The monsoon feast of Sao Joao is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, who according to Christian scripture, leapt with joy in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when she learnt of Jesus’ birth. People celebrate the occasion by decking up boats, dancing, drinking feni, enjoying lavish feasts and jumping into wells - everything that embodies the spirit of revelry of a typical Goan.
You would think that monsoons would foil Sao Joao celebrations. They don’t. “You can piss yourself and no one would know!” a sixty-something old man with a copel—a headgear—nearly 1.5 feet high, made of leaves that must have required robbing half a nursery told Harsha as he sipped on feni from a bottle that appeared older than him.
It was a tad underwhelming though, Harsha conceded, as she failed to spot men jumping into wells - Sao Joao celebrations are not as wide-spread as one would think, not even in Goa. It took her close to an hour to find one of the spots where the feast was being celebrated. It was amusing too, when she tried asking some of the people who appeared soaked in celebrations, pun intended, why the festival is celebrated - “To drink feni!”
Sometimes, we keep traditions alive. Sometimes, feni helps!