Viva Sao Joao !

Summer is gone and the rains come along, there is a reason to jump in the water. Because, the feast of St. John the baptist (Sao joao) could be it. One of the famous christian feasts in the state.

The feast of St. John the baptist is celebrated by goans. By jumping into well to retrieve gifts thrown in by villagers. Sao joao or St. john the Baptist baptized jesus in the river Jordan. The jump into the well is to signify the joy felt by John, when he sensed the presence of jesus christ even while he was in his mother’s womb. 

A picture showcasing the Sao joao feast being celebrated by goans.

Kids wear crown made of flowers and leaves. These form the highlight of San Joao.The traditions followed are so fascinating that one cannot help but participate in it. On this day, people of all ages jump into well, streams and ponds. This is done with the spirit after imbibing Goa’s famous liquor ‘feni’ and singing the song ‘viva sao joao’. Youngster’s takes part in procession from door to door and collect liquor and fruits. They then offer their prayers and collectibles in a water body in their town. Newly married women throw flowers, vegetables and seasonal fruits in the water to fulfil their wishes. Many other youths then jump into the water to collect them.

The highlight of the day is the ‘sangodd’. A decorated floating platform, on which people parade singing mandos and religious hymns. The sangodds are uniquely decorated. The members of that sangodd wear a uniform dress to distinguish themselves from the groups. This is also a time to celebrate one’s spirit of adventure. Youngsters participate in number of competitions, some of the beings the siolim boat parade, prizes for headgears, décor and costumes. People wear headgears or crowns made up of tender coconut leaves or flowers known as ‘copel’. Lively music is played on the ghumot (goan musical percussion instrument) and kansallem (cymbals).

Fruits arranged in homes to celebrate the feast of St. John the Baptist in Goa. In the village of benaulim- south goa, which has the church of Saint John the Baptist, there is a 9 day novena before the feast day.

On the feast day itself, there are football matches, singing and dancing. Apart from the gastronomical delights of traditional goan food which includes sorpotel and sannas, feijoadas, sausage pulao among other foods and plenty of feni to go around and camaraderie to top it all off. People gather together to have fun and enjoy good company.

Locals celebrating Sao Joao (the feast of St. John the baptist) by playing instruments and dancing to Goan folk music. Sao joao, like any other goan festival has the captivating spirit and merriment, colour and tradition. There is so much good energy travelling around with all the happiness and laughters. It is truly something hard to miss when you are around in Goa! And for youngsters who think all this is such a bore, there is always parties that they can attend!