Goa revels in Sao Joao festivities after 2-year gap
Panaji: Goa celebrated Sao Joao festival with traditional enthusiasm on Friday after a two-year coronavirus-induced gap as revellers jumped into water bodies across the state to mark the occasion.
Residents of the coastal state thronged wells, ponds and other water bodies in large numbers to celebrate Sao Joao, a popular festival of Goa which was not held for the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A key feature of the festival, which has its origins in the erstwhile Portuguese rule, is revellers jumping into water bodies wearing crowns made of fruits and flowers, and screaming 'Viva Sao Joao'. It is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, who baptised Lord Jesus on the river of Jordan.
The festival, celebrated annually on June 24 at the onset of monsoon by people cutting across religious lines, also saw tourists joining the local revellers with great zeal.
Siolim, a village in North Goa, hosts traditional canoe parade on the occasion of Sao Joao.
Silvester Fernandes, President of the Siolim Sao Joao Committee, said the celebrations were on hold for the last two years due to the pandemic, but this year festivities were at pre-coronavirus level.
While Sao Joao festivities have a history of more than a century, at Siolim, the celebrations began only in the 1980s, he said.
Several hundred locals and also tourists arrived here (Siolim) to witness the colourful canoe parade, Fernandes said.