The Sao Joao Celebration in Goa is a wonderful celebration of traditions and beliefs. On this occasion, people take out parades while singing Mando and various religious hymns. People participating in the Sangodd are dressed in a uniform to distinguish them from other groups. This is also the time when one’s adventurous spirit comes to the surface. Several competitions are held to allow the youths to exhibit their talents.
For more information about the Sao Joao festival, read our guide to learn everything that you need to know, including the historical significance of the event, what to eat and where to stay.
Sao Joao is a Catholic festival celebrated in Goa in an unusual manner, with devotees leaping into, and swimming in, domestic drinking water wells, as a form of tribute to St. John the Baptist. This festival is marked by young men in Goa jumping into wells to retrieve the gifts thrown in by the villagers. Held at the beginning of the monsoon season in Goa on the 24th of June, it witnesses people of all ages jumping into wells, ponds and streams.
Colorful boat races are organized in Soilom, a village in North Goa’s Bardez taluka. However, the festival of Sao Joao is not celebrated with the same enthusiasm over all of Goa. In the south, the celebrations take a somber tone. It is celebrated with great fervour and gusto particularly in Siolim, Anjuna, Candolim, Calangute and Assagao.
The Sao Joao festival in Goa 2019 is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, who, according to Christian scriptures, leapt with joy at his mother, Elizabeth’s womb, when she was told of the birth of Christ. John, the Baptist, later went on to baptise Jesus in the river Jordan. The well is considered to be a representation of Elizabeth’s womb and a jump into it a sign of joy for the birth of Christ.
The feast of Catholic priest Saint John the Baptist is celebrated six months before Christmas, that is December 25, which is marked as the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Feni (a spirit produced exclusively in Goa), overflows during the occasion. People, especially newly married couples or those with a new-born gather with a dali and gifts containing seasonal fruits like moussrad mango (a Goan variety of mango), pineapples, jackfruits and a bottle of feni.
It’s also common to find that Goan delicacy called Patoleo in the bride’s basket. This is a sweet made with finely ground rice flour paste which is applied to fragrant leaves that can be as large as a banana leaf. The two sides of the leaf are stuck together after a yummy mixture of freshly scraped coconut and jaggery is filled in the center – the whole leaf and the filling is then steam cooked in a large copper vessel. Sannaas – rice cakes, are another delicacy that you’ll find in the basket.
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On the Sao Joao festival in Goa, the young and old sing and dance to the beat of the ghumot and kansallem, with lovely coronets of seasonal flowers on their heads and drenched to the bone with ‘feni’. If you’re looking for fun and frolic in your summer holidays, look no further than Goa. Come June and it’s Sao Joao on everyone’s lips. Book your trip to Goa with TravelTriangle at the earliest to avail exciting deals and discounts!