Many people may know Goa for its Portuguese heritage; however, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Having colonized Goa for over 400 years their impressions remain embedded in Goa’s buildings, food choices, and language up to some extent. However, before the colonization, Goa was the land of self-governing bodies, religious practices, and beliefs that were not met with confrontation and an attempt to eradicate them along with unity and a feeling of brotherhood and peace among everyone. There were fishing villages, rich heritage, and culture that majorly consisted of Hindus and other religions living in complete peace. They flourished and became the best shipbuilders in the world while also maintaining overseas foreign trade relations with other countries. Wondering what more this beach destination has to offer in terms of culture? Here is everything you need to know about the culture of Goa.
Goa Culture – Tradition, Heritage & Lifestyle
Local Life in Goa
Tucked away in the western coast of the Indian subcontinent and bounded by the Arabian Sea on one side and the evergreen lush Sahyadri ranges on the other side, the Goan population has adapted to their natural circumstances with ease and comfort. Due to the influence of numerous cultures and with changing times, the people of Goa have become more tolerant, open-minded, and liberal in their mindset. They are always ready to help anyone in need and take life with ease and a positive outlook. There are numerous fishing villages across Goa, other than the popular tourist spots where the locals go deep into the high seas and fish for some amazing and fresh fish. This is one of the most important occupations followed by the local Goans living here for a very long time. Over time, as travel and tourism increased in Goa, the locals adapted to the new and changing times and tourism became a very important source of livelihood.
Food culture in Goa
The food in Goa has a fan following of its own. The food and traditional drinks found here adds on to the vibrant culture here. From vegetarians to traditional non-vegetarian foods the cuisines found here depict the age-old traditions and culture that has been followed as a regular part of the culture here. If you love seafood then Goa is just the place for you. The Goan fish curry with freshly made steamed white rice is a traditional food savoured by locals as well as travelers alike. It goes without saying that freshly caught seafood is the ultimate delicacy and also a source of local livelihood in Goa. The beef and pork roast is especially a specialty served during special occasions like New Year and other festivals. Other than seafood, you can try the famous Feni Drink made out of fermented cashews; Bebinca Sweet Dessert and Khatkhate are extremely famous.
Handicrafts and art in Goa
Years of oppression and centuries of flourishing civilization and culture have revealed a plethora of handicrafts and arts. The Goan history is best depicted through its various art forms. You can piece together the turbulent past go Goa by simply observing their art, handicrafts, and other art styles and depictions. If you are looking to take back home a piece of Goa with you then there is no dearth of colorful souvenirs for you to choose from. These include intricate, colorful and finely carved out wooden carvings, Wooden Lacquerware, and bamboo and paper Mache crafts among others. The locals also believe in making use of the organic natural products found in Goa. They repurpose seashells and coconut shells in the form of various trinkets, colorful jewelry, and decorative products. Other popular products to shop for include pottery and terracotta products, brass and Metalware, crochet and embroidered products, and Fibre crafts.
Literature and language in Goa
Goa is the tiniest state in India but it has a massive and an astounding number of publications, literature forms, and language types found here allowing the wide diaspora of people residing here who get their writings published in various languages. Some of the most notable writers from Goa are Laxmanrao Sardessai and RV Pandit who wrote poetry and prose in languages like Marathi, Konkani, and Portuguese. Another notable personality to contribute towards the literary culture of Goa is Shenoi Goembab whose contribution established Konkani as a modern literary language in Goa. Ravindra Kelekar is another important name in Goan literature who is responsible for writing the 20th century’s most important Konkani literature. Did you know that Goa was the first place in entire Asia to have a printing press that dates back to the 15th century?
Traditional architecture in Goa
Traditional Goan architecture is very unique in style and vibrancy while it also uses typical traditional raw materials for construction purposes. They seem to have a personality and a language of their own which is depicted through traditional artistic styles and usage of local and indigenous products. Traditionally when the local people of Goa make the house they use a combination of laterite, stone, wood, metal, and tiles of different stylish and artistic patterns and whimsical cal styles that makes every house look different and unique from the other. Ornamentation of houses has always been a major focal point in building these houses and it has also evolved over time. Some salient features of a typical Goan house are the mother of pearl shell window, distinct cornices, clay and heritage tiles, compound walls, gateposts, pillars, porcelain works, and finally the use of distinct, vibrant, and bold colors that makes each house stand out.
The culture of Goa has more to it than what meets the eye. Besides the years of oppression, it has always been a cultural hub, a place of peace, harmony, and brotherhood. A place where various religions coexisted in mutual love and respect for one another. All this is clearly depicted through their wonderfully elaborate and wholesome culture and traditional practices that persist to this day.