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Competition: Great Waves This Winter


Sahil Mahur

“Sao Joao, Sao Joao ghunvtat mure, vaat dishti poddona, Osli feastam vorsak kiteak don pauvti yenna? Sao Joao has it all. Feni, wild flowers, kopals, fresh fruits, brightly painted boats, splendid floats, music, dance and the list is endless.

This festival is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. According to Christian scripture, the Baptist leaped with joy at his mother, Elizabeth’s womb, when she was told of the birth of Christ. He later went on to baptize Jesus in the river Jordan. The well is considered as a representation of Elizabeth’s womb and a jump into it is a sign of joy.

Every year on 24th June this festival is celebrated. If you are in Goa during this time, you don’t want to miss the festival. Here are five reasons why you should experience Sao Joao in Goa:

Jumping into wells

The devotees jump into the drinking water wells as a form of tribute to the St. John the Baptist. People say prayers and break coconuts and then get super drunk with “feni”. Getting drunk and jumping into wells will definitely be something that you don’t want to miss out on.



Who doesn’t like fairy crowns! People wear beautiful coronets of wild flowers called Kopel. You can’t buy these but you have to make it yourself. If you ask sweetly enough, you can even get locals to teach you how to make one. Kopels are easily one of the coolest headgears ever!!




Sao Joao is one the best monsoon music festivals. Every village in Goa comes alive with monsoon music . Goans really know how to celeberate monsoons the right way. In the village of Saligao, the event is celebrated as ‘Vangodd of music’ or a village festival of music and dance. You simply cannot help grooving to the music of drums called Ghumott and the percussion instrument called Kansallem.


Colorful theme based floats

This is the best part of Sao Joao. It really brings out the uniqueness of this festival. Brightly painted boats with huge sculptures will definitely be a visual treat for your eyes. Local culture is aesthetically represented by the intricate and colourful decorations of the floats.



People get together with a variety of fruits like pineapples, jackfruits and Moussrad mango (Goan variety of mango). Many newly married brides make Potaleo, a sweet made with ground rice flour paste. Sannaas is another very common dish which is served during the day.