[I]f you’re tired of yet another dreary December, consider asking Santa for a summer sea change this year. If you’re looking for those picture-perfect beaches (minus the luxury resort price tag), then the tiny state of Goa should go straight to the top of your Christmas wish list.
So, what’s so special about Goa, I hear you ask? Situated on the west coast of India, this bubbling hotspot boasts not only 70km of sun, sand and sea, but also a diverse cultural Christmas hub thanks to its rich Portuguese heritage.
December marks the city’s peak holiday season, and as the 25th creeps up the calendar, Goa gets right into the festive spirit with beaches and bars overflowing with Christmas cheer.
A former Portuguese colony, Goa is the only Christian state in India – meaning Christmas is one of the most important festivals of the year. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly getaway or simply some fun in the sun, Christmas in Goa is a definite must-see event.
A heady combination of tropical paradise and the Western world, it’s definitely not what you might expect to find in India (unless you’re accustomed to seeing candy canes line up along the beachside shacks and Santa surf a few waves before packing his sleigh).
So if you want to catch all the Christmas action, head to Goa at least a week before the 25th.
From mid-December onwards, local families take Christmas trimmings to a whole new level – colourful paper and poinsettias transform boring brick homes into rainbows of festive shades, while Christmas trees take pride of place around the town, decorated from tip to trunk with everything from cotton flakes and sparkling stars to cakes and even socks.
Churches play host to detailed nativity scenes, while the town buildings are all lit up with sparkly tinsel and bright fairy lights.
As you start to count down the sleeps until Santa comes your way, make sure to get involved in one of the many street parties – check out local notice boards for small, celebratory get-togethers in clubs, bars and local organisations.
The Goans love their whiskey, so grab a bottle and come ready to eat, drink and be merry until the early hours of the morning.
Save some festive spirit for the all-important Christmas Eve. On the 24th, follow the crowds of Catholics and head down to the traditional midnight mass, Missa de Galo.
You’ll need to save room in your pack for some good clothes – you’ll find yourself surrounded by suits and sequins so respect the customs and dress up as much as possible.
As Christmas Day dawns, head down to the beaches for more partying. Old-fashioned Goans will celebrate with their families, but the bars and clubs are still open for plentiful business, with drinks at the ready and the music pumping.
Dubbed the ‘sunburn festival’, make sure you’re prepared with the SPF for one sizzling hot Christmas season. And the best part is, Boxing Day is all about recovery. Spend the next day relaxing in a palm-covered hammock – you are on holiday after all.
Now doesn’t that sound better than huddling around the fireplace and overdosing on plum pudding?
About the Author: This post was written by Kimberlee Oo, writing on behalf of Cosmos holidays, and letting you in on why you need to get going on your Goa holiday to have yourself one very merry little Christmas.