If you thought that the fun and festivities in Goa ended with the month of December, then you are mistaken. The holiday fervour is very much alive in the party state as it is almost time for the grand Goa Carnival. A one-of-its-kind celebration in India, this unique carnival offers deep insight into the beautiful Goan culture and its Portuguese heritage. Igniting a spirit of fun and frolic with energetic crowds, positive vibes, impressive dance and music performance and unmatched exuberance, Goa Carnival is a big tourist draw and attracts thousands every year from across India and the world.

When is Goa Carnival 2024?

Usually, the Goa Carnival falls in February or March every year before the onset of Lent and continues for three to four days, ending on the night of Shrove Tuesday (a day before Lent). Goa Carnival 2024 will begin on 10th February (Saturday); the festivities will continue till 13th February (Tuesday).

What is Goa Carnival?



Goa Carnival is a three- to four-day-long festival preceding the season of lent (February), marking the season of exhilaration, merrymaking and mayhem before Catholics start fasting and abstinence. The Goa Carnival is celebrated for three days with joy and the highlight of Carnival is the parade, which passes through the streets of Goa.

History of the Goa Carnival

The history of Goa Carnival can be traced back some 500 years ago to the time when the Portuguese settlers ruled over the area. It started as a pre-Mardi Gras revelry accompanied by partying and large consumption of food and drinks before the 40-day-long sacrifice and fasting season began. The event was originally celebrated by the Catholics and was more about Portuguese culture and traditions but with time, all communal barriers got dissolved leaving it as a grand celebration of Goan culture.

Who is King MOMO?

King Momo is a legendary figure in the vibrant celebrations of the Goa Carnival. King Momo is a mythical character in colourful attire, symbolising the spirit of fun and freedom during the Carnival. King Momo’s grand arrival, signifies the commencement of days filled with music, dance, and festivities in the streets of Goa.

Goa Carnival Celebrations

The carnival kicks off on the evening of Fat Saturday with a grand procession headed by King Momo. Colourful masked parades hit the city streets in different destinations across the state with beautiful large floats and participants dressed in fun costumes. There are traditional dance performances and some electrifying music to enjoy along with short gigs and plays about local Goan culture.

A highlight of the procession is Khell/Fell, a one-act folk play where Intruzachim Geetam or Fella-Gitam are sung by walking singers with an accompaniment of local musical instruments. The rustic drums or dolkas act as the mainspring of the play punctuating the story while the whistle of mestri serves as the curtain-raiser. Also, there are sports competitions taking place that are open for all, that too free of cost. At night, there are non-stop partying and grand masquerade balls with huge crowds taking to the streets and giving into the pleasures of good food and great drinks. The carnival closes with the famous Red and Black Dance, where women and men are dressed in colour-coordinated red and black clothes.

Events and Activities at Goa Carnival

  1. Parades: One of the most dazzling aspects of the Goa Carnival is the extravagant parades featuring vibrant costumes and lively music. These parades wind through the streets, captivating spectators with their artistic displays and infectious energy. People adorned in colourful attire, masks, and feathers dance joyously, creating an immersive spectacle for everyone to enjoy.
  2. Music and Dance: Music is the heartbeat of the Goa Carnival. From traditional Konkani tunes to lively beats from around the world, the air resonates with rhythm and melodies. Dance performances, both traditional and contemporary, add to the festive atmosphere.
  3. Food: The carnival is also a feast for the taste buds. Street vendors offer a variety of delectable Goan delicacies. From savoury snacks like fish cutlets and prawn balchaos to sweet treats like bebinca and dodol, there’s a culinary delight for everyone.
  4. Cultural Shows and Performances: Throughout the celebration, cultural shows and performances showcase the rich heritage of Goa. Traditional dances, music concerts, and theatre performances offer glimpses into the region’s diverse culture.

Where is Goa Carnival 2024?



There are four cities in Goa where the carnival is celebrated on a grand scale including the capital of Panaji. The other three cities where you can witness the festivities are Mapusa, Vasco and Margao; each of the cities hosts the parade on different nights. Some other areas and towns across the state where the celebrations take place as well, only on a much smaller scale, are Calangute and Candolim.
There are no entry fees for Goa Carnival 2024. Some nominal charges are levied for some activities like Red and Black dance in the festival. You can enjoy the various events at the Goa Carnival for free.

How to Reach

Goa Carnival is held in the state of Goa at 4 major locations: Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa. There are many options to reach Goa: 

By Air: Even though North Goa has its airport now namely, Manohar International Airport, all the above mentioned cities will be easily accessible from The Dabolim International Airport, Goa.


By Train: There are 2 major railway stations in South Goa: Vasco-Da-Gama and Margao. Thivim Railway Station is another option that connects Goa with other states. 


By Road: You can take private cars or cabs through the NH4A and NH17 that connect Goa to major states of India like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Chennai. 


hotel Places to Stay: Hotels in Goa


All in all, Goa Carnival is an opportunity for you to experience something that you won’t find in other parts of India… that too, without any entry fee. So all you have to do is book one of the hotels in Goa and just show up to join in the celebration. After all, everyone is welcome at Goa Carnival 2024!


Q. What time does Goa Carnival start?

A. The carnival starts during mid-day and is celebrated until the afternoon of the fourth day.

Q. Which day is best for the Goa Carnival?

A. All the days of the carnival are full of fun and activities.

Q. Which is the largest Carnival in India?

A. Goa Carnival is the largest carnival celebrated in India.

Recommended Reads: