As the new year comes closer, Goa takes on two contrasting shades. On one hand, you’ll find the entire state preparing for loud parties, events, and entire festivals. Some of these might last from Christmas till the new year. You’ll also find people from all over the world coming into this tiny party-state to join in on the fun.
On the other hand, you’ll find that the people living in Goa are celebrating with their families or getting together with their dear ones. So the same place that’s known as the party-state of India, turns into a sight of families hanging out together, enjoying and celebrating in the joy of festivities.
What’s interesting is that these two scenarios don’t just affect the population and consumption of a place, they change the vibe. Goa experiences both so prominently that being there feels like the moment in a party where you’re enjoying the most, and the moment where you meet your favorite cousin after a long time, simultaneously!
Come December, Goa turns into a much more alluring place. Of course, there are parties, but there are also a huge number of things happening as a part of Christmas celebrations. This tiny Portuguese state has a lot of churches and a huge church-going population. So, if there’s any place in this country where you might get to see Christmas in all its glory, it’s here.
Every place has its story and Goa is no exception. You’ll find the churches here to be just as welcoming as any other place. So take an evening to just walk around and see the beautifully decorated and lit houses, churches, shops, and even entire streets! Get to experience and know about the Christmas and new year traditions that are followed here. Make friends with the locals, if possible, and you’ll see much more than just brightly lit streets, huge Christmas trees, and multiple Santas.
One tradition that’s kept alive by the native Goans to this day is the burning of an old man. This tradition is carried out by first building an effigy of an old man, which signifies the passing year, with hay and clothes, and then burning this as the night falls. The burning of the old man signifies the burning of all the negativity that one might have experienced in that year. It gives people the opportunity to start the new year with a clean slate. You’ll find many such effigies in the localities you pass by. If you pass one of these effigies as it’s burning, you’ll also find some locals around it dancing and having fun.
This next one has to be one of the most well-known Christmas traditions: to attend the midnight mass. You’ll find nothing but happiness and joy in the church that you choose to visit. The cold weather outside, the happiness of the people, the chorus of the choir, and the churches with their beauty will pretty much fill you with a sense of calm and happiness. Since this happens on the night of Christmas, it might be a great way for you to kick off your new year celebrations!
These things you see, the smells you smell, and the Christmas carols you hear will instantaneously take you to a Goa that is much more traditional, calm, and innocent than you would imagine. This different vibe that Christmas creates heavily overflows into the new year celebrations, too. There's no doubt about the fact that experiencing new year in Goa is beyond comparison. And all of this makes it a holistic holiday experience.
If you want to do something very different that’s exclusive to Goa, there’s still a lot that happens around new year. In fact, these things might be the best way to welcome the new year!
A visit to the many night markets or flea markets will prove that point. Yes, both of these markets are held in Goa throughout the year. However, they go up in numbers and in presence during the new year celebrations. There are local DJs playing some great music for you while you dance, eat, drink, or shop! The shops in these markets will give you great bargains on hippy clothing, accessories, trinkets, souvenirs, and the likes. There’s a Saturday night market in Arpora, one in Baga, and a flea market in Anjuna. These are the markets that should be on your list if you choose to go to one.
In mid-December, Goa also sees the arrival of Olive Ridley turtles. They come to the beaches of Goa to build their nests and lay eggs. The turtles then stay with their eggs until they hatch. After which, the turtles along with their babies return to the sea. You’ll see this phenomenon happening at Morjim, Galgibag, and Agonda. However, if you’re lucky, these turtles might also visit Arambol, Ashvem, and Palolem beaches. Now, what better way to start a new year than to do so by witnessing the beginning of multiple new lives, don’t you think?
If you’re a nature lover, there might be something else for you. In December every year, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Charao Island sees an influx of migratory birds, which are an addition to the resident domestic birds here. Regardless of the origin, you might want to go here to see the skies turn colorful with birds from all over the world coming In to wish you a happy new year!
No experience can ever be complete without the mention of food. And when in Goa during the new year, you have to relish the local dishes to treat your tastebuds. You should absolutely not miss out on the bakeries around this time.
There are a lot of Christmas delicacies like dodol, bebinca, kulkuls, bath, and neureos that you’ll only be able to buy when they are steamy-hot out of the oven. Mostly because they’ll get sold out even before they go cold. If you want to try the absolute best versions of these delicacies, visit St. Joseph’s Bakery in Panjim and Mapusa, and La Confiserie Bakery in Candolim. We’re willing to bet you’ll visit these bakeries more than once!
It’s Goa, and you’re visiting during the new year. There are going to be some of the most insane parties and music fests that you’ll get to witness, along with a crowd that has people from all over the world! In fact, Goa has figured out parties to such an extent that there are types to choose from. Here are the ones that made it to the top of our list:
This might be the second-most well-known event that’s held in Goa during the new year, closely following Sunburn. This event boasts of some of the craziest DJs and spin masters like DJ Tristan, Avalon, Zen Mechanics, and musicians like Ajja. If you’re a party animal dancing until the dawn sets in, this might be the party for you.
Location: Small Vagator
Price: INR 2,000
Timeout 72 is a name that’s to the point. This is a relatively new music festival that goes on continuously for two days and three nights. This 72-hour long party also boasts of some of the biggest names in the music industry like Jason Derulo and Wiz Khalifa. Think you have what it takes? Try and keep up with the craziness of this party!
Location: Small Vagator
Price: INR 200 to INR 15,000
The beach party is a yearly ritual at the beach in Anjuna. While it may have had a humble start, this party keeps on becoming bigger and bigger, every coming year! You’ll have everything from famous music artists playing their best tunes to essentially another market selling everything from accessories to food.
Location: Anjuna Beach
Price: INR 299 to INR 1,999
This has to be one of the craziest new year parties in Goa. You have to book the tickets online and prepare for an island party. The catch is, the location and name of that island are kept a secret until it’s time to get there. Once you get there though, you have non-stop food, booze, music, and dance! Don’t miss out on the passes, though. This is an invite-only event that’s pretty strict.
Price: INR 3,000
Regardless of whether you’re a party person or more of an explorer, we suggest booking your stay in a mom-and-pop run guesthouse. That way you’ll have the liberty to do whatever you feel like while also getting a homely feel. To add to it, if the mom and pop running the place are around, you might also get to experience the spirit of Christmas in this Portuguese party-state first-hand.
After all of that, it’s safe to say that Goa has enough things going on around Christmas and new year to excite all kinds of people. Experiencing Goa during the new year will totally be worth your time and resources. With so many things to explore, you might just have to spend many of your Christmases and new years here in order to experience them all. If you’re yet to finally make your Goa plan come true, now you know which is the best time to fully enjoy the Rome of East!
Which Location Is Best To Stay In Goa?
The most popular place for tourists to stay in Goa is the Calangute-Candolim stretch. There are many guesthouses and hotels in this stretch, some of which have great access to the beaches.
Where Is The Best New Year Party In Goa?
The title of the best new year party in Goa has been long in competition between Hill Top, Vagator, and Sunburn. Depending on which one suits your liking best, might just be the best for you!
Is Goa Expensive In December?
Goa is known for its new year parties. Due to this, it gets its maximum crowd in the month of December itself, making it the peak tourist season for the state. Due to the high demand, prices go up significantly.
How Is Goa In December?
Goa is relatively chilly in the month of December, with temperatures frequently touching 20°C.
Is Goa Too Crowded In December?
Given the fact that December is the peak season for the state of Goa, it does tend to get crowded. However, the crowds are generally concentrated to the North of the state, making South Goa an easy escape.
Is Christmas A Good Time To Visit Goa?
Yes. Other than the crowds and high prices, there is nothing but praise for Goa during Christmas. The influence of Portuguese culture is seen in the celebrations and if you manage to make friends with a few locals, you’ll be welcomed into a feeling of homeliness, letting you experience Christmas in an entirely different way.
Is Goa Safe In New Year?
In some parts of Goa spending New Years is not safe, you have to do thorough research on places to celebrate New Years in Goa.
Which Beach Is Best For New Year In Goa?
Beaches like Benaulim beach, Palolem beach, Calangute/Baga Beach, and Ashwem beach are favourite spots to spend New Years Eve in Goa.