Mangaluru, Sep 9, 2015 : The Konkani-speaking Catholic community living in the coastal districts, marked September 8 with special significance as the day is also celebrated as the day of ‘New Corn or harvest.’ The occasion is also marked by thanksgiving mass for the blessing of a good harvest. Konkani Christian community in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasargod districts celebrated the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, on Tuesday Sept 8.
In preparation to the feast, children bring flowers arranged in trays, and baskets to their respective churches and offer them to Mother Mary on the nine days preceding the feast.
Hundreds of children brought flowers from far away places to their respective churches in the coastal districts. As the celebartions began in the morning, the skys opened and rain cancelled processions in some churches. Soon after the mass, the new blessed corn was distributed to families. The parishes had arranged for distribution of sugar cane to children. As a part of celebrations, parishioners donated rice, vegetables and coconuts among other things and the same was distributed to the poor in the parish besides to old age homes and orphanages. At the end of the mass, the blessed ears of paddy, corn and sugar cane were taken home by the people.
Family Tradition : Traditionally, the feast celebrated as a family feast with a ceremonial lunch, in which only vegetarian food is served. In the past 9, 11 or 13 varieties of vegetarian dishes (usually in odd numbers) were prepared.
The day is also an occasion for all the family members to unite. It is a practice that if any member of the family cannot attend the celebrations, then an ear of paddy or corn will be sent to them by post. Sometimes they are sent as far as West Asian countries, US and Europe. As per the tradition, after de-husking the corn blessed in the church, it is powdered and mixed with a dish made out of coconut milk and rice batter, and is partaken along with the lunch. In Kanara this tradition strengthened more than 200 years ago on the banks of the Nethravathi at Arkula/Farangipete where the original old monastery can still be seen. It evolved and spread where ever Konkani Catholics are settled the world over now.