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Goa’s Sao Joao festival, and why revellers jump into wells and ponds

  • Published
    24th Jun, 2022
Context

The Sao Joao festival celebrated on June 24 is in a way a festival of fertility in Mother Nature.

About

Sao Joao festival:

  • Sao Joao festival is immensely popular in North Goa and is celebrated with amazing enthusiasm and gusto.
  • The celebrations will include revellers sporting crowns made of fruits, flowers and leaves, and the major draw of the feast is the water bodies – wells, ponds, fountains, rivers – in which the revellers take the “leap of joy”.
  • Enjoyed by children and adults alike, the festival also includes playing the traditional gumott (percussion instrument), a boat festival, servings of feni, and a place of pride for new sons-in-law.
  • This festival is marked by young men in Goa jumping into wells to retrieve the gifts thrown in by the villagers.


Significance of Sao Joao:

  • According to Christian scriptures, when Mary told his mother Elizabeth that she was expecting Jesus, St. John, the Baptist jumped with delight in her womb.
  • As a result, this celebration is also known since the Festival of Fertility, as young, expectant mothers bring offerings to God in the hopes of having a child.
  • The leap into the well is thought to symbolise the womb, while the jump represents the pleasure and happiness associated with Jesus Christ’s birth.

 

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