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Sao Joao is a joyous festival celebrated by the Catholics in North Goa. The devotees often dive in and even swim inside wells, in honour of St. John. Furthermore, this lively festival is celebrated mostly by the young men in Goa. These men dive into the deep well to find treasures kept inside by others from the same village and neighbourhood.

This festival takes place during the onset of the rainy season in Goa. Moreover, this festival acknowledges people from every age group diving into the well, pond and sometimes even lakes. There are several boat races held in Siolim which is a village in Bardez. However, the festival of Sao Joao is not observed with the same excitement in other parts of Goa.

In the southern parts of Goa, celebrations are much sober. It is celebrated with passion and sincerity especially in places like Anjuna and Candolim. 

History of Sao Joao Feast of St John the Baptist 

Sao Joao Feast in Goa is a tribute to the great St. John the Baptist. St. John, with reference to Holy Scriptures, danced with excitement in his mother’s womb, when the news came out about the birth of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist further went on to immerse Lord Jesus in Jordan River to baptize him. Hence, the “well” is known to be a symbol of his mother’s womb and “diving” into it symbolizes joy on the occasion of the auspicious birth of the baby.

Also Read: A festival that is all about victory of good over evil

This feast is celebrated a few months before Christmas, which is on December 25 and is fondly remembered as Christ’s birthday.

Major Attractions of Sao Joao Feast Goa

1. Resorts and Spas. Just a couple of minutes away from Candolim Beach lies Novotel Goa Resort and Spa which is one among the finest luxury hotels in all of Goa. Opt for a relaxing massage at the Spa. Dance to great music at the poolside and feast on the popular seafood at local restaurants.

2. Fruits and Drinks. A spirit manufactured only in Goa known as Feni is famous during this feast. Newly married couples and those with newborns come together with treasures of seasonal fruits like mangoes, pineapples, jackfruits and tons of Feni bottles. You may also be able to find a unique Goan dish called Patoleo placed in every bridal bowl. This sweet is prepared using rice flour and fresh leaves and can be large just like the banana leaves. It is then mixed with coconut and even jaggery at the centre and steam cooked. During the daytime young people are found wearing pretty crowns carved out of fruits beautiful leaves locally known as ‘kopels’.

How to Reach

Sao Joao Festival is celebrated in the fabulous city of Panjim. The beautiful city of Panjim is easy to get to from every part of the country through any form of transportation such as roads, rails, and air. It is approximately 1863km via AH 47, 2274km via NH 53, and 580kmvia NH 48 from major cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru. Here are some of the fastest ways to reach Panjim.

By Air. Flights are much more comfortable as compared to other means of transport and tend to save a lot of time and energy. The nearest airport here is the Dabolim Airport which is also the only international airport in all of Goa. 

  • Flights from Delhi start from INR 4000.
  • Flights from Kolkata start from INR 3800.
  • Flights from Bengaluru start from INR 3000.

SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir flights operate from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru to Panjim. You can then opt for a taxi, bus, or auto to reach Panjim.

By Road. In order to get the most recent updates on a destination, it is always good to travel by road. Road trips help advance your knowledge and information about the destination you are travelling to. You can also discover the untold stories of the place by befriending a local. If you wish to opt for a road trip to Panjim from nearby cities then you can check out the following routes.

  • Belgaum – 104.4 km via NH 748
  • Pune – 439 km via AH 47
  • Mumbai- 582 km via AH 47
  • Mangalore – 344.9 km via NH 66
  • Mysore – 590 km via NH 48

You can also opt for the regular tourist buses if you wish to do so.

By Train. Train journeys are much safer than other means of transportation. Trains are faster and economically viable because it offers a wide range of options according to your budget and convenience. Consider the following trains from the closest cities to reach Panjim.

  • Belgaum – Board Goa Express deboard at Madgaon Railway Station (then from Madgoan to Panjim 30 km by auto or cab)
  • Pune – Board Pune ERS SUP EXP and deboard at Madgaon Railway Station
  • Mumbai – Board and Netravati EXP deboard at Madgaon Railway Station
  • Mangalore – Board Nizamuddin EXP and deboard at Madgaon Railway Station

You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here


  • 1 Day

  • Religious

  • Goa
  • Festival Date

    24 June 2021

  • Venue

    Panjim

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