Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festival in news: Sao Joao Festival


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sao Joao Festival

Mains level: Not Much

As in every monsoon, Catholics in Goa will celebrate Sao Joao, the feast of St John the Baptist.

Note: The name typically sounds like a North-Eastern festival, but it is not.

What is Sao Joao and where is it celebrated in Goa?

  • In Goa, Catholics celebrate all the feasts of the Roman Catholic Church, which include the feast of St John the Baptist on June 24.
  • John the Baptist is the person who he had baptised Jesus Christ on the river Jordan.
  • Traditionally, there are spirited Sao Joao festivities in the villages of Cortalim in South Goa and Harmal, Baga, Siolim and Terekhol in North Goa.
  • However, over the years, pool parties and private Sao Joao parties in Goa have been a “complete package of merriment and joy” for tourists.

Course of celebration

  • The celebrations will include revellers sporting crowns made of fruits, flowers and leaves, and the major draw of the feast is the water bodies – wells, ponds, fountains, rivers – in which the revellers take the “leap of joy”.
  • Enjoyed by children and adults alike, the festival also includes playing the traditional gumott (percussion instrument), a boat festival, servings of feni, and a place of pride for new sons-in-law.

What does jumping into water bodies symbolise?

  • The youngsters in Goa celebrate this occasion with revelry and perform daredevil feats, by jumping into over flowing wells or rivulets.
  • The boys are found merrily jumping into the water to commemorate the leap of joy, which St John is said to have taken in the womb of his mother St Elizabeth when virgin Mary visited her.


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