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It’s Sao Joao time!

It’s time for one of the most awaited festival of the monsoons. Sao Joao will be celebrated tomorrow, June 24, amidst much fun and merriment. In Goa, now the festival has acquired much popularity and is celebrated not just celebrated in wards, but at community level – in Churches and commercially at resorts. NT BUZZ brings to you details of Sao Joao celebrations

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
The feast symbolising St John the Baptist taking a leap of joy in his mother’s womb when Elizabeth met her cousin Mary has acquired the name of ‘Sao Joao’ and is celebrated with great gusto in the state of Goa.
All over Goa the feast is celebrated with the young and old men (and now women) taking a plunge into water bodies – wells, rivers or ponds. The village of Siolim is the main attraction on this day where decorated floats on boats that are brought near the church; a tradition called Saogodd. Here generally a huge assembly of people wearing kopels (crowns) join the celebrations and enjoy the traditional mandos. At other celebrations like those in resorts and hotels, one may not find mandos but there’s
the swimming pool to soak in.
WHEN THE VILLAGE COMES
TOGETHER
In Socorro…
It was the Socorro Socio-Art and Cultural Association that kick-started the celebration of Sao Joao in a unique manner. Here the inspiration was the jackfruit which is highlighted along with the feast. Whilst celebrating Sao Joao, Ponsachem Fest will be celebrated on Friday at 3 p.m.
The nine wards will come together to partake in the feast at Woodside where there will be goan delicacies made including jacada, bhiknas – boiled jack fruits seeds, and pude – sweet made of rice, coconut and jaggery.
Cultural advisor, Marius Fernandes tells us that vhon, chonne and other fruits will be distributed among the revellers. “Nine cultural groups from the village and a village band ‘Stars of Socorro’ will together entertain the villagers,” says Marius highlighting the efforts of the parish priest Fr Saotana Carvalho and president of the Socorro Socio-Art and Cultural Association.
In Saligao…
For the first time Saligao will be celebrating Sao Joao and the arrival of monsoon in a very unique way on Sunday, June 26. “This celebration that will bring people of the village together is called Vangodd De Saligao,” says the parish priest Fr Matheus Rodrigues who conceived the idea.
With the assistance of cultural advisor Marius who has been actively involved in Soccoro, this festival is being organised very differently. On Saturday, June 25 at 4 p.m. there will be a kopel making workshop organised in the church compound where all recyclable and locally available material will be used.
The festival that will commence on May 26 will be organised with low costs, no alcohol, no plastic, no sponsors, no chief guest, no prizes and no competitions thus making it a grassroots people festival.
“The theme of the festival is treat water as gold, where villagers will be told the importance of water and how to use it judiciously,” informs Fr Matheus who says that this festival is to thank God for sending rains and to pray for sufficient rainfall.
The villagers will be seen putting up various cultural programmes and cook a traditional meal of ‘xitt’, ‘samarachi kodi’, ‘kismur’, etc. Besides, they will also plant samplings together and distribute various fruits to those gathered. With the Saligao Parish Youth being active in organising this event, there will be games and football for all the villagers. “This is one day for the entire village to come together,” says Fr Matheus.
AROUND GOA
Various events companies have cashed in on Sao Joao celebrations. Hotels play hosts to parties that involve music, liquour and more for youngsters to make merry and soak in the Sao Joao spirit. Many other clubs and hotels have been organising various pool parties over the past week in anticipation for the main feast.
All village wards and cultural groups have large celebrations of Sao Joao. The Bhutea Bhat Club (BBC), Vasco will be celebrating Sao Joao with the traditional jumping into the wells at Patrong, Bhuteabhat and Mestawada in Vasco. The celebration will begin from 11 a.m. with the prayers and worship at St Sebastian Chapel, Bhuteabhat.
“Some of the wells are over 150 years old”, says president Ravi Luis who lamented that keeping traditions alive is becoming an increasingly difficult task. A traditional Goan troupe from Verna, ‘Inacio group’ will dance to the beats of traditional musical instruments of ghumot, tashem and samel along with the traditional brass band. The procession to the wells will include traditional dances, food and fruits.
O’Luv recreates Sao Joao song
Well known Goan singer has recently released his single video title Sao Joao. Here paying tribute to C Alvares who had originally composed the song. “I have tried my best to remain to true to the original song,” says O’Luv who planned to make the video two years ago. The single was released by C Alvares’ nephew, Fr Dominic Alvares, general councilor for missions of Society of Pilar.
A great fan of O’Luv he was appreciative of the video and was happy that it was very close to the his uncle’s original composition. “I was surprised someone has done a video on this and that it is so true to the lyrics that was composed 50 years ago in a village. He has brought all the characters,” says Fr Alvares adding that C Alvares would have been happy to watch the video made on his song.
The famous song sung on the day of Sao Joao was shot in Paraste, Pernem. Here O’Luv wearing colourful Hawaiian shirts is playing a triple role depicting the three sons-in-law. He didn’t want to a remix on the song which is so common with music and songs of yesteryears. It was an opportunity for him to highlight the tradition that was followed 50 years ago of newly wedded son-in-law being invited to his in-laws home.
“The people in Pernem were very cheerful and helpful knowing that a video is being made on Sao Joao,” he says. The video shows a lot of locals, and a brass band which ends with O’Luv whistling the tune of the famous song.

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