International Dance Day: Heard of these popular folk dances of Goa?

For a state that’s known for its dance party scene, you might be surprised to learn that many folk dances have been a part of Goa’s culture long before it became a tourist destination
A dance performed by the 'Dhangar' community of Goa
A dance performed by the 'Dhangar' community of GoaGomantak Times

Goa has a rich culture and traditions. And, dance forms an inseparable element of any culture. While many popular dances of Goa are ages-old, the influence of the Portuguese can also be found occasionally. Here are a few popular folk dance forms of Goa.


The Dekhni is a popular folk dance, and is performed by women only. It is a mix of folk culture and Western music, to the accompaniment of the ghumot, and the dancers carry small clay lamps. Hanv Saiba Poltoddi Vetam is perhaps the most well-known Dekhni song.


The Dhalo dance is associated with the fertility of the earth and is a women-only dance. The dancers arrange themselves in two parallel rows facing each other, and dance around a heap of mud, which symbolizes Mother Earth. This slow dance is performed on the moonlit night of the Hindu Pausha month.

A dance performed by Goa's 'Kunbi' community
A dance performed by Goa's 'Kunbi' communityGomantak Times


This dance is performed by the Dhangar community during Dussera, and is accompanied by the slow beats of the dhol. The Dhangars are a shepherd community, believed to have migrated from South Gujarat and settled in Goa. Their traditional songs centre on the love story of the Hindu god, Krishna, and his beloved, Radha. The white dress and turban indicates the ancestral lineage of the community.


This is a group dance for women. There is no instrument or musical accompaniment, except for special Fugdi songs, revolving around family life, rivalries or people.


The Zagor of Siolim is performed on the first Monday of Christmas.


Kunbis are the earliest settlers of Goa. Their songs and dance belong to the pre-Portuguese era, and are social and not religious.


The first Mando is believed to have been written around 1840. Mandos are not traditional folk songs, but have the original nature of folk songs from Goa, and have blended with the music brought in by the Portuguese.

The Mando is very popular among Goa’s Catholics. Back in the day, Mando singer was specially invited for weddings or other occasions, where he would compose special Mandos in honour of the bridal couple, whose qualities would be described in detail in the Mando.

A dance performed by the 'Dhangar' community of Goa
Do you know these dances of ‘Shigmo’?

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