The Feast of Three Kings in Goa is celebrated as an ode to the ‘Our Lady of The Mount’, a statue of Virgin Mary with infant Jesus in her hand, viewed to be the protector of the people.
On this day, the Lady of the Mount is decorated with jewellery and people from all over the climb up to her to are searching for her blessings.
The Festival of the Three Kings is celebrated after the 12 days of Christmas to commemorate the go visit of the three wise men to infant Jesus. The legend says that the boulder on the close by hills still bears the footprints of the Virgin Mary and the baby, the place she supposedly rested earlier than attaining the Hill of Remedies.
Many state that the site of the Chapel of Remedios which stands there now used to be once a Hindu Temple site.
Every year at a point of this time, there are thousands of Christians as well as Hindu devotees who make the annual pilgrimage to the Mount to provide prayers to Madonna, with candles, flowers and incense.
Significance of the Feast of Three Kings
The Lady of Mount is stated to protect the people. People worship her as a fertility goddess and married couples who are unable to conceive an infant pray at the chapel to fulfil their wishes.
The Lady of Mount is ornate with flower and gold jewellery, incense, candles, and garlands.
Thousands of people collect at the stone chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Reis to give appreciation to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception – a lighthouse of faith and courage to its people. On the remaining day of the festival, Epiphany (the oldest Christian feasts celebrated considering the fact that the end of the 2nd century earlier than the Christmas holiday was founded), a mass is held at the venue that consists of fun activities.
Story of the Three Kings – The Gift of Magi
Three Kings are additionally known as Magi. This word ‘Magi’ is taken from Greek word ‘Magos’, which itself is derived from the word ‘Magupati’. It simply means a high priest of ancient Persian religions.
Therefore, Magi were rich, wise, and powerful men in their kingdoms who had exceptional knowledge in the fields of science and astrology.
Coming to the story, it started after the birth of Christ, when the Magi knew a great king in Judea was born. Therefore, they undertook a long journey, bearing gifts suit for a babe of such high birth.
The Three Kings were Caspar or Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
Magi made a stop at the court of Herod to get information on the new-born child.
Herod, fearing that this new king would replace him and take his throne, begged the Magi to tell him also of the child’s whereabouts once they had found him.
After finding the child, an angel came into Magi dreams and told him about the evil intention of Herod and therefore, they returned to their kingdom by another route.
How is Feast of Three Kings Celebrated?
The Feast of Three Kings Festival continues for 10 days. During this time, there is non-stop dance, music, and partying that continues the spirit of Goa high. During the 9 days of non-stop revelry, the devotees come to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount to offer prayers and are seeking her blessings.
The last day of the fest is celebrated in a unique fashion when 3 small boys aged between 8 and 10 are dressed up as the three Kings who introduced items for child Jesus.
These boys, chosen from the neighbourhood villages, costume themselves up and make preparations for the grand event when they become the king for a day.
The boys arrive at the chapel to provide wealth to the lady of the Mount and each of them takes a different path and is accompanied by a jovial crowd. After the quit of the rituals, there is a grand fete and fairly organised the place one can purchase a broad range of things, such as copper, brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, bangles, and spices.
Where is Feast of Three Kings Celebrations in 2022?
The celebrations of the Feast of Three Kings take place at three locations in Goa: Reis Magos Church at Verem in the Bardez taluka in North Goa, the village of Chandor in South Goa, and at Our Lady of the Mount in Cansaulim in South Goa.
Crowning followed by grand processions to honour the ‘three kings’ takes place at these three villages in Goa. Later, they are escorted with great zeal and fervour to the church on Remedios Hill.
Crowning followed by grand processions to honour the ‘three kings’ takes place at these three villages in Goa. Later they are escorted with great zeal and fervour to the church on Remedios Hill.
The feast is celebrated at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount, Nossa Senhora Dos Remedios, on top of the Cuelim hill – referred locally to as Remete Saibinicho Dongor.
The chapel was founded by Fr Gonsalo Carvalho, a Jesuit priest in 1599 and is affiliated to St Thomas Church, Cansaulim.
Our Lady of the Mount is considered a protector of people, especially the married couples who cannot conceive children, who pray to her when they want children.
It is believed that those who pray in this chapel receive sacred blessings and protection. Even the Hindus participate in the feast enthusiastically, bringing the Madonna garlands, flowers and other gifts, thanking her and also asking her for blessings.
The privilege of organising the feast is given to the Vangodd of the Gaunkars (the indigenous Goans) of the Communidade of Cansaulim, Arossim, and Cuelim, for the help they rendered to the early Church.
Three boys, between 8-12 years, from these villages are selected to enact the role of the ‘Three Kings.’ They are dressed in elaborate clothing, from decorative crowns studded with glittering stones and gowns.
They start their journey from their respective homes, along with the retinue of attendants, led by a little boy beating the drum to the top of the Chapel. Crackers are lit as each procession is preceded by a brass band which plays along the route.
The first stop for the king from Arossim is in front of the chapel of St Lawrence. Here, the chaplain says a small prayer and blesses them. From there, the entourage continues along an age-old path till he reaches to the foot of the hill in Cuelim.
The other two meet him here and after a short rest ascend to the top of the hill in time to attend the Feast Mass. They participate in the Mass, which is held outside due to increased attendance and present their gifts.
After the Mass, the three Kings leave the chapel, stopping at different places for blessings and rest. The journey finally ends at St Thomas Church, where Laudate is sung and three Bonderam (flags) are waved from right to left. Then they depart for their homes, taking different paths.
The feast of the Three Kings is celebrated at Reis Magos Church in Verem. The story of the Three Kings is enacted by three youths of the locality, who dressed as Three Kings, begin a procession that starts from the church and goes around the village.
In Chandor, three young boys either selected or volunteers from the villages, decked in royal attire and holding gifts and seated on horses enact the journey of the Three Kings.
The procession with their family members and bands playing loud music starts at the chapel of our Lady of Piety on Monte Cota, which ends at Nossa Senhora de Belem Church, Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, where they attend the high mass and present their gifts. It is said that earlier, the kings were brought down the hill sitting on buffaloes.