Paying homage to the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier, the feast of St Francis Xavier is one of the best celebrations in the state. Every year from the 21st November to 2nd January, believers from all over the world gather to celebrate the death anniversary of the revered saint that falls on the 3rd December. The Basilica of Bom Jesus house the silver casket that shelters the mortal remains of the saint.
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 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 a worshipped deity. He was one of the first of Jesuit leaders to have stepped in Goa to promote Christianity. The annual feast held on the 3rd of December marks the day he was buried. After nine days of prayer, called the Novena the festival hosts a variety of ceremonies to honor the Saint's death. A Pontifical Mass is executed by a congregation of superior clergy.
Each year Goa gets in the festive mood almost an overnight before the yearly novenas and continues for a month after the festival. On the Feast day the Basilica of Bom Jesus becomes the centre of millions of devotees. St. Francis Xavier is often conjured up by his followers for his curative powers and the feast is the perfect occasion to get blessed.
Of particular note is a miraculous legend of the saint. Even after 400 years of his death, the corpse has not decayed. Even now in its good conditions, the corpse in its silver casket is open for exposition. The last occasion of exposition of St Francis Xavier was in 2014 and falls every 10 years, therefore the next date the casket will be open to worshippers is in 2024.
Dates of the Feast of St Francis Xavier
Though the date that marks the ceremony falls on the 3rd of December every year, believers from all over assemble in Goa from 21st November to 2nd January.