St. Sebastiao and Sao Tome at Fontainhas to Host First Edition of the ‘Festa do Povo’, Festival of the People in December
~ The people’s festival aims to revive the city’s communities and celebrate the spirit of Goa.
~ Spotlight will be on local food, music and dance during the Festa do Povo.
Panaji, December 2023- Renowned musicians, culinary artists, restaurant brands, senior artists, apprentices, citizens, among leading civil society figures from Panaji, will lead the organisation of the first edition of the upcoming ‘Festa do Povo’, which celebrates the people of Goa in the state’s capital in December. The festival is supported by the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) and is crowdfunded through contributions by well wishers.
Spread over two days and scheduled to be held in Fontainhas, the Festa do Povo will roll out on December 9 at the St. Sebastiao ward from 7 pm-10pm and at the Sao Tome ward on December 10 from 6 pm-10 pm. Both wards are located in Panaji’s iconic Latin Quarter.
St. Sebastiao ward will host folk music by performers like Carlos Meneses, who is a part of ‘Ekchar’. “We will be playing the mandos, dulpods and other popular music in Konkani as well as the fados. Fados are classified as Portuguese urban folk music,” said Carlos.
Stalls offering delectable food inspired by Indo-Portuguese influences will be set up by residents from the vicinity. Christopher Menezes, a resident of St. Sebastiao ward says: “The food at our festival will be Goan centric, prepared by the women of the ward. There will be a distinct Goan and Portuguese flavour with dishes like feijoada, apa de camarao, pasteis de nata besides traditional Goan snacks sourced from within the ward (Bairro)”.
Stalls will also be set up by local bars and restaurant owners. Traditional Goan breads loaded with beef, pork and vegetarian fillings will be served at a stall ‘Pinto Sando’, set up by Russell Pinto.
Set in the vibrant Latin Quarter, the Festa do Povo revelry is poised to reverberate throughout the Sao Tome neighbourhood. The festivity route will begin from opposite O’ Pierre, where a children’s choir ‘Ektaal’ trained by Nayantara Mascarenhas De Lima Leitao will perform Christmas carols. Bands like ‘Still Waters’ will revive old vibes by playing jazz music and ‘Sound of Music’ will belt out retro music, an old-time favourite.
Festa do Povo attendees can then head towards Ashok Bar. The restaurant’s famous Goan chicken Xacuti will be available at their stall at the event. Modern Goan-Japanese poee sandwiches and delicious festive beverages will be served by Mo’s Cafe. A fusion of pan Asian elements along with hints from Portuguese and Goan cuisine such as pork and cherry vindalho dimsum and Goan pork chorizo bao buns will be served by Tataki- Immersive Asian Dining. A small, cosy stage will also be set up for performances.
Greenr Cafe, embracing local ingredients with a distinctive Goan and Portuguese influence, will offer dishes such as jackfruit cafreal and the shroom-balls recheado. Petisco and Larder + Folk will also have their stalls exhibited. Padaria Prazeres will showcase their stall and a barbeque stall will be hosted by Atish Fernandes of Miski and Joseph Bar.
At the Gomes Pereira road, the duo, Sancho e Tasha, will perform old school English and Konkani classics, while drinks and snacks will be served at stalls by Antonio’s and Joseph bars. Middle Eastern dishes with a Goan touch such as chorico hummus and cafreal shawarmas will be conjured by chef Raul Gomes Pereira.
According to Antonieta George, Fontainhas resident and owner of a popular cafe-cum-lodge, Relax Inn, “A few of the items at our stall will include Portuguese-inspired delicacies like sorpotel, sanna and stew. Goan snacks like sausage bread, forminhas, rissois and local sweets like alle belle will also be served,” said Antonieta.
Adding musical cheer to the Festa do Povo are musicians like Francis Paul Menezes, a member of The Riffs band. “The Riffs will showcase Goan art, heritage and culture through our music by performing various Konkani and Portuguese hits besides other genres,” said Francis Paul
Open-air art displays exhibiting the creativity and craft of 20 artists will also be installed throughout the locality and its heritage residential homes. Students from the Goa College of Art will also display their works of art at the site.
Voices from the Latin Quarter:
Comment from Roy Botelho- Proprietor of Hospedaria Abrigo De Botelho
I’m thrilled to witness our community uniting for Festa do Povo—a celebration of local home-cooked delights and the soulful tunes of fados and mandos. It’s heartwarming to see neighbours fostering connections through shared meals and music.
Comment from Chef Raul Gomes Pereira- Chef Partner – Passcode Hospitality
We intend on bringing the flavours of the Middle East with a touch of Goa, to the Festa do Povo. Some of the dishes will be chorico hummus , green chilli, peanut hummus , cafreal shawarmas and more.
This is the first step towards a community building in Panjim and it must be encouraged. I’m excited and happy to be a part of this festival and look forward to this becoming a regular affair.
Comment from Akshay Quenim- Owner of Tataki- Immersive Asian Dining
We are curating a fusion of pan Asian elements along with hints from Portuguese and Goan cuisine. We have come up with a beautiful pork and cherry vindalho dimsum and a Goan pork chorizo bao bun.
The restaurant business includes frequently meeting people from different places and walks of life. We are humbled that the Festa do Povo gives us the opportunity to meet our very own people of Fontainhas in our neighbourhood.
Comment from Moina Oberoi- Owner of Mo’s Cafe
I am really excited about the Festa do Povo, especially for giving those who are new to the neighbourhood a taste of old traditions and culture.
We are serving modern Goan Japanese poee sandwiches and delicious festive beverages like – chicken xacuti togarashi cream poee sandwich and Christmas peppermint hot chocolate with roasted marshmallow.
Comment from Russell Pinto- Owner of Pinto Sando
Pinto Sando is a Classic Sandwich shop that serves delicious beef, pork and vegetarian fillings loaded in traditional Goan breads. Some of the dishes we will serve are beef steak sandwich, pork roast sandwich and herbed mushroom melt sandwich.
Fontainhas and Sao Tome are perfect places for a community event like the Festa do Povo. The area is so rich and vibrant with heritage and culture existing over a hundred years old. It’s visible in the very walls of houses themselves. Tourists come from all over the world to experience this area. So it is only fitting that the local community come together in a celebration like this.
Comment from Pranav Dhuri- Co- Owner of Petisco Kitchen and Bar
We are going in with our Petisco styled dishes, using local ingredients to bring a global pop on the plate to give a feel of nostalgia to everyone. Our dishes include fried pork with feni glaze and pork crackling dust, alsande bean tacos and chicken skewers with kokum chilli glaze.
It is a great initiative, I love that people from the entire locality are being involved and are a part of the fest and stalls. It’s a great feeling of togetherness. Hoping for this to happen every year.
Comment from Natasha Abreu- From duo-Sancho e Tasha (music band)
I, Natasha come from this quaint location of Panjim, where all the legends including their brilliant ideas were brought to life and where all the major innovative Panjim traditions and fetes birthed.
So our music stems from our old traditions. Old school English classics, well known Konkani songs (which are still sung in every household) and our main musical essence is our love for Portuguese / Spanish bailas and Latino beats, which unknowingly runs within us. No better way to connect the festa with the povo than with rhythmic tempos and nostalgic moments of what used to be.
Comment from Marino De Souza- Member of Sound of Music (music band)
We are a band that deals in doing music from Goa. So we do Portuguese, a little English, konkani music and that itself connects us to the audiences and to everybody at large. It is a great thing. I am from a place called Aldona and we have been celebrating an event similar to this in Aldona for three years now that happens every December, so it’s nice that Panjim has also decided to have something like this. I would like to add to keep up the good work and it is nice to showcase the place, the food, the talent and the music because in time, I do not know what is going to happen, everybody might forget what things this was all about, the way things are changing rapidly. Carry on this festival as long as you can.
Comment from Daniella Rodrigues- Member of Still Waters (music band)
The organisers of the Festa do Povo said the requirement was for jazz to revive the old vibes again and we will be playing jazz.