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Goa Voyages :: Festivals of Goa :: Feast Of Three Kings (Local Festival)


Feast Of Three Kings (Local Festival)

Perched high on a hill in Quelim, Salcete, stands the tiny centuries-old stone chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios or Our Lady of Cures. The incomparably beautiful statue of the Madonna is seen holding the Child Jesus in open arm and a small vase in the other, which has in it the panacea for all ills.

A Festivity For Both Christians And Hindus
The Lady of the Mount is famous for her wondrous protection and miracles and is also reputed to be the giver of children to sterile mothers. On the day of the festivity She is covered with jewellery as tokens of gratitude by Catholics and Hindus alike for favors and blessings received. The chapel as well as the image are very ancient and are steeped in historical associations, traditions, and legends.

Every year thousands of devotees congregate at the stone chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Reis to offer prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception - a lighthouse of faith and courage to its people. High mass is offered on the day of Epiphany and it is a time to rejoice and partying.

The Festivities
It is on the Festa dos Reis or the Epiphany on January 6 that the isolated Hill of Remedios and chapel suddenly spring to life and activity. After staying almost whole year in isolation, just nine days before the Feast of the Novena starts, the hill revives and resounds to human voices and feet. Come early dawn, kettledrums and the blare of trumpets, announce to the sleepy little neighboring villages that the day of rejoicing and festivity has arrived.

The tolling bells call the faithful to prayer and devotees visit the shrine in a non-stop stream. There's now an excellent road winding its way up the steep hill right to the door of the chapel, making the ascent possible by car. Still, most of the devotees prefer to climb up hill. Even the very old and infirm make their way up for nine consecutive days to hear Mass and recite the Rosary before the Lady of the Blue Mantle. Many come to offer their thanks for fulfilling their wishes. The devotees are always lead by a drummer-boy with his kettledrum who, by the loud beat of his drum, announces of another favor having being granted by the Lady of Remedios.

The Three Kings
The dramatic climax is reached on January 6, the day of the Feast of the Magi, when three little boys ranging in years from 8 to 10 are selected as kings from the three neighboring villages of Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim to bring their gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the Child-God. Throughout the year expectations and excitement run high as to who will be the fortunate ones chosen as it must be either a son or grandson from these three villages; no outsider can claim this privilege or honor.

To be a king, if only for a day is no joke, so the young monarchs take meticulous care to groom themselves for the exacting role. Meanwhile, on the Mount, the crowds gather from all parts of Goa to attend the Mass and get a glimpse of the three kings. An extensive fair also springs up covering the entire hilltop. One can buy anything from a meal to copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts.

The Ceremony
The surging and trampling devotees congregate on the hill's edge to watch the three kings from three different routes make their appearance. Mounted on white horses, they make their way up, outfitted in their royal garments elaborately embroidered in gold and silver, a crown studded with glittering stones on their heads, and a whole procession of relatives, friends, retinues bringing up the rear.

Each procession is preceded by a brass band played as loud music and bursting of crackers all the way up. The crowd in a frenzy of enthusiasm hails the Magi with a deafening ovation. The kings dismount from their white steeds, and are solemnly led to the special seats of honor reserved for them to assist at the High Mass.

After the service, they are led down with the same traditional ceremony with which they were brought up the hill. The whole picturesque scene is a color-drenched dream of ancient pomp, pageantry and glory.

Location:
Old Goa, Panjim, Goa

Centre Of Celebration:
The Church Of Our Lady Of The Mount

Also Known As:
Festa Dos Reis Or The Epiphany Day

Celebrated On:
6th January

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