Furry blankets, cloudy mornings, a cosy foggy vibe, and some hot chocolate. This is what everyone’s favourite time of the year looks like. And, when you add a loaded bucket of festive vibes into the season, there’s nothing like it. It ain’t no secret that Goa emerges as this full-of-life hub throughout winter. It is undeniably the most happening celebratory state in India when it comes to rejoicing Christmas in style! Let us take you on a ride on how to celebrate Christmas in Goa.
The period of October to March is especially the time when Goa decks up for the season of the highest tourism outpour. From peppy parties to music festivals and restaurant openings to tempting curated menus and lovely decor around, Christmas in Goa blankets the entire party capital in the glee of Yuletide.
Once you make up your mind to spend Christmas like a true-blue Goan, you’ll actually know what it means to celebrate this eve in India’s most entertaining city. And, for that, being well aware of just the right places will make your spirits go bright as you sleigh the Christmas carol out loud. So, let’s get a sumptuous feel of this festive season together while we give you an insight into what is there when you think of Christmas in Goa.
To get yourself into the aura of this festival, you got to convince yourself to rightly deck up from head to toe. For, Christmas isn’t just like any other affair, it’s an absolute semiformal gathering where a cocktail gown or a classy suit is what you need in the first place. You know interestingly, shopping at the mall isn’t something that Goans are really fond of. It’s more like a common middle-class thing for them. Rather, getting their attires tailored is what they’ve been traditionally admiring to date.
While it’s the jolly season to dance your heart out every night, the nights of Christmas in Goa are, however, a bit particular about its renowned archaic traditions. The youth of Goa makes their way to the famed and fancy Christmas Ball while the elders head to exchange gifts and relish a warm supper. The ladies and gentlemen save their prized or conventional gowns and tuxedos for the midnight collection, which is the exceptionally nostalgic Christmas Ball! These parties turn on the spotlights from 2:00 am and it carries over to 7:30 am. Throughout this gala affair, you would expect nothing but the entire audience rocking and rolling and jiving.
Quinta de Valadares in Verna is where you bump into the fanciest moves but you would be equally bewildered if you drop by Clube Harmonia de Margao, the socials at Emerald Lawns in Parra, and even the Taleigao Community Centre. It is of no surprise to pass by a club of friends and couples tossing off their alcohol at sunrise over kadak chai and bhaji pav at Shantaram’s in Carenzalem or Cafe Real in Panjim. You’ll be welcomed at both of these courteous spots as they gladly join you in your festive hangover.
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Exchanging feasts and sweets is considered an age-old affectionate tradition of an ideal Christmas day. Here, the Goan Catholic families candidly visit their friends and families where a total of 22 varieties of desserts are exchanged along with a Konkani tradition animated by the Colonial Portuguese consoada- Kuswar.
Some of these famed savouries include mandare- sweet papad made with pumpkin and rice, nevreo- deep-fried sweets made with coconut, dry fruits and jaggery, kulkuls- sugar-coated Goan pastries given the shape of small curls, and bebinca- a layer cake of Goa’s Indo-Portuguese cuisine. Head over to Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro, one of the oldest bakeries in Goa if you’re planning to treat your tastebuds to these traditional delicacies.
While you already start googling the best resorts, hotels and restaurants for an aromatic Christmas feast, let us make it easier for you. The ultimate grace of a delicious Christmas feast can only be found at a Goan Catholic home compared to any other luxurious place. Instead of the most talked about Roast Turkey, a regal feast counting a baby pig roast with its mouth stuffed with an apple as the highlight is what a Goan lunch looks like. The starters include forminhas with tuna filling, sorpotel with sannas and vindaloo or rice cakes, plus chicken cafreal, prawns, Goan-style fish, and pulao as the main course.
Chef Fernando’s delicacy in Raia had been garnishing Portuguese recipes for the last two decades. The chef’s beloved, Margarida De Noronha Tavora e Costa has declared her name and the steady Portuguese Christmas lunch menu. There’s Goan rice, mixed vegetable salad, Codfish in creme, shrimp pie, duck rice, and even steamed rice cakes.
There’s also this home restaurant that belongs to Bi-racial Anisha Hassan’s maternal grandmother’s 150-year-old family estate in Saligao. The property has been transformed into a home restaurant. It serves pickled chicken, prawns in roasted garlic oil, stuffed crabs, Portuguese fish, and more for a mouthwatering Christmas lunch.
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When we’re discussing gifts, we’re discussing festive season shopping. And, when we’re discussing festive season shopping, we’re talking about Goa’s much-celebrated street shopping!
Head to Raave Exim for classic hand-crafted decor pieces. It also has a wide collection of glass ball apparel, eye-catching lanterns and many more festive items. Even Heirlooms, a legacy boutique, has a good enough collection of skilful craft items for decor.
We’ve handed over ample reasons to you to head straight to Goa for a Christmastide like no other. It’s time that you start surfing for the tickets already!
This story was first published on Travel+Leisure India and South Asia.
With a well-built background in English Honours and Mass Communication, Shrestha is a writer who holds a fair experience in understanding and creating content in terms of writing. Previously, her professional exposure counted working with Curly Tales as a content writer. Besides the routine designation, she’s a photographer and an artist by passion, a trained singer by heart and of course an independent writer by an incomparable zeal. The interesting disclaimer is, she’s always on the run for her comical laugh and hilarious escaping excuses.
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