India is a land of countless festivals, in stride with the cycle of the seasons. These proceed with sowings and harvesting and around them have grown legends, most of them portraying the victory of good over evil. These fairs and festivals confer color and gaiety to life of the Indians. Some festivals and fasts are specific protocols of religion which aims towards communication with the Almighty. The Indian calendar is marked by superfluity of such big and small occasions. Some festivals are mainly of religious nature, and others are related more to, change of season and harvesting. They have a retentive past and many have gone through major alterations. The vivacity of the people is reflected in the colorful liveliness of the fairs and festivals. Processions, prayers, new attires, dance, music etc. are essentials related to any of such celebration. Though, the fervor for some of the festivals also seems to be disappearing, yet they are capable of bringing about a change in the lifestyle of the people.
Time for celebrating the Feast of St. Francis Xavier :
The Feast of St. Francis Xavier in Goa begins each year from 21st November and continues up to 2nd January. Certainly there can be no better time to plan your trip to Goa. It gives you the superb opportunity to be a part of a religious festival and fair and also be witness to the extravagant carnival.
Description of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier in Goa:
St. Francis Xavier, referred to as "Goencho Saib" (Lord of Goa) by Goans, is the Patron Saint of Goa. The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is a feast held every year on the 3rd of December - the day he was buried - after nine days of prayer, called the Novena. The Feast of St. Francis Xavier hosts a variety of ceremonies to honor the Saint's death. It has gained more importance this year due to the 16th Solemn Exposition of holy remnants of the Saint from November 21 to January 2. The silver chest containing the relics of the Saint is kept at the Cathedral for the veneration and kissing of devotees since November 21.
Over 2 lakhs devotees from across the country as well as overseas attend the Feast, which has a Pontifical Mass executed by a congregation of superior clergy.
The whole set-up is changed overnight during the yearly novenas and Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Pilgrims come together on the Born Jesus Basilica from far-away Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from neighboring Karnataka and Maharashtra, as well as from the most distant corners of the Peninsula, and even from distant countries. The crowd reaches its zenith on the Feast day when all the roads in Goa lead to the Basilica. Thousands of people assemble to Old Goa on the occasion of the Feast on St. Francis Xavier and make a mock of the transport system that is provided disgustingly insufficient to cope with the rush. The gardens and wide open spaces that are generally deserted are, during these days, crowded with pilgrims symbolizing the whole mosaic of Indian races and religions. St. Francis Xavier is often conjured up by his followers for his curative powers.