With the onset of monsoon, Goa is getting ready to celebrate its rain festival ‘Sao Joao’ tomorrow during which people take a dip in water bodies, especially wells, as a symbol of baptism and cleansing. The festival is dedicated to Catholic saint John de Baptista. Various activities are planned across the state with the main attraction being a float parade at Siolim which attracts thousands of locals and tourists. “Traditionally, the festival has groups going house to house in the wards seeking a dip in the well and claiming a reward of seasonal jack fruit, pineapple and others,” says Savio Coutinho, former Chairperson, Margao Municipal Council, who has also organised traditional festival ‘O re San Joao’ near Margao town.
He said the newly weds were specially chosen for the Sao Joao ceremony, but due to extinction of wells, people prefer to jump in other water bodies including swimming pools. Coutinho said the festival is dedicated to St John de Baptista who according to Biblical story lept for joy on hearing the news of Christ’s birth, and later went on to baptise him in the river Jordan. He said during the festival organised by his group, sweets are also served besides hosting various traditional games which are usually played by women folk.
Scoring on the festivities, Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has hosted various festivities on the cruise ship Santa Monica. “The event will include cultural programmes along with entertainment and fun for tourists and locals. Also special programmes will be conducted during the event including acrobatic jive, Lime dance for couples, black and white illusionary dance, bamboo Dance, laughter contest, coconut breaking contest, Goan dances such as Fugdi, Vavraddi and Dekhni, games and quiz competitions, saree draping contest, splash dance, Goan and Hawaiian dances and selection of ‘Festacho Raza ani Rani’,” the GTDC said in a press note.