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A Goan Easter

Easter Castle At Goa Marriott


Tears Dried, Let the Fun Begin !

After the pain, comes the pleasure! Two days after Catholics in Goa mourn the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in their most solemn holiday of the year, they’ll be digging into succulent slices of turkey or roast suckling pigs to celebrate His resurrection. This is the joy of Easter, the promise of renewal.

It all starts after the carnival when Lent – commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent doing penance in the desert – kicks in. Those 40 days when you’re not supposed to drink alcohol or eat fancy foods, concludes with Easter celebrations after the Holy Week. With Friday being the Good Friday holiday, it’s going to be one long celebratory weekend for those holidaying in Goa, though many Goans themselves will only start partying after attending Easter Mass on Sunday.

As with other Christian festivals in Goa, there will be at least two Easters celebrated here –  one for Goans and another for tourists. And then a few days later, visiting Russians (yes, the tourist high season is ending, but you’d be surprised at how many Russians are still here) will celebrate their own Easter, as per the Orthodox calendar.

So how are Goans celebrating Easter this year? Margaret, a housewife from Candolim, says she will visit relatives and bring them sweets, but lunch will be at home. After that, the whole family might go out in the evening for a community event. The sweets will include Easter eggs and a selection of Goan Easter favourites.

Anybody can give Easter eggs or receive them, not just Christians. With Goa an undisputed party spot cutting across religions, many non-Christians have also taken to giving gifts of Easter eggs, which are symbolic of rebirth. Kamal, a hotelier based in Calangute, says he has made it an annual tradition to present Easter eggs to all his close pals. “It’s a very cool way to win friends and influence people,” he grins, much like giving Christmas presents. Many of the resorts also present their guests with complimentary Easter eggs.

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Another Goan tradition is gifting hot-cross buns. While many nowadays go in for the fancy stuff like blueberry cakes, Goan favourites like bebinca and ‘bolo sans rival’ are still preferred by the tradition-minded Goans, and many of the shelves in bakery shops will be groaning under the weight of these overstocked goodies.

A new trend is the hosting of events like Easter eggs painting contests. Pastry Cottage at Campal in Panjim is holding one on Easter day, but it’s only for children. But if you’re an adult, stay in the Socorro area, and if you want to get into the Goan Easter spirit, you could try the community event ‘Easter Parade 2014’ organized by the Socorro parish. It’s going to be a grand celebration of Goan culture featuring local talent, dances and mimicry, with a life-sized Easter egg – but don’t expect any pretty bunnies to step out of it. There will also be a unique display of ‘Easter fruits and flowers’ – mangoes, cashews, jackfruits, pineapples, jambul, karandas and bougainvilleas.

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Last year many of the local women brought in home-made Goan delicacies which were then distributed free. Revival of the old generous Goan spirit!

A lot of the fun though will start as the sun starts going down and the daytime heat evaporates. That’s when the music begins as Goa gets into the party mood. Just about every party hotspot will have an Easter event, while most Goan clubs will also be hosting their traditional Easter bashes, which are semi-formal events.

Surprisingly, many Goan Catholics – especially men – observe the 40 days of Lent by taking a break from drinking their daily pegs. So on Easter day there is always the danger of them hitting the bottle back with a vengeance, after of course, greeting their fellow Goans with a hug and a kiss on both cheeks, murmuring “Christ has risen!”


Easter Bunnies


Many upper crust Goans will be heading to the five-star resorts for the Easter brunch. The Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and the Marriott are particular favourites for Easter brunch. Many of the five stars promise memorable experiences with sumptuous feasts and fun and games for the little ones. Several of the nightclubs will be hosting Easter bashes as well, including some pool parties and lots of live music.

If you’re in Panjim you could try the Easter Brunch Feast at Chilli n Spice at Hotel Fidalgo with live music and unlimited drinks. Besides their signature dishes, they’re also promising some local Goan Easter favourites.


Easter Festivities


Your regular Goan folk, to be sure, will be finding their way – dressed in all their Easter finery – to the neighbourhood dance floors. In Verna it will be Blueberry Hills. Further south it will be the Rosary grounds in Navelim. Alva Mar banquet lawns in Parra will also be holding an Easter ball, in addition to all the other hundreds of Easter parties throughout Goa.

Happy Easter everyone!