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Three clearly visible groups can be distinguished. Approx. 65% of the Goan population are Hindus, about 30% are Catholics, about 5% are Muslims and less than 1% have a different religion. The distribution of religions throughout India is very different: Hindus 80%, Muslims 14%, Christians 2.4%, Sikhs 2%, Buddhists 0.7% and other religions 0.9%.

Catholicism and Hinduism in particular are closely intertwined.

Sri Mangesh temple GoaSri Mangesh temple GoaPhoto: Mangesh Nadkarni CC 3.0 Unported no channges made

In Portuguese times, for example, Goan Hindus switched to Christianity mainly for economic reasons. It even happened that half of a family moved to a Hindu area and the other half to a Christian Portuguese area. That is why the different religions in Goa live together in harmony. The Bible was translated into Konkani in 1616 in the form of a folk tale for the villagers to understand.

Brahmin families who converted to Catholicism were allowed to remain in their caste and maintain their festivals and traditions. To this day, this unique religious mix protects the population from religious disputes. Many religious festivals are therefore celebrated together. The largest Muslim community lives in Ponda, which also houses the largest mosque. For the Hindus in India, the cow is a sacred animal that embodies fertility and food.


Olden, M. / Goa : Hampi, Bombay en Poona

Thomas, B. / Goa
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Last updated June 2024
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