Pomp and gaiety mark Nativity of Mary

Pomp and gaiety mark Nativity of Mary

Children and elders offer flowers to Mother Mary as a part of feast of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary at a church in Kulashekara in Mangaluru on Sunday. DH Photo

Hundreds of faithfuls took part in the feast of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary in various churches across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts on Sunday. The festival was celebrated with pomp, gaiety and religious fervour.

Every year, September 8 is observed as ‘Thene Habba’ or harvest festival by the members of the Konkani-speaking Catholic community. It is also an occasion marked by thanksgiving mass for blessing good harvest.

Before the main feast, people attend the nine-day novena signifying their devotion to Mother Mary. Normally, children take flowers arranged in baskets to their respective churches and offer them to Mother Mary on the nine days. Traditionally, during this period people have only vegetarian food. Prior to the commencement of mass, the first corn from the field is brought to the Altar in a procession, which is blessed by the priest. Bunches of newly-harvested paddy stalks are blessed in the church and a sheaf is carried home by every Catholic. The sheaf is then de-husked, powdered and served in milk or coconut milk and jaggery. Most of the parishes had arranged distribution of sugarcane and sweets to children.

The feast is celebrated by serving vegetarian food, comprising varieties in odd numbers, for meals. The day is also an occasion for all the family members to unite. It is a practice that if any member of the family can not attend the celebrations, then the ear of paddy or corn is sent to them by post to far away places like Europe, Gulf countries and US.

In Udupi

The feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Monti Fest) was celebrated with devotion and fervor in and around Udupi district on Sunday.

Christians gathered in their respective churches and children offered flowers to Mother Mary. The Church parish priests blessed the new paddy and took it in a procession inside the churches. Priests concelebrated holy Eucharistic masses and the first harvest paddy was distributed to all attendees of the solemn feast.

Bishop of Udupi Diocese Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo participated in the feast ceremony held at Holy Cross Church Pamboor and blessed the new paddy and concelebrated the holy Eucharistic mass along with Fr Henry Mascarenhas Parish Priest of the Church.

In St Antony’s Church at Sastan, Parish Priest Fr John Walter Mendonca blessed the new paddy and concelebrated the holy Eucharistic mass.