A local guide to the must visit churches of Goa.
The Yule Tide is beckoning and with Christmas around the corner, festivities are in the air! The most wonderful time of the year is celebrated with pomp and splendor in the Coastal Goan regions, and every soul is in festive mode, ready to bring in the holiday season!
When touring Goa one can hardly miss the armada of quaint churches and chapels scattered across the countryside, small peaceful havens with white steeples and large, welcoming courtyards that have formed the center of communal festivity for centuries. This time of the year, you cannot miss out on visiting these beautiful historic structures, all decked up for Christmas with weekly feasts and festivities planned to celebrate the holidays! We have put together a list of some of the best events you can attend, at beautiful churches and chapels in the area, that make a truly memorable visit any time of the year.
First up is the Our Lady of Remedios Church, Betalbatim, located a short 500 m walk from Jasminn South Goa.
This beautiful Church is well maintained, with whitewashed walls and immaculate grounds surrounding the complex, perfect for a peaceful afternoon visit. The small, ornate graveyard a couple hundred yards down the road gives you another tranquil peek into the history of the locale. The annual church feast held here on the 3rd Sunday of January is a grand and indulgent affair, definitely worth experiencing!
Next, we have the Mother of God Church, Majorda, a 3 km drive from Jasminn South Goa. This grand historical monument was founded in May, 1588 when the foundation stone was laid. History has it that the Church was set on fire during an invasion in 1738. It was reconstructed the following year.
There are two notable feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated in Majorda which are the Mother of God feast on the First Sunday of May and Boa Morte (Good Death) on the first Sunday of October.
Coming to the next must-visit on our list- Our Lady of Merces Church, Colva, a 2 km drive from Jasminn South Goa. Initially founded as a chapel in 1630, this historic church greatly venerates Infant Jesus with great devotion and reverence.
The Feast of Infant Jesus, commonly known as The Fama, is celebrated here with much devotion on the second Monday of October. The Fama marks the beginning of the novenas leading up to feast day. Legend states that the statue of Infant Jesus situated here was found off the coast of Mozambique in the 17th century by some shipwrecked sailors led by a Jesuit missionary. The second annual event- Our Lady of Merces feast is celebrated on the Sunday following 8th September
Another great annual festivity is the The Three Kings Feast at St. Thomas Church, Cansaulim- around 6 km from Jasminn South Goa.
The feast of the Three Kings commemorates the adoration by the Three Magi at the feet of Baby Jesus. It is usually celebrated on the first Sunday in January. This festival is a flamboyant affair, marked with grand processions and the crowning of three kings from the three villages, who are then escorted with pomp and fervor to the church on Remedios hill. It is a memorable event, definitely worth witnessing first-hand.
Should you find yourself traversing through the ambling lanes and quaint streets of Old Goa these holidays, then you cannot miss out on The St. Francis Xavier Feast, one of the most popular annual events in Goa just a 45 min drive from Jasminn South Goa , and 25 mins away from our new hotel- Jasminn Casa Laguna in Miramar, Panjim.
Held in homage to the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier, this feast is one of the grandest celebrations in the state. Every year from the 21st of November to 2nd January, believers from across the globe come together on 3rd December to celebrate the death anniversary of their revered saint.
One of the most breath-taking tourist spots in Goa- The Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the silver casket that till date shelters the mortal remains of the saint. Planning this stop into your itinerary gives you the ideal opportunity to be part of a religious festival and witness the extravagant carnival.
There you have it! Some of the grandest and most notable churches and fests in North Goa for you to visit, to add some historic exploration and grand religious festivities to your trip. Happy Holidays!