Depending upon your day of leisure a customised trip can be planned with Goa Carnival. Please reach out to us for details and extended trip plans. Here are few basic facts about the Goa Carnival.


What is Carnaval?

The Goa Carnival, also known as Carnaval, is a vibrant and colourful festival that takes place annually in the state of Goa, India. The festival has become one of the most popular and well-known cultural events in India, attracting visitors from all over the world.

The festival typically takes place in the weeks leading up to Lent and features a range of events and activities that showcase the unique heritage and traditions of Goa. These include parades, music performances, dance competitions, food festivals, and cultural displays.

The highlight of Carnaval is the parade, which winds through the streets of major Goan towns and cities across the state. The parade features a variety of floats, dancers, and musicians, all dressed in elaborate costumes. The procession is led by King Momo, a mythical figure who is said to be the king of Carnaval.

Carnaval is a time of joy, celebration, and cultural expression, and has become an important part of the Goan calendar. During the festival, the streets of Goa come alive with a festive atmosphere that is unlike anything else in India.

You can expect to enjoy traditional Goan cuisine, including seafood delicacies and refreshing drinks that the region is well known for. The festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the rich and diverse culture of Goa and to celebrate with locals and visitors alike.

History of Carnaval

The history of Carnaval dates back to the Portuguese colonial era when the festival was introduced to celebrate the arrival of the season of Lent. The word ‘Carnaval’ is derived from the Latin word ‘carne vale’, which means ‘farewell to meat’, as Lent is a period of fasting and abstinence.

Goa was a colony of Portugal for over 450 years, and during this time, the Portuguese influence on the culture and traditions of Goa was significant. The first recorded instance of Carnaval celebrations in Goa dates back to the mid-18th century, and the festival was known as ‘Entrudo’ at the time.

During the festival, people would indulge in merrymaking and excess, with street parties, feasts, and dancing. The tradition of throwing coloured powder and water at each other also became a popular part of the festivities.

After India gained independence from British rule in 1947, Goa remained under Portuguese control until 1961. It was during this time that the modern-day version of the Goa Carnaval began to take shape. It was modelled after the Rio Carnaval of Brazil by a local musician named Timoteo Fernandes to attract tourists.

Who is King Momo?

King Momo is a central figure in the Goa Carnaval celebrations. He is a mythical character who is said to be the king of Carnaval and is a symbol of joy, merrymaking, and excess.

During Carnaval, King Momo flags off and leads the float parade. He is typically portrayed by a local man who is chosen for the role based on his physical appearance and his ability to embody the spirit of Carnaval.

King Momo is depicted as a large, jolly man with a jovial personality. He is known for his love of good food, drink, and music, and is often seen dancing and enjoying the festivities with the other participants in the parade.

In addition to leading the parade, King Momo also has the power to issue a decree that grants permission for the people of Goa to indulge in excess and merrymaking during the festival. This decree is read out loud by King Momo at the start of the Carnaval. King Momo is an important part of the celebrations, and his presence adds to the festive and lively atmosphere of the event. Visitors can expect to see King Momo and his entourage spreading joy and happiness to all those who attend.

Dates and Location

The Carnaval takes place annually in the month of February or March, depending on the date of Easter. The festival typically lasts for four days. For the year 2023, the Carnaval will take on the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st of February.

The Goa Carnaval is celebrated in towns and cities across the state, but the main centre of the festivities is the capital city of Panaji. The Carnaval parade in Panaji is the largest and most elaborate, and it draws thousands of visitors. In addition to Panaji, other major towns and cities across Goa also hold their own Carnaval celebrations. Other cities the Carnaval will be held at include Margao, Vasco da Gama, Mapusa, Porvorim and Morjim. The Carnaval celebrations are also held in many villages and small towns across the state, with each community adding its unique flavour and style to the festivities.

Events and Activities

Visitors to the state of Goa can join locals in participating in several cultural activities across the state. These include:


  • The Carnaval Float Parade- The parade led by King Momo consists of several decorated floats, live music, and dancing and takes place in the streets of major Goan cities.
  • The Food and Cultural Festival-From Street food vendors to high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone when it comes to food in Goa. Some of the popular dishes to try, include seafood, traditional Goan curries, and sweets.
  • Cultural displays– Visitors can expect to see a wide range of cultural displays taking place across the state. Witness traditional music, dance performances, art exhibitions and theatre shows.
  • Street Parties– One of the most popular aspects of the Goa Carnaval is the street parties that take place in towns and cities across the state. These parties are a time for people to come together and enjoy music, dancing, and good company in the streets.
  • Beach Parties– Visitors can expect to find a range of beach parties taking place throughout the state, with live music, dancing, and plenty of food and drinks.

Travel and Accommodation-

Travel has to be planned well in advance due to heavy influx of foreign and local tourists.

Please reach out to us for a hassle free, customised tour plan. Write to us on info@exoticindiatours.co.uk