Wednesday 17 Jul 2024

Goans celebrate São João festival with fervour in Doha

ARMSTRONG VAZ | JUNE 28, 2024, 11:51 PM IST
Goans celebrate São João festival with fervour in Doha


Goans based in Qatar celebrated São João festival under the banner of ‘Goan Community Qatar’ with traditional fervour and with a large dash of traditional touch.

Over 150 people attended the celebrations, which included a few guests from Japan, South Africa, Croatia and Indonesia, all who are based in Qatar.

The European, Asian and African guests, where the special invitees at the event, and they experienced Goan hospitality and the vibrant spirit of the community and its culture at the colorful event

São João, celebrated every year on June 24 in honour of St John the Baptist, is one occasion when Goans living abroad go all-out to drench themselves in Goan tradition and revelries. From dressing up in vibrant and colourful attire, donning the floral headgear called kopel to preparing traditional Goan food.

The event witnessed a crowd of varying ages, from one-year olds to 70+ plus, who took special delight and enjoyed the event to the thrill.

It is worthwhile to mention that it is the first time São João festival is held in Qatar on such a grand scale and served home food, which went very well with the crowd.

Incidentally, Rita and Sherwin D’Souza were the youngest couple while Teresa and Simon Silveira were the Senior couple, married as they are for the last 53 years.

Summing up, the Goan community spirit, John De Sa, said: “We had a few guests from Japan, South Africa, Croatia and Indonesia, who were thrilled to experience our festivities. We had some live music played by Joshua Carlos on the saxophone, Martin played the ghumot and also the Jambe. It was a great feeling to be surrounded by the entire Goan community."

Martin Mascarenhas added: “We try to keep the spirit of the festivities very local, just the way we celebrated it in Goa. Our guests came with colourful dresses and head gears - kopels - giving it a vibrant spirit.”

The São João party kept Goa's spirit alive and the Goans tapping their feet to Goan numbers with various prizes and contests for children and adults.

The party in Qatar kicked off with the singing of the popular Konkani song by C Alvares on ‘São João’ followed by other songs.

The Goan element continued with guests stuffing themselves up with traditional Chouriço Pão, Green chicken, Pulav, Chouriço meat all cooked at home by Allister Pereira, while Chouriço was done by Kevin Dias (Atlas India) the main sponsor of the event. Maria Alves and daughters Neha and Mabel also assisted in food preparation.

All the food and activities were done by volunteers of the Goa Community of Qatar. Salad was prepared by Jessie Rodrigues e De Sa along with Eva Nunes and Vandana Fernandes and different fruits from Goa were on display at the event. The decoration at the venue was arranged by Libby Fernandes of Chandor.

The function started with a march past while the various winners of the children and adult game winners along with housie prize were awarded.

The other highlights of the event were Peter Braganza bringing a fruit Vhojem, Malini bringing in a baked cake while Maria Goretti Pereira came with a large Vhojem of Atol/Godshem, all which were relished by the guests and appreciated.

Sebastiao Mascarenhas kept the crowd engaged the entire time with several activities including his trademark humour. Vailan Fernandes (youth) interned with him. DJ Nelson Fernandes played a variety of Konkani songs along with English, Hindi and Portuguese and kept the crowd busy dancing all the time.

Sponsors for the event were Kevin Dias (Atlas Trading and Contracting Company), Rosefern Fernandes and DJ Nelson Fernandes.

A number of games were played on the occasion. In the ‘getting coin from the pool’ game, the winners were Lovett Marquis (first) and Stany Desa (second) in the adults category and Skyler Monteah (first) and Mia Fernandes (second) in the childrens category

In the ‘Passing the São João Fruit’, the winners were Theresa Silveira (first) and Anvica Fernandes (second).

The Group Goan Community Qatar was convened under the leadership of Martin Mascarenhas and John De Sa. Committee members consist of seniors from the Goan community and youths (second generation Goans born and raised in Qatar) Aaron Fernandes, Shawn Dias and Vailan Fernandes and Queenie Fernandes, the last two named who prepared the São João backdrop.

The Goan Community Qatar Team Members were, Martin Mascarenhas (Convener), Aaron Fernandes, Allister Pereira, Filomena Alves, Maurice Pereira, Carol Gonsalves, Libby Fernandes, Vailan Fernandes, Delfi Fernandes, Queenie Fernandes, Shawn Dias, Valencio Gomes, Sebastiao Mascarenhas and John De Sa.

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