The festivities of São João Batista is an important cultural and religious event on the island of Santo Antão, in Cape Verde. This celebration, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, is marked by vibrant festivities that mix religious devotion with local traditions.

Key aspects of the party

  1. Date and Duration:

The festival is celebrated annually on June 24, but preparations and related events often begin days or even weeks in advance.

  1. Religious ceremonies:

 The celebration revolves around a solemn Catholic mass celebrated in honor of Saint John the Baptist.

 23/06 – Highlights include the processions with the statue of Saint John the Baptist, with devotees parading through the streets, accompanied by hymns and prayers.

  1. Traditional Music and Dance:

   The festivities are rich in local music and dance, with emphasis on the traditional “coladeira” and “morna”.

Drums and folk dancing are common, adding a lively, rhythmic element to the celebration.

  1. Cultural activities:

 The festival includes several cultural activities, such as theater performances, poetry readings and traditional games.

 Art exhibitions and craft fairs showcasing local talent and crafts are also typical.

  1. Gastronomy:

Food plays a central role in the celebrations, with locals preparing and sharing traditional Cape Verdean dishes.

Common foods include cachupa (a hearty stew), grilled meats, and various sweets and pastries.

  1. Community Involvement:

The festival is a time of community unity, with residents and visitors coming together to celebrate.

 It is also a time for families to come together, often involving members who live abroad and return home for the festivities.

  1. Historical and cultural significance:

The festivities of São João Batista has deep historical roots, reflecting the cultural heritage and religious traditions of the island.

 Symbolizes the fusion of African and Portuguese influences that characterize Cape Verdean culture.


The festivities of São João Batista on Santo Antão Island is a vibrant and meaningful celebration that encompasses Cape Verde’s rich cultural and religious traditions. It is a time of joy, community and reverence, offering a unique insight into the island way of life.

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