Picturesque Goa

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Saturday, August 15, 2009


Feasts in Goa are commonly celebrated in almost each and every chapel or church dedicated to the village patron saint. It is customary that these feasts be celebrated by the “President” who bears all the expenses involved. In the absence of a president the village celebrates the feast by subscriptions from the people of their particular villages.

Of Village Chapel Feasts

It was the day of the feast of their patron saint in the village chapel. The chapel bell rang at 5 o’clock in the morning. The young boy had told his mother the previous night before going to sleep, to wake him up before five o’clock that morning, as he was very anxious to hear the band play the “Alvarada” soon after the bell. He did not want to miss hearing the tune he liked so much.

No sooner the pealing of the bell fell silent than the band started to play his favourite tune in full swing. It could be very clearly heard in the pre-dawn serenity and calmness of the morning, in spite of the chapel being quit a distance away from where he lived. The music sounded great and the boy was breathless trying to catch each and every note so that he could remember and hum it to himself later. Or perhaps one day he would learn to play it himself on an instrument like his neighbour did, he thought.

He would not go back to sleep again. He had to be on time for the first Mass as he had been selected to serve as one of the altar boys. On the way to the chapel he would try and memorize and repeat the Latin words to himself as he did not want to get them wrong or reply out of turn. In those days the Mass liturgy was in Latin.

As he neared the chapel in the misty early morning dawn, a girl dressed in her best approached running to the young lad, and picking a tiny paper flower from her small and neatly decorated basket, she pinned it on his shirt. Reaching in his pocket he deposited a coin in her basket for which she thanked him. This money was collected for the poor.

There used to be a lot of other Mass services that were held by the hour especially on feast days. The solemn high mass would start at 10 o’clock in the morning along with a lot of fanfare, pealing of bells, firing of crackers and the boom of the “khozne”.

There were lot of small stalls already lined up by the side of the chapel selling all sorts of things, sweets of different types, roasted gram, fire-crackers, balloon and toys.

The boy would never miss the concelebrated high mass by priests from other parishes specially chosen and invited for the occasion by the celebrant of the feast. More importantly this mass was never to be missed because there was special choir along with orchestral backing of various musical instruments like the oboe, flute, piccolo, clarinet, fife, cello, violin and the double bass.

The choir master tried to do his best waving his baton while he directed the choir of talented youngsters. The boy greatly admired so many voices blended so well together singing high and lows, first, second and thirds. Some of those faces of the boys in the choir were new to the boy. Perhaps they were chosen from another parish, he thought. Next year or perhaps even after that he would be selected and trained was his wishful thought.

A well known priest, famous for his thundering sermons, had been summoned for the grand high mass. He began by first invoking the patron saint to shower his blessings on the celebrant and his family, the villagers and their guests. He admired the beauty of the old chapel and praised the organizers for doing such a good job in decorating the chapel. He then intoned a short verse from the Scriptures in Latin that echoed through the chapel and followed with a brief explanation of the same. The sermon seemed quite long.

Otherwise the people would say it was very short. If it was short the people would say that he did not say anything at all. He was wiping the sweat off his face every now and then with his hand kerchief which he tucked in the broad sleeves of his vest while his black cap rested on the edge of the pulpit. He was a very good preacher, well prepared, loud and clear, and said everything to the point.

Twice in between his sermon he did say a verse again in Latin, words which he had especially chosen from the Scripture and gave a brief explanation of the same while outside the chapel, in the stalls, there was a lot of activity which was normal and usual during these types of feasts.

Then there was Holy Communion and Benediction during which the choir sang a beautiful and solemn rendition of “O Salutaris”. Later at the grand procession, the boy along with the other altar boys were walking at the front of the procession line, which was led by the celebrant carrying a holy banner of the day’s saint with Latin insignia written on it, followed by an assortment of clergy, confraria in their purple and red “opmus”, the villagers and their guests from far and near, while the chapel bells tolled amidst the sound of Gregorian chants that the band played trudging along last in the line.

After the Mass was over the boy, everyone wished “Happy Feast” to everyone else. Later as was customary the boy gave alms to the poor who lined up outside the chapel holding coconut shells in their hands. One of them, a frail old man said to the boy: “May you become a big and clever boy” And another old man with a cane said: “May God give you good health and a good job when you become big”. The boy wished he could distribute more change to the rest of them but he needed the change himself that was left. He did not want to run short.

So the boy then bought a small toy car for himself which he had seen and selected before the high mass services could begin. He had saved little money to buy it. Also his mother and grandmother had given him some money, saying: “Hey, son, this is for you, for the feast”. He used that money for some roasted gram and sweets and went on
his way home for a great lunch that awaited him.
While he walked home through the winding road through the fields and villages people were lighting crackers and some of them said to him from their balconies:
“ Happy Feast, come for the feast to our house” to which the boy replied “You must come to our house, Happy Feast to you too.”

Friday, August 14, 2009


Adele Chen Alvarez
Born: 1 February 1977
Died: 14 August 2009
(For an enlarged view please click on picture)


(Adele : far right)

It hurts us a lot to hear the very sad news about Adele's passing away. She was a very dear friend of my daughter Denise, and of her friends too. Adele was one of the team members who loved and enjoyed life. It is indeed very hurting that this charming and loving young member of this dynamic team has been abruptly snatched away prematurely. Through my daughter Denise and her friends we knew Adele and loved her a lot too, just like one of our very own.

Adele was our friend too. She had a great zest for life. We prayed and hoped that she would come out of her dreadful illness. I am very sorry to hear about her passing away, and find it difficult to believe that she is no more.

I remember the day when Adele together with one of her most dearest friends, Desiree, took a 3-hour bus journey, changing 3 buses, all the way to Mississauga from Scarborough to see us soon after we arrived in Canada. She also had us over at her place for lunch at her Scarborough home in the late 1990's while she tried to make us feel at home.

But above all, I will miss her typical, distinct and infectious giggle, her admirable personality and her perpetual smile.

Together we grieve. I can almost hear her giggle and see her smile. A wonderful youthful person has left us just after five years of her marriage that we attended. We think and pray for her loving and supportive husband Alex, her loving mother, father, brother and relatives, offering our most heartfelt sympathies.

Never has a day been more sad than today.

Adele Chen Alvarez was only 32. I cannot believe she's gone. Long, long before her time.
She will be missed by all those who knew her.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


(Konkani Poem)

Celebrating World Goa Day - 20th August 2009
by Tony Fernandes

Goeam, Goeam, Goa, Goa munnon,
Pois thaun aundde kaddun
Pollounk axetam boro tuzo fuddar and boremponn
Porke zatik sangtam zaite tujem vhodponn
Dukh maka dista atam aikun
Bailea lokan vaitt tuka kelam legun.

Goeam, Goa, munnon, zaitoch tuzo ugddass kortam
Don-tin vorsanim pollounk tuka aum etam,
Tuji suropaieche fottu zaite aum kaddtam,
Porto bhair vetoch sodanch te polletam
Ani kallzak tenkoun samballun te dovortam.
Sam Francis Xaviera dhi maka tum gottai,
Udenticho missionar khorench tum vortotai
Samball kor Goencho ani Goenchea lokacho
Kednanch sandinakaim, kiteak etolom aum ek dis porto.

Nimanom soddchea adim aum ho ullas
Favo kor munn magtam atin gheun hi kals
Bagounk moji ekuch axea
Mathi dhi maka mojea ganvchi khaxea.

Tony Fernandes

Friday, August 07, 2009


(Memories of Goa)

Poem in Konkani by Tony Fernandes

Celebrating World Goa Day - 20 August 2009

Ugddas burgeaponnailo maka sodanch eta,
Jednam xinkunk ami Escola Primaria
Barabor chollon ami vetale
Ani daktule uzar kelele cherache batlen
Slate pussunk irlexem udok ami vortale.

Primeir, segund, tercer, kaddun talle
Ladainh cantad ami kortale;
Salve kabar zalea uprant
Kotten vath pettoun
Xamainchea atik dhorun ghara vetale.

Ugddas maka sodanch eta
Novea Vorsacho ani Natalanche ratricho;
Modianichem miss zalea uprant
Vaddeantlea lokak uttoitale
Zage ravon amchea daktulea vaddeant
Cantaram korun rath sartale.

Boas Festas do Natal, Feliz Ano Novo,
Deu Boro Dis Dhium, Deu Bori Rath Dhium,
Kai borim him vinchun kaddlelim utranim
Sogleank ami vodkitaleum.

Gaunchea Festachi feri
Pollounk disso chodd bori
Khuxealkaien lok kori festachi toeiari,
Fath-gravat bandunk urba amkam etali
Ani Corar ravon amim Miss Cantad kori.

Ugddas maka sodanch eta
Ponjeche taricho ani Goencheam ferri-bottincho
Vollok korunk ek zantti maka vinchari
Baba tum khuincho?
Tor gorib aum zaun khoro
Fokannanim zabab ditalom
Ek batkar munn aum Guirvodcho.

Visronk ekdom kottin Mapxencho bazar
Kiteak khuinchoruch naslo eka tempar
Itlo voddlo mercad - kherit bazaracho dis aslo ek Sunkrar
Meutaleo vostu thuim zinsanvar
Punn atam tor teka poloixi zalear
Zaleat tache Bara Berestar ani Tera Sunkrar.

Tony Fernandes June 1989