Mangaluru, Sep 08, 2015: Today the city will be full of celebration of the harvest. Konkani Catholics will mark the Birth of the ’Infant Mary’ mother of Christ with a family celebration of the harvest. After the 9 days of flower offerings to the Infant Mary the Harvest Thanksgiving will be marked.
All churches in the region will hold a procession in the morning to bring the corn and sugar cane along with all produce of fruit and vegetables to the church and bless the same. Then a solemn thanksgiving mass will mark the day. At Rosario Cathedral the mass will be celebrated by the Bishop of Mangalore Rt Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza. Further reports may be seen on Mangalore Today website as reports are available.
The Festh : The feast day 8.September is a red letter day for the Konkani Catholics everywhere. The blessing of the Nove - New Rice Corn and first fruits gathered from the fields, a sight bringing back the struggle and values of family and community. A festive Mass is celebrated in the Parish churches, the new rice paddy sheaves are brought to the church in a procession by the Gurkars (leaders) along with sugarcane, fruit and vegetables and solemnly blessed by the priests. Later, the ’Blessed Corn’ is distributed to the adults present, the children are given a whole big ’sugar cane’ ! There is a general festive spirit in the air amidst exchange of Greetings, and the focus shifts to homes and families.
The social focus of this unique festival draws a parallel to local traditions of the ancient Kannadiga farming traditions of the coastal region and the harvest meal partaken in the family home by as many members as possible is special. It is always entirely a purely vegetarian fare with odd number of vegetable dishes usually 7,9,11, 13 and so on. To name some of the vegetables popular for this feast in Konkani: Gosale (furrow gourd), Alsando (long beans), Benda (ladies finger/okra), Karatte(bitter gourd), Dantu ( stem of spinach), Alve or Allu (long stalked stem), Ambade ( hog plum), Thoshe (Cucumber), Chene(Black Bengal gram/Chana), Dudhi(pumpkin), Kuvalo (Ash pumpkin) and other. Narl (Coconut) is widely used and is the main flavour of the community at all times in all dishes. Itoo, Boiled Red Rice, Sanna ( a type of Idli with coconut milk), Appa, and so on are the basic of the meal. A special prayerful tradition is observed: The ’Nove’ newly blessed rice paddy is crushed and sprinkled to the dishes; a special mix of coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom in which crushed blessed paddy is added is given to all the members present after a solemn prayer of thanksgiving according to the family needs. There is much devotion and gratitude to God and providers, in the evening the married children visit parental/elders homes and are generally offered ’Shevio Roce’ (rice noodles with cardamon flavoured coconut sweet milk) again sprinkled with ’blessed corn’ -Nove. It is the Gods that make all things new! The Festh, has become a virtual global observance among larger Kanara communities in Gulf Countries,Canada, US, UK, Australia,Africa and more.