Sao Joao Festival
Sao Joao festival is immensely popular in North Goa and is celebrated with amazing enthusiasm and gusto. The festival 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.
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, it witnesses people of all ages jumping into wells, ponds and streams. Feni (a spirit produced exclusively in Goa), overflows during the occasion. 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, while in the North, particularly Siolim, Anjuna, Candolim, Calangute and Assagao, celebrations are accompanied by celebrations and merriment.
The main feast day commences with the villagers taking a plunge into the village wells singing the “San Joao”. The main attraction of the day is Sangodd. 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. People who have recently got married or blessed with a new-born gather with the dali along with seasonal fruits like jackfruits, pineapples and a bottle of feni.
The Sao Joao festival is a wonderful celebration of traditions and beliefs. It’s another example of the fun-loving nature of the people and their readiness to sing, dance and make merry.
Why is the Sao Joao Festival Celebrated?
According to the Bible or its legends, the Sao Joao Festival has its story related to Mary and Elizabeth's two cousin sisters. When he heard about the pregnancy news of his sister, the latter one ushered Mary to congratulate her. Upon reaching her place, both had exchanged a conversation, and Mary told Elizabeth that she would have a baby, Jesus. Upon hearing this, the St John the Baptist jumped with joy in the womb of Elizabeth. Thus, the Sao Joao Festival is celebrated to commemorate the leaping of John the Baptist. Moreover, Jesus was baptized by St John the Baptist in the Jordan River. And in fact, this could be the reason why the Sao Joao Festival is celebrated exactly 6 months before Jesus ' birthday - 25th December.
Where is the Sao Joao Festival Celebrated in Goa?
Siolim Village in North Goa is the epicenter of the Sao Joao Festival. The South Goa vicinity hardly bothers about the Sao Joao Festival, and we don’t know why! But one could observe its celebration at Anjuna, Candolim, Assagao, and Calangute.
Is There Any Fixed Date for Sao Joao Festival in Goa?
Yes! The Sao Joao Festival in North Goa is celebrated annually on 24th June, just 6 months before the birthday of Jesus on 25th December.
What Happens At the Sao Joao Festival?
Locals and visitors alike soak in the spirit of celebration in North Goa and its vicinity. The celebration is marked by the royal paradise, which in local slang is called “Sangodd.” It involves singing native religious songs and chanting the mantras throughout the parade. You could see the locals dressed in traditional costumes or uniforms that give the Sao Joao Festival a whole new meaning. Furthermore, lip-smacking local food and Goa’s favorite fenny is the highlight of the Sao Joao Festival. From organized stage performances to mimic artists, several other elements grace the Sao Joao Festival.
Where is the Grand Celebration of the Sao Joao Festival in Goa Taking Place?
St Anthony’s Church and Fernandes are the places where you could witness the grand celebration of the Sao Joao Festival in North Goa.
Can I Attend the Sao Joao Festival in Goa?
Yes! You can attend the Sao Joao Festival on your Goa trip. Moreover, it would be the icing to the cake for you because only a handful of tourists knows about this festival and thus, you get the opportunity to actively indulge or witness the celebration by the locals.
Why Should I Attend the Sao Joao Festival in Goa?
The Sao Joao Festival is held in June annually. It is the time when the whole Goa gets drenched in monsoon, and outdoor adventures seem like a dream. That is where you could attend the full-blown carnival of the Sao Joao Festival in North Goa.
Travel Tips to Attend Sao Joao Festival in 2021
- Respect the traditional and cultural values of the locals.
- Don’t make any nasty comments on anyone.
- Keep your personal belongings safe, like your wallet and mobile.
- Beware of the pickpockets.
- Book your accommodation in advance.