time.
The food culture of Goa
Are you a foodie? Let’s shake hands if that’s the case! Every foodie’s bucket list includes a trip to Goa. And the Goans strongly believe in “good food = good life.” The staple food of the state is the classic combination of steamed rice and fish curry. Goan curries are often cooked in a lot of spices and have a coconut base.
Besides the staple dish, you should also try pork vindaloo, chicken cafreal, and prawn or crab xacuti. And if you have got a sweet tooth, opt for Dodol and Bebinca. You can pair all of these dishes with a glass of Feni made from fermented cashews (keep in mind to hold the Feni in the right way) and Kokum juice. Read my ultimate guide to food in Goa.
The Goan dance and music culture
Goans are passionate about all forms of art. They enjoy expressing their culture, particularly through dance and music. The traditional Goan dances include Fugdi, Dhalo, Kunbi, Dekhni, etc., and the Goan music includes Dulpod and Mando.
Out of all, I have to mention Dekhni, as it is a classic representation of Portuguese and Indian culture. The dance form is Indian, but the song accompanies it is Western. Goa never ceases to amaze me how well two cultures can coexist.
If you have the opportunity to witness Goa’s most well-known tradition, do not pass it up. And do you know what the best thing about this dance form is? Goan women solely perform it. Can it get any more interesting for a solo female traveller? I guess not.
The architecture of Goa – an ode to Portuguese style
Goa is home to some of history’s most magnificent creations. The architectural gems of Goa, such as the churches and forts of Goa, continue to exhibit the Portuguese style to this day.
Handicrafts of Goa
When it comes to art and handicrafts, Goa is unrivalled. These items are expertly crafted by local artisans and are available in Goa’s local markets. Most Goan crafts are bamboo, brass, wood, coconut shell, and ceramics. If you’re looking for souvenirs, these handicrafts are perfect.
Traditional attire of Goa
The dresses of the Goan people are all bright and vibrant. There’s no place for dullness even in their attires. Most women drape themselves in a saree or a skirt and pair it with traditional jewellery. And, the men prefer to be in a half-pant and a bright shirt. With that being said, Goa is open to all kinds of clothing.
Festivals of Goa
You must have realised by now how diverse the state is. Goa’s festivals will be as diverse as the state itself. The Shigmo festival, Kalas Utsav, Bonderam festival, Goa Carnival, and Feast of St. Francis Xavier are all grandly celebrated. How could I forget about Christmas and New Year’s in Goa? It is worth all of the hype that surrounds these festivals. During this time, tourists from all over the world flock to Goa to experience the hippie and party culture of Goa.
So when are you going to immerse yourself in the Goan culture?
Once you experience the Goan culture, you will certainly not be satisfied with exploring the state just once. The more I learned about Goa’s culture, the more I wanted to be a part of it and explore the various parts of the state.
Be it their no-fuss attitude towards life, humbleness, or warmth, each and everything contributes to the Goan vibe that draws visitors from all over the world. So, if you’ve already experienced the culture of Goa, let me know what you love the most about it in the comments. If not, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pack your bags to live the susegad life in Goa.
To better understand Goa, you can read my article on the ultimate solo travel guide to Goa. I’m sure it’ll give you all the insights you want.
Until next time, travel safely and responsibly!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.