Good Friday Celebrations in Panjim

Good Friday is a day of sincere reverence among Goan Catholics. It is the culmination of Lent, an important observance in the lives of devout Catholics. Lent is observed for 40 days from February to March, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on Good Friday followed by Easter Sunday.

gfrid02In Panjim, hundreds of devout Goan Catholics gather in the Panjim Church of Mary Immaculate Conception to listen to mass and participate in the Way of the Cross. During the afternoon sermon, the priests narrate the sufferings that Jesus Christ took upon himself for the sake of humanity. The mass is in Konkani, Goa’s state language, attracts a crowd too large for the church itself, and people stand in the doorways and in the premises, dressed in formal clothes with somber countenance.

After the mass, the crucifix, which until this time has been kept from view, is now uncovered before the crowd for veneration. A very somber ceremony, the Way of the Cross is a reenactment of the path Jesus took on Mount Calvary before the Crucifixion. In Pan jim, which draws the largest crowd, a large wooden cross carried by an image of Jesus is taken from the church, down the steps, and through the streets of the town. It is carried by the clergymen while the crowd follows in two parallel lines in front of and in back of the statue, some weeping and all with very solemn faces.

Those not participating in the actual procession look on from the road sides, both Hindus and Christians alike.

Somber music played by a band accompanies the procession which slowly winds its way through the main streets in Panjim before returning to the church.The mass and procession occur in every church in Goa, but the one in Panjim draws the largest crowd.

Article & Photographs by
Karin Larsen [Fulbright Research Student]