The rainy season is the best time of the year in Goa. It is the weather, green landscaping, picturesque backdrop, nature trails and adventure that attract thousands of tourists to this paradise every year. One such important element is the monsoon festivals which are unique and celebrated only in the state of Goa. Here are some of them.
Sao Joao: The monsoons begin with the celebration of Sao Joao festival every year from June 24th. This festival has a special significance in the catholic community and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the firebrand prophet. Christian scripture tells us of St. John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when she was told about Jesus’ birth. St. John, the Bapist 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.
San Joao, like any other Goan feast has that captivating spirit of merriment, colour and tradition. People dressed in colourful outfits from several villages meet near a stream front in carnival-coloured boats and floats. The feast is marked by people of all ages by jumping into wells, ponds and rivers. The festival is then followed by different types of folk dances and exchange of fruits and other eatables between friends and relatives. The feast is celebrated across the state and is majorly celebrated in the village of Siolim, Goa.
Ponsachem Fest : Ponsachem fest known as Jackfruit festival is also celebrated on the day of Sao Joao. The festival was originally celebrated to savour Goa’s choicest jackfruits and the delicious items made from it. The festival takes place in the Socorro village and is now popular in other villages of the State as well.
Sangodd: The festival is celebrated across the state every year on June 29th. This is particularly a monsoon-based celebration by Goa’s local fishing community. Their boats are tied together to form rafts, which serve as make shift stages. A colorful festival of boats is organized. There is a live cultural program on a church like structure that is erected in four boats. The binding together of the boats is called “Sangodd”. Many artists of the konkani stage along with the villagers take part in the cultural programme organised at the festival.
Chikalkalo : Chikalkalo is another happening event that is conducted in the Marcel village during the monsoons. Chikalkal o literally means ’play in the mud’. Devotees h ere plunge into a roll-in-the-muck ‘mud bath’ tw o days after Aashadhi Ekadashi. It is celebrate d mostly by the end of July.
Touxeachem Fest: Touxeachem Fest (in Konkani) also known as Cucumber Feast is a very popular feast celebrated in Goa. It is celebrated at the magnificent Church of St. Anne also known as the Santana Church located at Talaulim in Tiswadi taluka and dedicated to St. Anne. Young couples come to the Church to seek the blessings of St. Anne, who herself was blessed with a child after 40 years of barren life. They buy cucumbers from local vendors at the feast and offer them at the feet of St. Ann and carry them home to eat. Besides the huge number of devotees from all around Goa, devotees from across the State also throng the church on the feast day. This year, the festival will be held on 30 July.
Patolleanchem feast: It is a feast depicting rich old Goan cuisine and culture. It is organized on the feast of Our Lady of Assumption and the Independence Day. Patollio (a sweet made of jaggery and rice covered with a turmeric leaf) is prepared by the villagers. After blessing the sweet, it is distributed to the parishioners and all those attending the feast. It is celebrated on 15 August at Socorro village.
Bonderam: This is the most happening festival celebrated on a grand scale on the Island of Divar. The name Bonderam revolves around the involvement of flags which in itself is an interesting story. The word “Bonderam” originated from the involvement of flags. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for the Flag. It is stated that during the Portuguese rule in Goa, there were frequent disputes between two sections of the Divar village over property issues. These often led to violence and fights in the village. To find a solution to this problem, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags. The festival is a memoir to the protest by the local villagers against the Portuguese while trying to resolve the property ownership disputes. This festival starts with a flag which is accompanied by the brass band. Later there is a fancy dress com petition which is followed by the traditional float parade. This is followed by a live band performance by the famous music bands of Goa. Bonderam is a very popular monsoon festival in Goa and it draws huge crowds from all parts of Goa and world over.