Christmas in Goa – Rituals of the Goan Christmas

Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Augustin Fernandes

 Christmas in Goa

In Goa Christmas is one of the most important festivals that is celebrated by People from all the communities  with a while lot of enthusiasm. Midnight Mass is a popular tradition during Christmas in Goa.

Goa is the best destination in India for tourists that are looking to celebrate Christmas away from home. Goa is one of the premium and most exciting places to celebrate the festival of Christmas.

Spending time in Goa during the Christmas time of year will surely make your Christmas the most cherished one of your life.

Christmas in Goa is celebrated with vibrant decorations, midnight Mass in beautifully illuminated churches, joyful caroling, and feasting on traditional dishes like sorpotel and bebinca.

What is Christmas

Christmas is an annual festival celebrated by billions of people around the world. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ and is primarily observed on December 25th.

The holiday is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike, with many customs and traditions that vary by country and culture.

Some of the most common customs include gift-giving, family gatherings, and symbolic decoration

Rituals of the Goan Christmas

During Christmas time, village groups located all across Goa gather together along with many children and a person dressed as Santa too!

These groups go around the village with a box in order to raise funds. These funds are normally contributed towards a meal for the poor or orphans. 

Live Cribs

Live cribs with carol singing filled with joy go around the villages spreading the merry of Christmas. People from all religious communities in all over Goa take part in the celebration. 

A “Live Crib” is a theatrical representation of the biblical nativity scene, where actors, often local volunteers and community members, dress as characters from the Christmas story.

The scene typically includes Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the Three Wise Men, angels, and the baby Jesus in the manger.

These actors reenact the story of the birth of Jesus, often accompanied by singing and traditional Christmas carols.

Goan Christmas sweets

Christmas in Goa is a time of joy, togetherness, and feasting, and these traditional sweets play a significant role in spreading the festive cheer.

Here are some of the most beloved Goan Christmas sweets:


Neureos are a true Christmas classic in Goa. These half-moon-shaped, deep-fried pastries are filled with a sweet mixture of grated coconut, semolina, and nuts.

They are often flavored with cardamom and a hint of nutmeg, making them both crunchy and aromatic.


Bebinca is the queen of Goan desserts. This multi-layered, baked pudding is made from coconut milk, sugar, and ghee.

The best Bebinca is rich and creamy with a lovely caramelized top.

It’s a must-try for anyone looking to indulge in the flavors of Goa during Christmas.


Dodol is a sticky, sweet toffee-like treat. Made from coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour, Dodol is cooked until it thickens and acquires a unique texture.

It’s often garnished with cashew nuts and is a beloved sweet during the festive season.


Kulkuls are deep-fried, curls or twists of dough that resemble tiny shells. The dough is usually made with all-purpose flour, sugar, and a touch of coconut milk.

Kulkuls are a delightful sweet snack that can be found in every Goan household during Christmas.

Guava Cheese:

Guava Cheese, also known as “Perad,” is a sweet delicacy made from ripe guavas, sugar, and sometimes a hint of spices like cinnamon.

It’s cooked until it solidifies, and then it’s cut into squares or diamond shapes.


Nankhatai are buttery, crumbly biscuits that are flavored with cardamom.

While they are not exclusive to Christmas, they are commonly prepared and enjoyed during the festive season.

Baath Cake:

The Baath Cake is a moist, semolina and coconut cake that’s enriched with eggs, ghee, and sugar.

It’s a delightful sweet treat that often appears on Goan Christmas dessert tables.


Batica is a rich, dense cake made with ingredients like semolina, all-purpose flour, eggs, sugar, and butter.

It’s often flavored with a hint of vanilla and sometimes even has a chocolate layer in the middle.


Sannas are steamed, spongy rice cakes, and while they are more commonly associated with Goan cuisine as a whole, they are often served alongside Christmas meals.

They have a slightly sweet flavor due to the addition of coconut milk.

These sweets are traditionally made at home and sent to relatives and friends during the Christmas week. 

Christmas Cribs

Families also make very decorative Cribs, which are well lit up along with stars across their front entrance. This all adds up to a wonderful celebration.

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Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

Midnight Mass is a popular Christmas tradition in Goa during Christmas Eve. With almost 400 churches in Goa, people can easily attend a Mass at one of the churches on Christmas eve.

Nothing gives a satisfying feeling than saying a prayer at Basilica of Bom Jesus – one of India’s oldest churches.

Goa is the perfect place to relish the Christmas festivities. With hymns and Carols all around, you can perfectly make the most of the festive season.

Midnight Mass proceedings usually start by 10 pm it is advisable to grab a seat at the church in advance.

Christmas Celebrations in Goa

The activities in Goa to celebrate Christmas begin from Christmas Eve when the lovely congruity and tune of the Christmas songs sung all around Goa puts one in a cheery mindset.

There are parties all over Goa that begin in the night and continue till the wee hours in the morning. 

Parties are usually done after midnight mass which is held at 11:00pm on the eve of Christmas.

Another widespread ritual conducted by Goans during the Christmas season is the tradition of burning the old man.

This is a tradition on New Year Eve where a group of friend or family burn an old man made of hay and straw and newspaper.

This ritual is carried out to burn out your old demons so that you can start a fresh new year being a fresh new person.

Christmas Eve Dance

There are lots of night dances held across Goa on Christmas Eve. Lawns such as Emerald Lawns that people gather and dance under the stars.

On a regular day, especially during December, Goa is lit with party lovers rocking the dance floor. What’s special during Christmas is the exciting vibes, great bonhomie, and sparkling decorations around.

The trance party, techno parties, and rave party in places like Vagator and Anjuna are a must-attend in Goa on a special occasion.

Jive, waltz or fox-trot to the local bands would compel you to sway to their tunes. Those retro numbers and Konkani numbers are just too good for the grand occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas In Goa

What is there to do in Goa in December?

Celebration of X’mas, New Years and other parties like sunburn and supersonic are very popular celebrations here in Goa.

Which clothes to wear in Goa in December?

You can wear whatever you want depending on location and occasion.

How Christmas is celebrated in Goa?

Live cribs with carol singing filled with joy go around the villages spreading the merry of Christmas.

Also there are lots of night dances held across Goa on Christmas Eve. Lawns such as Emerald Lawns that people gather and dance under the stars.

What is the weather like in Goa at Christmas?

The cool atmosphere during the December also allows tourists to enjoy some site seeing around Goa without sweating too much. So December is best time to visit Goa for party lover and festal celebration.

Is Goa expensive in December?

Yes, Hotels are very expensive during December.


Goa lights up to its fullest brightest self during December. The stars, the Christmas trees, the homemade chocolate, the buzz, and the jazz all add up to a wonderful feeling as you come to Goa during the Christmas week!  

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