Nagpancham: A Tribute to Nature

THE Hindu community in Goa celebrated the annual festival of Nagpanchami, an auspicious occasion when the snake, considered as the ornament of Lord Shiva, is worshipped.

The day generally begins with the puja of a mud replica of a snake; in Guirm, there was an old man who used to make the puja of a live snake. Then there could be singing of “artis” by the menfolk, while the women dance the exuberant “fugddi”. The youngsters are content with the traditional Goan sweet called “patolleo”.

It is a nature-friendly Hindu festival. On this day, the people abstain from ploughing or digging in the field or anywhere else, in a symbolic gesture of protecting the snakes, meaning wildlife.

Legend has it that on Nagpanchami day, a farmer killed the brood of a ‘naginn’ (snake) while ploughing in the field. The snake, in vengeance, bit and killed the farmer and his family. Then she went to the house of the farmer’s daughter, who was married and living elsewhere. However, when the ‘naginn’ reached there, wishing to kill the farmer’s daughter, she found that the woman had cleaned the house and prepared a place in the house with flagrant flowers to welcome the snake. Taken by surprise, the snake felt sorry for the woman and told her that she would revive her father and the entire family, she had killed earlier.

St Ann’s feast

festival2The parish of Santana in Tisvaddi celebrated the feast of their patroness St Ann on July 29. The feast, popularly called “Touxeanchem Fest” (Cucumber Feast) is attended largely, particularly by newly married couples, who come to seek the blessings of St Ann, who herself was blessed with a child after 40 years of barren life.

Generally, at other feasts in Goa, one finds stalls of khajem-kaddio-boddio (sweets) and chonnem (grams). But in Santana you find several rustic women and kids selling mainly cucumbers, which are in season at the time of the year. Devotees take the cucumbers, place them at the feet of St Ann and carry them home to eat.

The village population comprises mostly of rural folk, who thrive on farming. It is really interesting to note that even Hindus celebrate the feast and come to the church to pay their respects to St Ann. Even while the mass is going on, there is a continuous line of Hindu devotees waiting to touch the statue of St Anne in the massive church, which is badly in need of restoration.

Vasco “Saptah”

In Vasco, the seven-day event called Saptah began on July 25, at the Damodar temple, which is attached to the house of automobile magnate Vasant Joshi. One of the largest fairs, gathers along the road, from the temple to the taxi stand. People come here from all over the State to watch the glittering ceremonies, particularly the “pars”, or decorated tableaux coming from various wards. There is always a cultural programme with devotional songs for which wellknown artistes perform.

Feast of St Christopher in Tivim

The annual feast of St Christopher was celebrated by the parish of Tivim in Bardez on July 29 with masses at 6.45 am, 8.15 am and 9.30 am (High Mass). Vehicles were blessed after each mass.