Goa Festival Celebrates Unique Heritage in Ontario

Photos courtesy: The Goan Overseas Association Toronto


 There’s nothing like summer in Ontario. Summer festivals galore celebrate a multitude of cultures, cities and countries from which Ontarians stake their heritage. And one of these magnificent events is the Viva Goa Festival – celebrating the unique culture, music and cuisine of Goa, one of the smallest of India’s 29 states.

Nestled on India’s west coast, Goa is known for its iconic palm fringed beaches, natural beauty, music, architecture, art, delectable cuisine, hospitality and its easy-paced living or ‘susegado’ lifestyle – all of which are an intricate lattice of its 456 years of Portuguese colonial influence fused with its local pre-colonial heritage.

Viva Goa, an annual event organized by the Goan Overseas Association Toronto (www.goatoronto.com), will take place on August 6th, 2016, at the Croatian Recreational Park (4525 Mississauga Road, ON), 11am to 7pm. As a visitor, you will get a sampling of all things Goan. Well, almost everything – no promises of palm-fringed beaches here, of course. The popular festival attracted over 2000 visitors last year and is estimated to attract twice as many this year.

Perfect for family and friends, it’s an afternoon of great music and cultural performances featuring international singers, musicians and community members of all ages performing traditional Goan dances like the Dekhni and Lances. A special area is designated for children’s activities. And as is popular in Goa, a friendly, yet fiercely competitive, inter-village soccer tournament will be hosted.

Photos courtesy: The Goan Overseas Association Toronto

Photos courtesy: The Goan Overseas Association Toronto

A walk through the Goan Market Bazaar featuring over 25 Goan businesses where you can pick up some mouth-watering delicacies like pickled foods (made with mangoes, vegetables, meats or seafood) or sweets, Goan books and literature and cultural artifacts.

What everyone looks forward to is catching up with friends and enjoying the traditional Goan foods served at over 10 food kiosks. You’ll know where the best food is quite easily – they have the longest line-ups for a rewarding plate of ‘sorpotel and sannas’ (a spicy pork preparation with Goan rice cakes), the famous Goan fish curry and rice, Goa sausage on a bun, fish and meat cutlet sliders, green chutney sandwiches. Mmmmm. And other goodies that you won’t mind queuing up for.

Mark your calendars. Bring your picnic gear. And enjoy a day of Goa.