I have found that nobody can celebrate festivals like the Goans do! Scores of festivals are celebrated in Goa all year round, with great enthusiasm. This part of Southern India is like no other, it has a rich cultural and traditional history with a kaleidoscope of festivals
I have heard stories from my grandfather on how the Portuguese influenced Goa when it was under the Portugal rule for many years. This also has resulted in tolerance to different religions. Goa celebrates Hindu, Muslim and Christian festivals. People from all walks of life irrespective of one’s religious belief participate in these festivals celebrated in Goa. I found that the environment of happiness is infectious. It’s great to be around people who love celebrating ☺
Among the festivals of Goa, some are saturated in religious undertones while the others are expressions of the fun-loving nature of the people. One such religious festival is the “Igitun Chalne festival” which falls in the month of May.
This is a fun-filled festival held at the Sirigao temple in North Goa. Sirigao is a small village near Bicholim which has become famous for its temple of the goddess Lahrai and the festival of Igitun Chalne. This means walking on the burning coal or rather in my case, just witnessing the event.
I have heard that according to legend, Goddess Lahrai with her six sisters and one brother arrived in Goa from Bengal. They stayed at different places in Goa. For example, the eldest sister stayed in Mayem, Sirigao is where the second in line stayed and the third settled at Mulgao. These sisters used to send a gift of a pot every year to the prime goddess Lahrai. This trend was continued for many years.
During the Igitun Chalne festival held at the Lahrai Devi temple in Sirigao, many devotees from these regions nearby gather to celebrate the festival of this deity. Along with the devotees, many tourists( like me) also get in on the action and throng the village to watch the ritual in which the devotees walk on burning coal to show their affection and devotion towards the deity.
Summers in Goa are the apt time to witness such unique festivals as you can also visit the beaches when you’re not soaking in the culture! 😉