Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Three Kings Feast – Grandiose Celebrations of Goa

One of the most popular and enthusiastically celebrated by people irrespective of their caste, creed and political affections, the Three Kings Feast is celebrated annually on the Epiphany or 6th of January in Goa especially in the Three Kings Church which is placed on the Cuelim Hill. The festival is devoted to the Three Kings or the Magi or the wise men from the east who came with their gifts to give it to the infant Jesus Christ. The feast is offered to the Lady of the Mount who is believed to be the protector of the people.   

History:
The festival is celebrated to honor the three kings who followed a guiding star that announced the birth of the king-Jesus Christ over 2, 000 years ago. The three kings brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh for infant Jesus Christ; thus the festival is celebrated depicting the three king’s visit to the Lady of the Mount with huge processions and participations from all the people. 

The Legend: According to a legend, a stone on a closely hill is stamped with footprints of two babies and of a adult, together with a furrow carved out of a rock marking the spot where the Virgin Mary rested with the infant Christ while the horse quenched its thirst. All this happened before proceeding to the hill of the remedies where she chose to remain.   

Celebrations: Three boys aged in between 8 to 12 are selected from 3 villages namely Arossim, Cuelim and Cansualim to enact as three kings and visit the chapel. But nine day before the final day, large number of Hindu and Christian devotees visits the chapel and seek blessings.  

The Nossa Senhora dos Remedios chapel popularly known as the Church of the Three Kings founded by Fr Gonsalo Carvalho in 1599 is the main venue for this grandiose celebration; the chapel is allied to the St Thomas Church of Cansualim. The lady of mount is supposed to fulfill wishes of every devotee thus the processions of this festivity are carried out for a span of 9 days ending in the Epiphany or 6th January. 

Main Attractions:
On the day of the real celebrations, attired in Kings dress with a crown on their head they travel on horseback through varied paths and meet some distance away from the Chapel of Our lady of remedies (Nossa Senhora dos Remedios) which is placed atop the hill in Cuelim. Attired like a king they are followed by a huge procession of music and dances and are led by a boy beating a kettle drum, the three boys carries the gifts of the original Three Kings – gold, frankincense and myrrh and continue to the chapel together. All of them put their gifts in the feet of the Jesus statute.

Amazing fair is held all round the week with people singing, dancing, eating, drinking and cheering from sunrise till nightfall. Visitors can purchase brassware, copper, metal, clothes, furniture, toys, trinkets, glass bangles, sweet meats and spices of all sorts.