The annual popular Sao Joao festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour across the state on Monday June 23. The festival is better known for the jumping of people into the local village wells. The jumping act symbolizes St John Baptist’s leaping in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when visited by Mary who was expecting Jesus. Sao Joao is also known as the ‘Janvoiyanchem fest’ better known as the feast of sons-in-laws. Once the traditional process is over, all the young and old then plunge into the village wells.The feast, locally known and observed as ‘Sao Joao’, is always celebrated with great enthusiasm. A unique feature which distinguishes Goa from other parts of the world is the act of jumping into the wells, ponds and rivers in contrast to the normally held church services.
Newly-married couples play a very important role in the celebration. Generally the bride carries all the goodies to be distributed among the youth of the village and the groom carries all the hard drinks like the Goan ‘feni’, beer and others.
The day is just celebrated with different games and traditional events like the traditional boat festival which is being organized every year at Siolim on the occasion of Sao Joao.
People who take part in the celebration are, as a rule, made to wear on their heads a crown - traditionally known as ‘Kopel’ - made of flowers.
The Sao Joao Festival is most pompously celebrated in Goa amongst the Catholic community. This occasion marks the celebration by the local youth in the villages of Goa who normally get drunk and jump into wells according to the existing tradition of Sao Joao festival.