25 Jun 2022  |   05:31am IST

Sao Joao: A time to celebrate

People around the state celebrated the festival with gusto
Sao Joao: A time to celebrate

Shimron Nathan


ao Joao is a festival specific to Goa in the country that is also celebrated all over the world. It commemorates the Feast of St. John the Baptists. People flock around places like Siolim, Anjuna, Candolim and Calangute to watch exhilarating boat races and munch on local delicacies such as homemade patoleos, sannaas and a variety of seasonal fruit. Apart from the food and snacks, the beverages served were typical Goan specialties like feni, urrak, nero and assortment of child-friendly drinks. “The preparations for Sao Joao start days in advance and my grandmother makes it a point to include everyone in making all the fancy treats and Kopels. It really brings us together as a family and I have so many fun memories”, said Rowena Rodrigues a student.

Sao Joao festivities reverberated at Barebhatt, Raia on Friday as revellers attired in colourful costumes’ and wearing the Copel (Crown) celebrated the festival in a traditional manner

Flower adorned crowns, locally known as Kopels, are meticulously crafted by the young and old of the community and worn by revellers which denotes the crown of martyrdom of St John the Baptist. Many traditions were passed down the generations of Goans but have recently been overcome with the modernity of parties that line the coastal region of our State. It is immensely popular in the North of Goa where even tourists party with as much gusto and enthusiasm as our locals. Shimei Nathan, student, explained how parties were also an element that couldn’t be left out of the celebration. She said, “Since its Goa, parties are only essential in festivals like these and the number has certainly risen in Goa since the Pandemic ended but they’re super fun. It was important to be safe while jumping around in wells!” Not only is it a festival where Christians celebrate their feast but people from all religious backgrounds participate in the festival as one people, Goans. Shubham Naik, also a student, shared his Sao Joao experience participating in a festival of another culture. He said, “I don’t feel like it’s a festival just for Catholics or Christians, at least that’s how Goa is. We always celebrate every festival together. In the end, all Goans are brothers and sisters and having fun together is more important than segregating one another.” Celebrations were also held at Ganvchem Bhatt, Merces.

This is a celebration that happens only once a year and encapsulates the full experience of what it’s like being a Goan. Festivities like these are what shows that Goa is much more than just picturesque beaches and has a lot in store with regards to its blooming heritage and culture which has recently been coming into the global eye.