Pomp and gaiety mark ‘Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary’

The devout offer flowers to Mother Mary as a part of Blessed Virgin Mary’s feast at Holy Cross Church Cordel in Kulshekar on Saturday.

The members of the Christian community in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasargod districts celebrated the Nativity of Blessed Virgin of Mary with religious fervour, pomp and gaiety on Saturday.

For Konkani-speaking Catholic community members in coastal districts, September 8 is a significant day as it is celebrated as the ‘Thene Habba’ or ‘New Corn or Harvest’ festival. The occasion is also marked by thanksgiving mass for the blessing of a good harvest.

As a preparation to the feast, children used to take flowers arranged in baskets to their respective churches and offer them to Mother Mary on nine days preceding the feast.

On Saturday, hundreds of children had brought flowers from faraway places to their respective churches and offered them to Mother Mary.

Prior to the commencement of the mass, the first corn from the field is brought to the altar in a procession and it was blessed by the priest.

Sugarcane, vegetables, flowers, fruits and bread were brought in the offertory procession. A statue of Mother Mary was also carried in the procession.

Most of the parishes had arranged distribution of sugarcane to children who had brought flowers to offer to Mary. A few parishes also distributed blessed Payasam in which the dehusked corns were powdered and mixed.

As a part of celebrations, parishioners donated vegetables, coconuts, rice and other things and the same was distributed to the poor in the parish, old age homes and orphanages.

Bishop Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza celebrated the festival mass at Rosario Cathedral.

In his message, Bishop-Elect Rev Fr Peter Paul Saldanha said, “Mother Mary played an important role in the salvation history. Therefore, God created her free from original sin. The birth of Mother Mary proclaims God’s love to the world. Her faith-filled life is the model for all Christians. Celebrating her birthday as New Corn Day or family feast is a great privilege for us. Therefore, let us honour Mary, accept her queenship in our families as we dine together.”

Get together

The feast is celebrated as a family feast with a ceremonial lunch in which only vegetarian food was served.

In the past, up to 11 or 13 varieties of vegetarian dishes (usually only odd numbers) were prepared. However, now it is limited to five to seven dishes.

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 the ear of paddy corn will be sent to them by post to faraway places like Gulf countries, the USA and Europe.

According to the tradition, after the corn is blessed in the church, it is powdered and mixed with a dish made out of coconut milk and rice batter and is served along with the lunch.

Udupi report

Most Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi, diocese joined the devotees of St John Evangelist Church Pangla Shankerapura in celebrating the Feast of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary.

New grains were blessed by the Bishop in front of the Marian Grotto. Gurkars of the 21 wards took grains in Entrance procession as a sign of offering it to God.

Deacon Jithesh Castelino preached homily highlighting the day’s importance.

Bishop Gerald, in his address, recalled the teaching of Pope Francis on family during his visit to Ireland where he preached that families should pray together, eat together and spend time in each others’ company. Words like ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ should be used often in families, he said.

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Pomp and gaiety mark ‘Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary’

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