Culture in Goa

Goan culture has been shaped mainly by the Hindu and Catholic population. People are mostly easy going ( 'sossegado' in Portuguese). With better connectivity by Air and Rail, there has been an influx of people from neighbouring states that has led to different cultures. Many Indians from other states have now come and settled here.

Goan Catholics generally acknowledge their Hindu roots, and carry traces of a caste-system within their social beliefs. It is recorded that in many instances the Hindus left one son behind to convert and thus continue to own and manage the common properties while the rest of the family preferred to emigrate to neighboring areas along with the idols representing their Hindu deities.

Over the years large numbers of Catholics have emigrated to the major commercial cities of Bombay and Pune and from there onward to East Africa (to the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique), to Portugal itself, and towards the end of the 20th century to Canada and Australia. Many old Goan ancestral properties therefore lie either abandoned or mired in legal tangles brought about by disagreements within the widely dispersed inheritors of the property. In recent years, expat Goans have been returning to their home state, often purchasing holiday homes along the coast (which are then converted into 'rent back' apartments, hired out to short-staying tourists by realtors).

The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is comfortable, dry and pleasant. 


Goa's state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi, and Marathi. Portuguese is also known by a small segment, especially the elite and earlier privileged class or the older generation which studied in pre-1961 Portuguese-ruled Goa. 

Different languages tend to be used for different purposes in Goa. Konkani is the most widely spoken. English and Marathi tend to be most widely read (most newspapers are read in these two languages too).
Catholics largely use Konkani for their prayer services, while the language for religion is largely Marathi for Hindus. The administration is largely conducted in English, which is also the language of publication of the official gazette, and the language mainly used in the courts.

It can be rather difficult currently to learn Konkani, with options for learning rather restricted. The language is written in four to five scripts, in and beyond Goa -- Devanagari (the official script), Roman or Romi (widely used in Goa), Kannada-script, Malayalam-script and Perso-Arabic, reportedly used by some Muslim communities further south along the Indian west coast. Recently, books to learn Konkani in the Roman script have also been published, making it easier for those not knowing the Devanagari script (used to write Hindi, Marathi and other languages) that is the officially-recognized script for Konkani in Goa. 

Goa is a land of crafts and craftsmen, where aesthetic quality finds a natural expression. Goa has a rich and magnificent tradition of the classical arts. Over the years, Goans have excelled in poetry, music and the fine arts.
The exquisitely carved rosewood and teak furniture, the terracotta figurines, the classic brass items and the unique gold jewellery designs all speak of an age still valuable in this technology obsessed world.
The folk paintings of Goa have been traced to different places from ancient temples, churches and palatial manors to humble households. They mostly depict episodes from the epics - the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Puranas and also scenes from the New Testament.
During the Portuguese colonisation, local craftsmen played a major role in the development of the exquisite furnishings and decorations used in residential houses, churches and chapels. This art can still be seen the Christian Art Museum at Old Goa.
Goans have contributed greatly to the world of music. Many famous names on the Indian music scene originate from Goa. Famous singers such as Lata Mangueshkar and Kishori Amonkar in the classical variety and Remo Fernandes in pop music, are from Goa.
Konkani literature has produced many great names such as Bakibab Borkar who have contributed to the development of Konkani as a national language with some superlative writing.
Local craftsmen in Goa produce a wide variety of crafts ranging from terracotta pottery and figures to superb brass lamps and decorative items.
A large number of Goans have also played a major role in drama and Hindi film industry in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

Important Dates in history of Konkani Language

1187 First Konkani inscription

1209 Jnaneshwari is written in Konkani
1548 Portuguese destroy all Konkani works
1808 Konkani Bible is published
1932 Portuguese start Konkani school
1987 Konkani recognised as a National language

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