One doesn’t need a reason or season to travel to Goa and if this is during the monsoons, even better! The monsoons in Goa are a magical experience. The rivers joyfully overflow with their rushing streams, the trees dance to the tune of the winds, and the fields cover themselves with a verdant green carpet ready to welcome you to a land of eternal beauty
The so called ‘off season’ in Goa offers a plethora of adventure activities and magical experiences that has converted even the most reluctant tourist into a fan. But if you truly want to soak in the spirit of a Goan monsoon, then you have to plan a trip during the festivals. These festivals are unique to Goa and each one has an interesting story behind it. This is Goa beyond the ordinary.
Festivals during monsoon
Sao Joao Fest
Goa readies itself for the gala Sao Joao fest celebrated on June 24. This monsoon feast has special significance in Christianity as it is dedicated to St John the Baptist, the firebrand prophet. The celebration of San Joao goes back nearly 150 years, when San Joao revelers from Chapora and Zhor villages of Anjuna, Badem in Assagao and Siolim would come up year after year in boats to the chapel of Sao Joao in Periera Vaddo, Siolim, to pay homage and take part in the traditional dali. The festival takes place at the beginning of monsoon season in Goa and people of all ages celebrate by jumping into wells, streams and ponds.
When: June 24
Where: Siolim, Goa
It is a Jackfruit festival called ‘Ponsachem Fest’ celebrated on the occasion of Sao Joao. Parish priest Fr Santana Carvalho said that the inspiration for the festival comes from Sao Joao itself. This is an occasion to savour Goa’s choicest jackfruits and the scrumptious items made from it.
When: June 24
Where: Socorro village
Sangodd – the feast of St. Peter
The Feast of St. Peter, also known as Sangodd, is a monsoon-based celebration by Goa’s local fishing community. Their boats are tied together to form rafts, which serve as makeshift stages. On these stages are erected miniature models of chapels or churches.
When: June 29
Where: Everywhere in Goa
Chikalkalo is another traditional festival
Another happening event is the Chikalkalo. People celebrate Chikalkalo, a traditional festival, at Marcel, Goa. It is an annual traditional event in which people of Marcel village take part after the ‘Ashadi Ekadashi’.
When: End of July
Where: Marcel, Goa
Cucumber as offerings to St. Anne
The magnificent Church of St Anne also known as the Santana Church locally, is the scene of the very unusual feast every year. The Church located at Talaulim in Tiswadi taluka, is dedicated to St Anne. The 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 Anne and carry them home to eat. Touxeachem Fest (in Konkani) literally translates as the Cucumber Feast in English. Besides the huge number of devotees from all around Goa, a large number of newly married couples also attend the festival.
When: July 29
Where: Talaulim in Tiswadi taluka
Patollio, a sweet made of jaggery and rice
It is a feast depicting the rich and old Goan culture. This festival 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 and is blessed by parish priest Fr Santana Carvalho and is served to all.
When: August 15
Where: Socorro village
Keeping a date with the bygone era
Bonderam festival is local to the quaint island of Divar, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. In remembrance of old territorial battles that took place on the island, mock skirmishes are re-enacted by boys and girls wielding fotashes (toy flags made with bamboo) and using berries for missiles.
When: Third or fourth Saturday in the month of August
Where: Island of Divar