Goan Welfare Association’s Annual Sao Joao Bash in Qatar

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By Jerald DSouza
Bellevision Media Network

Doha-Qatar, 29 Jun: Sao Joao feast is celebrated on 24 June annually all over Goa. Those who have migrated and immigrated also carry this flavour of celebration in the distant lands, thus maintaining a link with their land of ancestors. In Qatar, Goan Welfare Association (GWA) celebrated Sao Joao festival on Friday, June 21 at Al Hilal Doha. Goa may be in the height of rainy season in late June, but enthusiasm for the annual Sao Joao festival is never dampened. Men and boys jump into wells, ponds and rivers, mimicking the joyous celebration of St John’s heralding of Christ. The jumping with joy is externally associated with the custom, tradition and culture accompanying the feast devoid of religious thought. The tradition and culture has no biblical roots, it is entirely folklore specific to Goa.


GWA’s president Simon D’Silva welcomed everyone for their annual Sao Joao celebration and profusely thanked members and guests. D’Silva praised the efforts put in by the committee members to organize such an excellent evening within short span of time. GWA celebrates Sao Joao in Qatar since 2003, first being held at Al Andalusia Compound.



The unique distinction of this tradition is the wearing of colourful wreaths, crowns, coronets, Tiaras of flowers, leaves, creepers and with fruits at times. The guests joined in special loud colourful attires, giving it a distinct flavour. In Goa, the well used to be full during this time of the season; hence jumping only in the wells was unique, which is now changed to a swimming pool in Qatar. The jumpers retrieved the fruits thrown in the swimming pool and the children too participated having fun and learning about the tradition. A new female upcoming DJ Gasdy provided typical music keeping the folks and youngsters on the floor continuously till the late night. There was the spirit of adventure, revelry, entertainment, creativity, fun and pure joy. Fabulous prizes for games and spot were given away. The delicious home made Goan food was an additional highlight of the celebration.


It was a real treat to watch the guests with crowns of leaves and varied fruits on their heads. The unique rituals and celebration of this annual event provides an unusual glimpse of local custom and culture, made everyone feel at home away from home. The depiction of professionally well organised events, with lots of fun and incessant entertainment by Goan Welfare Association, encouraged guests to demand with GWA to organise more and more functions at least one in every month. Guests have appreciated and thanked the organizers for an excellent Sao Joao celebration.



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