Lairai Jatra is a major festival of Goa
celebrated in the early part of May. It is a Hindu temple festival attended by thousands of devotees. This festival has special significance in Shirago, a small town near Bicholim
. During the festival, devotees of Devi Lairai offer religious rituals and pujas
to the goddess and the event continues throughout the day. Devotees come from every nook and corner of the region, and the tribal communities of Shirago also celebrate the festival with much pomp and merriment. Devotees usually carry a 6 ft long stick and jasmine flower garlands. Rhythmic, vivacious dances are performed to the accompaniment of drums. Around midnight a specially chosen person approaches the wooden pile and lights a huge bonfire with a burning torch. This ceremony is the most spectacular part of the festival. In the early morning, some of the devotees, carrying their long sticks, walk through the hot coals loudly chanting the name of Devi Lairai.