Christians here celebrate the St. Mary’s feast in a unique way. It is the most important day for Konkani-speaking Christians who form a majority among Christians here. The way ˜Monthi Fest’ or St Mary’s feast, also known by the name, ˜Nativity of Mary, is being celebrated by the Christians here since long, is not only unique, but also appears to be a way of thanking mother nature and mother earth for the bounteous crops, in addition to paying obeisance to Virgin Mary.
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On the birth anniversary of their beloved ˜Monthi’, the Catholics here restrict themselves to a vegetarian diet. It is also the day on which they have the ˜Nove Jevan (new meal). Every Catholic family collects freshly harvested ears of paddy and sugarcane, which are blessed by the priests. The grains from the paddy so taken home, are crushed and their powder is added to milk. The senior members of every family serve this milk to other members. Many of those, who have settled abroad, specifically come home to take part in ‘Monthi Fest’.The festivities begin nine days in advance and culminate in the feast that marks the birth anniversary of Mother Mary. A day earlier, Catholic Christians clean their houses and some even come to church with an empty stomach. The festival was celebrated with traditional fervour, what with the young and old alike, visiting churches, clad in new clothes.
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