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Sao Joao Festival 2017 in Goa – Everything you need to know

It’s that time of the year again. The days are short, the nights are long and the soil is full of water. Tourism is at an all time low but the Goans do not care. 😉
Every day is another day for a special occasion. And June is no exception. Sao Joao is where it begins. So put down your phones, shut down that display. Get your keister to Siolim. That is where it’s #happening


Floral dress up for the Sao Joao Festival in Goa

Goa-tee on point 😛
Courtesy: Ashit Desai

But what is it you ask?

The Sao Joao Festival is an annual Christian feast started by a baptist St. John that is celebrated as a water festival. It is an exciting and traditional festival that is celebrated on 24th June by the local people of Goa. An old age tradition that has its roots in Portugal.

This monsoon feast has special significance in Christianity as it is dedicated to St John the Baptist, the firebrand prophet. Christian scripture tells us of John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother, Elizabeth’s womb when she was told of Jesus’ birth. John, the Baptist later went on to baptise 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.

Here’s a small video about the significance of Sao Joao festival in Goa to make it easier for you. 

But Wait! Not so fast. This isn’t some sort of boring and strict religious festival. Sao Jao is nothing less than any carnival that has a high importance among the Catholic community. You’ll find lots fun loving people who want nothing more than a good time.

Sao Joao Festival in Siolim Goa

Credits: Pranav Mehta


What should you do?

Celebrations start early in the morning in the village of Benaulim (South Goa), which has the church of Saint John the Baptist. It starts with a morning mass that include prayers given out by people from surrounding villages. Be sure to stop by early and have a chat with some of the enthusiastic locals.

Sao Joao Goa 2017

Courtesy: Ashit Desai

Jumping into wells? Well, It’s Fun 😉

That’s right. Attendees jump into wells just for the fun of it. Be sure to join in, if you’re feeling adventurous. Even if you are not a pool person, the natural downpour or the artificial rain dance which the villagers arrange is as enjoyable as springing into a well. 

Sao Joao Goa 2017 Festivities

Credits: Ashit Desai

Get ready for some cosplay

Not to be missed are the lovely coronets locals wear that are carefully stitched together with leaves, flowers and fresh fruits. They are also called the ‘Kopel’ in Konkani. Goans are a sporting bunch of people and camera shy in the least of the sense. Kopels and costumes all the way.

Cosplay at the Sanjao Festival Goa

Credits: Edwina D’Souza

Time to break bread with the locals

On the feast day apart from the football matches, singing and dancing there’s the gastronomical delights of traditional goan food which includes sorpotel and sannas, feijoadas, sausage, pulao among other foods and plenty of feni to go around and camaraderie to top it all off. People gather together to have fun and enjoy good company. Unfortunately fishing is banned during the monsoons in Goa, so you won’t find many fish items.

Feast at the Sao Joao Festival Goa

Credits: Flickr

The Nightlife

This marks the beginning of the after party for the celebrations of Sao Joao that go late into the night with aesthetic dimly lit ambience, groovy music, beer and snack counters. There is live music performances in English, Hindi and Konkani songs and no one can help but shake a leg. And of course not to miss the modern additions of Foam, Smoke and Rain in each of these parties where pools are a must 😛 

Sao Joao Parties 2017 in Goa

Perhaps you’re more interested in the more EDM side of the festivities. If that’s more your thing then we’ve got you covered as well.

San Joao Shuffle 2017, Sinquerim, Goa

San Joao Shuffle 2017, sinquerim, Goa

The San Joao Shuffle is a sundowner featuring some of the best DJs across the country along with the best local DJ talent, having featured India’s best DJs like DJ Kan-i and Anish Sood. The San Joao Shuffle also features unique stage setups, making the best use LED walls and neon glitz to create some rad stage ambience.

Venue : SinQ Beach Club, Sinquerim, Goa

Entree fee : Rs. 500 


The Elusive Sao Jao Party 2017, Dona Paula, Goa

Sao Joao Goa Parties - Sao Joao Bash 2017

The Elusive Sao Jao party is regarded as a highly recommended, and one of the most original Sao jao parties of Goa, a must attend event for the discerning party animal. DJ’s include Teri Miko, Jack Mathews, AK47 and former Krewella member Rainman (Kris Trindl)

Venue : Bay15, Dona paula, Goa

Entree fee : Rs.500


Your Safety is of Paramount importance

Police patrolling is in place at the location to keep bottleneck traffic and petty crime at bay. Not like there’s much crime to even begin with. Unlike some festive celebrations in India where hooliganism takes over and many melas across the country which just aren’t women friendly.

Goa is one of the safest states in the country. Period.

Sao Joao Festival Goa 2017 - Police Protection for extra safety during rains

Be sure to thank the Cops!
Credits: Kenneth Alvarez


Interesting Note: The display of Sangodd, a decorated floating platform, made by tying two boats or banana tree trunks together, which are then put into nearby streams to float is a important part of the celebrations.

Last but not the atleast, we would like to share with you a few glimpses of this year’s Sao Joao Festival that took place in Siolim, Goa. The revelry, the crowd and the zeal showed by the fellow Goans during this festival was simply amazing to witness in real. So without much ado, here’s the much awaited visual treat brought to you exclusively by Team Lokaso, before we bid adieu  😉 


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