Herald: Navelim Feast -- a devotion to Our Lady

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Navelim Feast -- a devotion to Our Lady

19 Nov 2014 12:37am IST

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19 Nov 2014 12:37am IST

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NAVELIM: Preparations for the feast of Our Lady of Rosary begin on the third Wednesday of November. This devotion to Our Lady comprises an extensive celebration which begins with novenas and traditional processions.

By way of external preparations, each year the family selected to celebrate the feast, paints the church on the outside 15 days before the feast. The church is also beautifully decorated inside with traditional buntings and the outside is bedecked with glowing lights. 

Most of the houses and streets in the village are also decorated with colourful lights during the celebrations. 

Every four years, the statue of Our Lady of Rosary is brought down from the altar and taken in procession to Holy Rosary School where a solemn mass is held at the school ground. 

During this one day consecration of Our Lady, school students act out scenes from the Bible before a large audience of villagers.

The celebrations start on the third Wednesday in November at 3:00 am, where a beautifully decorated statue of Our Lady is taken in a candlelight procession towards the church. Everyday for the following nine days, the Novenas are held between 5 pm and 8 pm. 

On the tenth day masses begin at 5 am and the celebration of the feast continues for the next three days.

In the evenings, a grand fireworks display is sponsored by the family selected to celebrate the feast that year. Throughout the day and night there are Konkani concerts and plays. 

In addition there are dances held in the evenings which are well attended by eager revellers. Like many other traditional Goan feast, at the Navelim feast too villagers invite friends and relations from other villages along with families and friends for celebration at their homes. 

They usually visit each others’ homes carrying trays of traditional Goan sweets especially prepared at home, ahead of the feast.

NAVELIM FAIR: The fair is an inseparable part of any village feast in Goa. 

Our Lady of Rosary feast being one of the largest in South Goa, also has a grand fair which takes place to add to the festivities. 

After the religious festivities are over, devotees flock to the fair to buy roasted grams and other traditional eatables from the fair. 

According to legend, in earliest times, the Navelim church fair consisted mainly of three or four sheds and lasted only for a day, because there was superstition that on the same night of the feast day, there was a gathering of devils in the area in front of the church.

Dr Francisco Salvador Gomes, father of Dr Francisco Luis Gomes, who was the administrator of Salcete, encouraged some of the owners of the sheds to extend the fair for three days. 

This was done, and the fair gained in prominence so much so that today it is one of the most popular fairs in Goa.

Today the fair comprises stalls selling toys, food and clothing. 

There are booths for games as well as a Fun Fair with merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels. In addition, there are furniture stalls, utensils and implements stalls, as well as stalls selling animals for farming such as goats, cows and buffaloes.
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