Sao Joao is a festival celebrated every year during cooling monsoon season. This particular festival is celebrated in honour of the feast of St. John the Baptist on 24th June. People of Goa enjoy this festival to the core of their heart. Ladies dress in colourful clothes with a garland of flowers, a lei or coronets around their crown. Some even prepare the garland with tiny plums and other fruits. Men and women both participate in various activities while it is raining. There are rain dances, water games of hitting each other with garlic flowers or soft plastic hammers and most important of all jumping and swimming in the wells. It is considered to be the rejoicing time of the year.

This festival is almost six centuries old. Sao Joao celebrations were brought in by the Portuguese during their rule. However, today, Goa, as well as Portugal, grandly celebrates this festival. On the night of 23rd June Catholics come together and pay a tribute to St. John the Baptist. On this very day, the baptism in Catholic faith came into existence.

History

According to the Catholic faith, St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus Christ the Savior. Lord Jesus in his time was Baptised in the river Jordan by St. John the Baptist, and since then Jesus received the title ‘The Son of God’. Thus, St John is known as John the Baptist. All the Saint feats celebrated in the Roman Catholic faith are on the death day of the saints, while St, John is the only saint whose birthday rather than death day is celebrated. Therefore we see that many people tell the biblical story of how John leapt with joy in his mother’s (Elizabeth, Mother Mary’s sister) womb after hearing that Mother Mary was conceived with Jesus.

And ever since then, after the death of Christ when the celebration of the Holy Eucharist had passed down generations, every newborn child was to be presented in the church by Baptising them as a Roman Catholic.

Guidelines

Coming back to the festival, in Goa, Sao Joao is celebrated by all the religions, especially since Goa is a secular state and never has any communal or religious differences. Everyone enjoy one another’s festival here.  Sao Joao on first hearing may sound a boring religious festival, but it is extremely fun. The monsoon makes the Sao Joao season even more vibrant. Goans come together at different places and cook food, dance, make merry and celebrate Sao Joao to the fullest.

However, with fun comes concern. No one would want to drown or get entangled in dangerous situations on an auspicious occasion. Thus, for your safety, Incredible has a few guidelines for you.

Do Not Push – Okay we get it, all are overexcited. But creating a mess will just ruin the fun. Take care of yourself as well as other. As much as this festival may sound commercial, it is more about togetherness and caring for each other. So make sure you do not force a person into jumping or swimming in the well, ponds and lakes. Also, just because you get pleasure and want the other person to enjoy with you, doesn’t mean you push them in the water. Some people may not know to swim and might drown. There are many cases that have happened in the past because of the over excitement mess created.  It’s better to ask the person if they would want to swim before you turn the enthusiastic festival into a dreading funeral.

Staying Focused – One of the most important things of all is to remain alert especially with young children. In the crowd of the celebration, if the child is not looked after, he/she might jump without the knowledge of parents. Also, sometimes the child could even be lost. Thus, make sure you enjoy at the same time keep a watch on young ones. Children will be safe if the parents are alert, but when we are talking about each one of us, it is necessary to stay safe our self. What most of us need to take care of are the sudden violent water gush or waves. So whether you are swimming in a lake, river, sea or well, water is always stronger than you and the currents may drown you. Recently, so many drowning cases during the rains have occurred because of the frequent harsh gushes of water. So check the water before you get in. And also beware of snakes and frogs and certain insects, not only are they gross, but also infectious and dangerous.

Do Not Get Drunk – Of course, Goans would never miss a festival without a glass their traditional fenny. Fenny was popular during Sao Joao in the past, but it present times it has become common to sip an alcoholic drink from beer to champagne and wine. Drink, but not much that would cause a problem for you and the people around you. We all know drinking makes us go nuts, thus, change in our behaviour is absolutely expected. Some may act very sweet while some may create a big scene. Thus, in order for the safety of your family, friends and people around you, drink a little. A little of it would be perfect to toast the celebration of Sao Joao. In this way, all will enjoy. Women wouldn’t be angry with their husbands; youth will be safe; above all the girls will be safe too. Remember the festival is about enjoying together.

Keeping The Girls Safe – In these kinds of festivals and crowd, what most families are worried about are the girls from the family. Because of the crowd, you may not know what happens in which corner of the venue. It is important to keep the girls safe as they may be a victim of molestation. Make sure you drink less, this goes for both- boys and girls. Also, in the excitement don’t forget your limits. Just enjoy the party with ease and be concerned with one another.

Loud Music – Dancing is a must at Sao Joao, and to accompany that high ultrasound music is co-operative. But stop and think before you go around honking roads and playing extremely loud music at the venue.  You are not the only one alone in the town; there are many others who don’t celebrate Sao Joao. There are also many sick and old people living, thus you need to care for them before you blast those speakers. Be gentle with the type of music you choose too. It is obvious many youngsters get drunk and like playing Trans, which could be loud and a headache at times. opt for clean soft music, something more like dance, pop, country, or Goan hit numbers; surely no one would say no to that. And at least once think about the animals too, you know that they cannot bear the loud sound as it could affect them, so be careful and choose to play a little subtle type of music.

Do Not Waste Water – Alright, you may think this is too much now, but do you know how much water you will be wasting if you go on with the rain dance and spilling of buckets of water all day long! There are so many people surviving without proper water in this world and if we waste such a lot of water for our fun on Sao Joao, it isn’t fair. Definitely, St John the Baptist would not be pleased by our actions. And when you already have the big God given rivers and wells, why waste water? Using the natural resources of water is much better than wasting tanks of water.

So here were the guidelines, it is your choice to follow them. Make sure to Enjoy the festival to the fullest along with being safe and protecting others. Do you have any other suggestion? You can add it up to our article by putting your comments in the box below.

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