Celebrate the San Joao festival in Goa

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Every June 24, in celebration of San Joao (St John the Baptist), Goans carry out rituals and traditions with immense fervour

Goa may be in the height of rainy season in late June, but enthusiasm for the annual Sao Joao festival is never dampened.

Every June 24, in celebration of San Joao (St John the Baptist), Goans carry out rituals and traditions with the kind of fervour you’ll probably never see in this country.

Men and boys (seemingly never women) jump into wells, ponds and rivers, mimicking the joyous celebration of St John’s heralding of Christ.

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Young brides offer fruit, vegetables and flowers to bodies of water in the hope of becoming a mother. Younger girls offer the same in the hope of finding a husband.

Newly married couples take starring roles in the festival. The bride traditionally brings goodies for the young, while the husband brings alcoholic drinks like Goan “feni”.

Naturally, there are feasts. Patodio – a sweet dish of rice, grated coconut, raisins and spices wrapped in turmeric leaves – being the highlight.

The festivities in Goa have roots in Portuguese colonial rule. Festa de São João originates from Porto, where it has been celebrated for more than six centuries. With a curious mix of religious observance and a riotous party atmosphere, it remains the city’s most important festival. Every year on the night of June 23 thousands of people of all ages pack the city’s streets well into the hours of the next morning where they listen to live music, glug red wine and gulp down barbequed fish and meat – all in tribute to São João, the patron saint of lovers.

Check out some more pictures of the Goan festivities here and here.

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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Image: UrbanWanderer)

Celebrate the San Joao festival in Goa was last modified: November 5th, 2015 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (1167 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.