Siolim The Village Everyone Loves
Siolim, one of Goa’s most enchanting villages. A place filled with lush greenery, a lot of peace and tranquility. Siolim (Xivoli) is a village in the Bardez taluka, in the North district of Goa. It is located around the Chapora River, about 7 km from Mapusa. It is known that earlier there were many lions in this place, and hence the name originated from two Konkani words, ‘Xinv’ meaning lion and ‘Halli’ which means a village.
Siolim was one of the earliest places to come under the domination of the Portugese. It has several vadde, including Igrezvaddo, Gaunsavaddo, Bamonvaddo, Marna, Portavaddo, Tarchi Bhatt, Guddem, Aframent, Vaddi and Oxel. Siolim has three panchayats (Siolim-Marna, Siolim-Sodiem, and Siolim-Oxel), two comunidades (Siolim and Marna), and two parishes (Siolim and Tropa). The people of Siolim are known as Siolcars ( Xivolkar). Many musicians, tiatrists, sportspersons, bishops and other personalities hail from Siolim. The well-known cartoonist Alex Raphael Fernandes “Alexyz”, renowned fashion designer, Savio Jon Fernandes, and the internationally recognized musician, Remo Fernandes also hail from Siolim. Siolim also has a few football teams, the most prominent being that of Football Club of Siolim (FC Siolim).
Siolim has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some prettiest natural scenery, much of the real Goa in its interiors. To get the real local flavour of Goa, one must visit the ‘Budwar (Wednesday) Bazar’. Local vendors gather in the market with their home grown fruits and vegetables, brooms, clay pots, kokum, meat, fish, and livestock. Siolim is well known for its fresh water fish, shell fish, and coconut ‘feni’ Just to the North, beyond the Chapora Creek, that Siolim is on, are some of Goa’s most enchanting beaches like Vagator, Anjuna, Baga and Calangute.
St. Anthony’s Church, Siolim
The church in Siolim is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua. Every Tuesday people all over Goa participate in the Eucharist, followed by the novena. The Church is more then 100 yrs old, and possesses two steeples on the frontispiece and a statue of St. Anthony holding a serpent on a leash. This is a depiction of the incident which occurred during the construction of the church, wherein a snake that was disrupting the construction work was found caught in the cord placed in the statue’s hand.
ranciscan missionaries first built a church, the Church of Mae de Deus (Mother of God) at the Sonarkhett hill. It was located centrally to serve the spiritual needs of the new converts in the villages of Anjuna, Assagao, Siolim and Oxel. But being a kutcha structure, it did not survive many years thus leaving behind the black stone cross at Sonarkhett.
In 1600, the missionaries planned for a new and larger church in another location more central to the Christians of Siolim. However this project lacked sufficient funds. At that same time, two Portuguese merchants were caught in a severe storm while sailing from Portugal. They had with them a statue of St. Anthony, and vowed that if they made to port safely, they would build a church where they landed.
It so happened that their ship entered the Chapora River and docked on the left bank near the village of Marna. It was here that they met the Franciscan missionaries looking for funds. The construction of the new church began immediately. But during the course of its construction, the workers faced a huge problem, wherein a snake kept disrupting the construction work. They turned to St. Anthony for help, and placed his statue at the construction site. The next morning, the snake was found caught in the cord placed in the statue’s hand. The new church was then dedicated to St. Anthony, instead of Mae de Deus and possesses two steeples on the frontispiece and a statue of St. Anthony holding a serpent on a leash.
History and celebration of ‘San Joao’
Coming to the cultural side, Siolim is famous for the traditional boat festival and the zagor. The festival of ‘San Joao’ derives its name from St. John the Baptist. It is said that on this day, St. John the Baptist took a leap in his mother’s womb. This leap was considered to be a leap of joy. The celebration of San Joao goes back nearly 150 years, when San Joao revealers from Chapora Anjuna, Badem and Siolim would come up year after year in decorated boats (‘Sangod’) to the chapel of Sao Joao in Periera Vaddo, Siolim, and later proceed to pay homage to the cross opposite the church and take part in the traditional ‘Dali’. People, especially the newly married, or those with a new-born (born after June 24 of the previous year, i.e, the previous Sao Joao) gather with the ‘Dali’ and gifts containing seasonal fruits like mango, pineapples, jackfruits and a bottle of ‘feni’.
It is also known as the ‘Javoiache Fest’ which means the ‘sons-in-law of the village’. Traditionally this is a time where newly wed sons-in-law celebrate at their mothers-in-law’s house. On this occasion, the mother presents the daughter with a basket full of fruits to be taken to their new home, and then they are distributed to friends, relatives and neighbours. People celebrate this day by jumping into lakes, wells and rivers across the state. Young as well as the old wear floral ‘Copels’ (crowns) on their heads, and dance to the beats of the ‘ghumot’ and ‘kansallem’. Cultural performances and rain dances are organised in most of the resorts in Goa.
We invite all you lovely people from Siolim to share photos and articles related to festivals celebrated in the village, history, places to visit, places to eat, etc.
Articles and photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled by Nifty Fernandes & Susanna Fernandes
Edited by Susanna Fernandes