December 3rd, is celebrated as the Feast of St. Francis Xavier in the beautiful state of Goa. The day marks the anniversary of the beloved Saint’s death, where thousands gather to offer prayers at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa. This annual festival, known as the Feast of St Francis Xavier or Goinchea Saibache Fest, (Lord of Goa Festival), is the biggest of all the Christian festivals in Goa. People from near and far come to participate in the morning mass.
St Francis Xavier came to Goa as a missionary in 1542 and he is celebrated to this day. The love and warmth extended to the Saint is part due to his ability to adapt to the regions he preached in alongwith their languages. He could be described as a ‘people’s person’ and could mix easily with people irrespective of social class, beliefs and races. However, his life was cut short when he contracted fever during his missions on an island near mainland China in 1552, at the age of 46. St. Francis Xavier’s body was brought back to be rested in Goa.
Feast of St. Francis Xavier Celebration:
Every year on the 3rd of December, The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated with great pomp in the beautiful state of Goa. Both the cathedral as well as the intersecting roads near it are decorated beautifully and entire Goa comes alive with festivities and merrymaking.
Roadside fair for the feast – A Heaven for Street Shoppers
Vendors from all over the state put up their stalls with delectable goodies and knick knacks around the Church for the feast. They are operational right from the start of the Novenas (Special Prayer services) that commence from November 21st. The whole lane near the Bom Basilica is blocked for this cause. You can find a wide range of products right from handmade trinkets, souvenirs and jewellery to mouth-watering festival treats at this fair. With the right bargain, you might even get lucky to take these goodies home at jaw-dropping prices.
What it means to Goans?
Today we celebrate and venerate a saint who keeps the soul of Goa alive infusing it with the spirit of brotherhood and unity. And for centuries he has been our protector. Goans, irrespective of caste and creed, celebrate the Feast of St. Francis Xavier on December 3 on a grand scale. Known as Goencho Saib, the saint is a binding force for Goans in Goa and around the world.
However, this year keeping in mind safety protocols due to the ongoing pandemic, the novenas and mass offered for the Feast of St. Francis Xavier will be conducted virtually by the Church.
JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Goa wishes everyone a very Happy Feast of St. Francis Xavier!
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