Christmas in Goa is always special. But what is even more special is the evening feast in Fontainhas celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Nativity. This celebration is exclusive to Fontainhas and is not observed elsewhere in Goa.
In 1938, a statue of mother Mary was found in Fontainhas and was considered very auspicious. With that day began the celebrations on the evening of December 25th. The feast is celebrated by the Fontainhas ward with Carol singing, litany, live brass band, food and drinks and all feast arrangements are made by the local community.
Being an organization that curates immersive travel experiences by engaging with local communities, Make It Happen sought to curate an experience around an exclusive feast on a Christmas evening. We had a gathering of interested guests at the Panjim, General Post Office on the Christmas evening. The evening was kick-started through an introduction about Fontainhas and Panjim by Anthony Gaskell. The guests were then taken for walk that had pits stops at important sites of heritage and architecture.
After a walk into Fontainhas, the guests were led to a grotto behind a well close to the St. Sebastian chapel. Chairs and tables were laid out and the place was stunningly decorated in color and light. The brass band set the tone for the evening as arrangements were in progress for carol singing and litany.
The carol singing had trumpet and violin accompaniments, which is reminiscent of the good old days of Goa. After the prayers, it was time to sit back and enjoy drinks and food with friends, neighbors and folks that form the true essence of heritage in Fontainhas.
An evening like this could give a very different perspective of Christmas celebration in India and our aim was to have guests from around the world experience a very exclusive evening filled with heritage, nostalgia and festive mood that Christmas brings along.