Saturday, March 20, 2010

PROCESSION OF SAINTS - Goan Shutterbugs' Preserving Tradition Event

Goan Shutterbugs' Preserving Tradition Event
(Konkani: Santanchem Pursanv)
22nd March 2010, 4pm

Every year thousands of people flock from different parts of Goa and the world to the village of Goa-Velha to take part in the ‘world famous procession of Saints’. The Church of St Andrew in Goa Velha, hosts the procession on the fifth Monday of Lent. This tradition began in the 17th century by the Franciscan Order in an attempt to boost the moral values and pious behaviour of the community and inspire them to take to their hearts the teachings of Jesus Christ.

By the 18th century, a total of 65 life-size richly decorated statues of saints, martyrs, kings, and queens were carried in palanquins on the shoulders of Native Christians. In 1835, the event was banned by the Marquis of Pombal and during this period, many images and vestment were left uncared, vandalised and destroyed.

The procession of Saints re-started from the new Church of St Andrew Goa-Velha during the Lent of 1868. New images kept adding to the collection and the image of Blessed Joseph Vaz was added as recently as in 2009.

Local devotees carry lifesize statues of saints on their shoulders in a solemn procession around the village. Though a religious occasion, the evening atmosphere is filled with gaiety as the fair (mela) comes to life on the main road outside the church. Typical of any Church feast, the roads are lined with stalls selling everything from sweets to wind-up gadgets. It becomes a whole family affair as people come out in formal clothes to hear mass, watch the procession, and enjoy the gaiety of the outdoor mela.

Goan Shutterbugs Meeting Point :
The Cross on the main road at Goa Velha at 4pm
Contact: Aslesh – 9823530137, Lynn - 9822151419

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