St. Peter, having been a fisherman himself before throwing down his nets and following Christ, is beloved amongst the fisher folk of Goa. The feast is celebrated on the 29th of June most notably at Orda. It is a day of great festivity and the 150 year old tradition of Sangodd demonstrates the artistic and cultural talents of the people.
From traditional Konkani songs to tiatr the life of the saint as well as the life of the people is cleverly illustrated by the performers. The festivities are engaging and colourful, and this is a great way to spend a day in Goa during the monsoon season.
The traditional sangodds (stages made by roping together fishing boats) are floated down the rivers of Goa accompanied by singing, dancing and tiatr. One of the best places to go to is the church in the village of Panelim, known as Sao Pedro because St. Peter is its patron.
The celebrations are also at their zenith in Candolim, Ribandar, Siolim and Agacem. At Ribandar the festitvities begin in the morning at the Ribandar-Chorao ferry wharf, move down the river to Patto, Ribandar before returning in the evening.
The Candolim festivities have two sangodds one from Orda and one from Saipem, the two wards of the area.
The feast day is kicked off in the morning with a grand feast mass held at the village church. There is also a substantial gala that takes place after the mass. Before the mass, the priest blesses the Sangodd as well as the ‘areca’ poles that the fishermen use. He also blesses a small chapel on the riverbank dedicated to St. Peter. It is only after the blessings and the mass that the Sangodd celebrations begin, in the afternoon.
A Sangodd is the tying together of two boats. This represents the binding of faith and also provides a temporary stage. A chapel and often a statue of St. Peter are erected on this stage. The Sangodd then forms part of a procession that parades down the river to the accompaniment of the traditional Mandos and Taitr. They make several stops along the way and they repeat their performance at each one.
The Sangodd is generally viewed by the bulk of the people from the riverbank, where they chant “Viva Sao Pedro!”. The Sangodd is well known in the Bardez Taluka and in the towns of Candolim and Sinquerim.
St. Peter was originally names Simon, before Jesus rechristened him. He was a fisherman, who decided to leave his fishing nets and boats to follow Christ. He has the added distinction of being the ‘rock’ upon which Christ built his Church. He died a martyr’s death.
St. Paul was originally not a believer. Not only did he not believe but he was a persecutor of the early Christian people. His name at that time was Saul. He was converted to the faith after being struck blind and then healed by a follower of Christ. He later became a staunch believer and is known for having written many epistles to the people of that time, setting down the articles of faith and exhorting them to live the way of Christ. Read More +
The feast of St. Peter and Paul, is an excellent example of how the Goan people have taken Christianity and made it unique to their culture. They have blended elements of Goan tradition into the fabric of Christian celebrations. This is a great festival to go for if you are in Goa during the monsoons.