Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Goa festival: The feast of Sao Joao

This feast of St John the Baptist is celebrated mostly in the northern parts of Goa, at the onset of monsoon on June 24th. On this day young men around Goa jump into wells to retrieve gifts thrown in by villagers. In Siolim, a village in north Goa, colourful boat races are organised. Christians believe that John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother, Elizabeth’s, womb when she was told of Jesus’ birth. He later went on to baptize Jesus in the river Jordan. The well is considered to be a representation of Elizabeth’s womb and a jump into it a sign of joy for the birth of Christ.

The festival is celebrated with great fervour and gusto, particularly in Siolim, Anjuna, Candolim, Calangute and Assagao. It is like any other Goan feast with the captivating spirit of merriment, colour and tradition. People dressed in colourful outfits from several villages meet near a stream front in carnival-coloured boats and floats.

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