Sao Joao Celebrations – Uniting Goans at home and abroad


Sao Joao, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, is celebrated in Goa with much fanfare. Jumping into wells is what Sao Joao celebrations are all about.  At this time of year, with the onset of the monsoons, the village wells are almost overflowing. Sao Joao is incomplete without the traditional ‘Kopels’ or head wreaths made of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.  In olden times, it is believed, that prospective sons-in-law were allowed to jump into the house wells of their prospective brides-to-be as a sign of acceptance by the bride’s father. A feast of food and drink followed in their honour. Today, sons-in-law are showered with goodies of fruit baskets and patoleos by their mothers-in-law as a sign of gratitude for allowing their daughters to visit them. 

The villages of Socorro and Siolim are the ones who usually have Sao Joao celebrations on the grandest scale. Socorro has the Ponsachem Fest on Sao Joao while Saligao has ‘Vangodd de Saligao‘.  Siolim too, who has been celebrating it for 200 years, organizes a colourful, themed boat parade down the river Chapora that touches its banks.

‘Vangodd de Saligao’, meaning ‘together for Saligao’, is celebrated by the villagers at the Mae De Deus Church compound. To keep the spirit of togetherness, Saligaokars come out in large numbers to join in the fun. Loads of home-cooked Goan delicacies with locally grown fruits are freely available for all to savour.

Sao Joao Celebrations

The fun continues at other locales across Goa :


Sao Joao celebrations
Margao celebrates Sao Joao the traditional way at Green Amaze by the pool in the rain! For details contact Alison Morenas, Goa, on 8888411111

Besides Goa, these traditions are also maintained by the Goan diaspora

Neville from Green Leaf Events, Dubai gave us a brief on how Dubai Goans plan to carry out Sao Joao celebrations this year.

Neville and Green Leaf Events celebrate Sao Joao 2017 in Dubai

Says Neville, “Sao Joao, a tradition brought in by the Portuguese into the little jewel state of Goa, India, is an annual celebration held for decades. It is an amalgamation of colour with splashes of water which exudes fun right from individuals to families. Famous in Dubai amongst the Mumbai, Mangalore and the Goan crowds, this Festival is held on the 24th of June every year with music and traditions galore. This year in Dubai’s Chelsea Plaza Hotel – Ambot Tik along with Green Leaf Event Organizers presents “Sao Joao Pool Party” on Friday the 29th of June from 4 pm – 3 am. An event with Non-stop fun and entertainment. We invite you along with your family and friends to have a dip in the pool and dance the night away with music from an array of genres definitely suited for your taste buds with Dubai’s Top Goan Musicians. Moozg (The Band) along with Mario from the famous Band –Reunion will blow you all away musically with their sets. On the Decks, we have DJ Frank | DJ Saby | DJ Nevz who will keep you energized on the dance floor all night long. Free Entry | No Age Restrictions | Family Event | Pool Open till 9 pm For Group Bookings Pls. Call 0527532357 | 0501039049″.

The Californian Goans have a big bash planned as well

“The much-awaited Californian Goans São João 2018 will be held on Monday, June 25th from 11 am onwards. Highlights of the events include Goan Cooking Competition, Kopel Contest, Stall Games, kids Corner, VolleyBall, Tie Breaker and much more. So come join us as we strive to share and keep our Goan Culture and Traditions alive. Viva São João!!! Viva”. (Source: Facebook).

Goans of Bahrain too, are gearing up for the Sao Joao Bash.

Come join the fun and keep Goa’s traditions alive. wishes one and all – Viva Sao Joao!

Pic. Credit: Facebook, Sources