Goa is often misunderstood as having a Catholic majority, perhaps because Christianity has had so predominant an influence on its history, culture and architecture. In fact, around 65% of Goans are Hindus, 26% are Christians while around 6% are Muslims.
The geographical relationship with religion remains: Hindus are spread across the interior inland talukas: Pernem, Bicholim, Satari, Ponda, Sanguem, Quepem, Canacona and the far north of the state; while Christians tend to reside in the coastal regions, particularly in the central talukas: Tiswadi, Mormugao, Bardez and Salcete. The largest Muslim community is in Ponda, where the state’s oldest mosque is located.
The most widely used languages are Konkani, Marathi and English. Konkani is the primary spoken language; Marathi and English are used for literary, educational and some official purposes. Other languages in wide use include Hindi and Portuguese. Portuguese, the language of the colonial elite, is used by an ever shrinking number of people.
The Goa, Daman and Diu Official Language Act, 1987 makes Konkani in the Devanagari script the sole official language of Goa, but provides that Marathi may also be used "for all or any of the official purposes". The Government also has a policy of replying in Marathi to correspondence received in Marathi. However, whilst there have been demands for according Marathi and Konkani in Roman script co-equal status in the state, Konkani remains the sole official language.
Dance and music
Revelry, music and dance flow through the blood of the Goan community. As a result of 450 years of colonization by the Portuguese, Goan music has evolved to a form that is quite different from traditional Indian music. This historic amalgamation from the East and West has produced some of India’s best artistes such as Lata Mangueshkar and Remo Fernandes. While Lata Mangueskar has brought classical Indian music to the world, Remo has succeeded in bringing a unique blend of Indo-Western pop.
The most popular forms of post-Portuguese music were the mando and the dulpod, whilst dekhni is one of the most well-known forms of dance.
Goan folk music has a lively rhythm and the folk-dances a rugged vitality. The musical accompaniment for both folk songs and the folk dances is provided by a diversity of musical instruments – Ghumats, Dhols, Cymbals (Drums), Flutes, Harmonium, Violins and Guitars. The favorite, however, seems to be the Ghumat.
The innumerable folk dances and forms encountered in Goa include Talgadi, Goff, Tonya Mel, Mando, Kunbi dance, Suvari, Dasarawadan, Virabhadra, Hanpeth, Gauda jagar, Ranmale, Fugadi, Corridinho, Ghode Modni, Lamp Dance, Musal Dance, Romat or Mell, Morullem, Bhandap, Dhangar Dance, Dekhni and Dhalo.
Goan Hindus are very fond of Natak, Bhajan and Kirtan.
Many famous Indian Classical singers hail from Goa, including Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishori Amonkar, Kesarbai Kerkar, Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Prabhakar Karekar.