DOHA-QATAR:  Goan Welfare Association members at their Sao Joao festival celebrations at Al Andalus compound recently  Members of the Goan Welfare Association (GWA), an organisation of Indian expatriates from the resort state of Goa, recently celebrated a popular festival.
The Sao Joao festival, as the event was called, is usually celebrated by residents of the former Portuguese colony. The occasion is marked by villagers who jump into wells according to centuries' old tradition of the festival.
They also eat plenty of fruits and indulge in revelry. In Salcette and its suburbs in Goa, where the celebrations are held on a large scale, different types of folk dances are held. Fruits and other eatables are exchanged between friends and relatives.
At Doha's Al Andalus Compound on Thursday, it was virtually a reenactment of the festival as it is celebrated in Goa.
The Goan youth in Qatar made the event memorable by wearing crowns of leaves and fruits and went out in a procession before jumping into the swimming pool in the residential compound.  The participants later enjoyed a lavish feast of meat and seafood.  Usually, the Sao Joao festival is celebrated in the rainy season as people believe rains would bring more such occasions.
Earlier, GWA president Simon D'Silva explained the significance of the festival and recalled the celebrations in his youth in Goa.
D'Silva introduced the chief guest, Ronnie Serrao, who came from Chicago to attend the festival.  In his speech, Serrao explained the tradition of Sao Joao festival among the Goans. Cajetan Rodrigues, GWA director of events, proposed a vote of thanks.


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