Goa has a history of communal harmony, but is mainly split between Christianity and Hinduism.
The most popular celebrations in the Indian state of Goa are Ganesh Chaturthi (Konkani: Chavoth), Diwali, Christmas (Konkani: Natalam), Easter (Konkani: Paskanchem Fest), Samvatsar Padvo or Sanvsar Padvo, Shigmo, Goa Carnival, (Konkani: Carnaval or Intruz) Sao Jao (Feast of John the Baptist) and the biggest feast, Feast of St. Francis Xavier (Goicho Saib). Goa is also known for its New Year’s celebrations. The Goan Carnival is known to attract a large number of tourists.
Rice with fish curry (Xit kodi in Konkani) is the staple diet in Goa. Goan cuisine is renowned for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used in Goan cooking along with chili peppers, spices and vinegar giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among the Catholics. An exotic Goan vegetable stew, known as Khatkhate, is a very popular dish during the celebrations of festivals, Hindu and Christian alike. Khatkhate contains at least five vegetables, fresh coconut, and special Goan spices that add to the aroma. A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known as bebinca is a favourite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni; Cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy palms.
Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually St.Joseph Vaz). Once every ten years, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing. The last such event was conducted in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture.
Football is the most popular sport in Goa, followed by hockey. Cricket, athletics, chess, swimming, table tennis and basketball are other popular sports in Goa. Fishing is also a popular recreational activity.
Goan Hindus are very fond of Natak, Bhajan and Kirtan. Many famous Indian Classical singers hail from Goa, such as, Kishori Amonkar, Kesarbai Kerkar, Jitendra Abhisheki, Prabhakar Karekar.
Some traditional Goan dance forms are dekhnni, fugdi, corridinho and dashavatara. Western social dancing is a part of most celebrations.