Celebrating the Harvest festival in Goa is a tradition that has been around for years. Two villages in Goa are famous for their celebrations; Raia in South Goa and Taleigão in North Goa. The feast is celebrated on the 5th of August with great excitement.
The Harvest festival is centuries old
One cannot begin to fathom the importance of the harvest festival in Goa unless they pay a visit at this time of year. This tradition is said to have existed from or maybe even before the Portuguese conquered the land. Read on to learn more about the Konsachem Fest or Harvest festival.
The Konsachem Fest or Harvest Festival has been celebrated for many years. It is simply a thanksgiving ritual wherein devotees, mostly the farming community, pray for God’s continued blessings. It is their belief that since we came from Goa, it is only right to give back something to him. The most important aspect of the festival is the cutting of the first paddy sheaves of the season.
Konsachem Fest in the pretty village of Raia
Konsachem Fest or Harvest festival was celebrated this past Sunday with much excitement and festivity in Raia in South Goa. Devotees gathered from the surrounding villages as well and took home the first sheaves of paddy after the blessing of the crop.
Four masses were offered, starting early in the morning. After the third mass, all gathered outside the Our Lady of Snows church in Raia and in procession, walked to the church field. Assistant parish priest Fr Pedro Costa blessed the first crop of the season with a prayer and holy water. Keeping in with tradition, a silver sickle was used to cut the first sheaves after which these were taken home by the people to keep as blessings in their homes.
At the high mass held at 9:30 am, paddy sheaves were offered to God. Following the high mass, people could be seen wandering around the stalls in the village which were erected for the feast. As with all feasts in Goa, these stalls had a variety of items from earthen pots and clothes to toys and accessories.
Taleigão celebrates the Harvest festival
In Taleigão, the Harvest feast is celebrated a bit differently. The villagers wake up early in the morning to the music of the brass band ‘Alvorada de Musica’. This marks the beginning of the festivities which last for four days.
There are gaunkar families of the nine vangors (clans) that celebrate the Harvest feast each year. They are Abreu, Almeida, Falcao, Faria, Gomes, Luis, Martins, Mendonca and Viegas. Every year, a new president is chosen from among these families on a rotation basis to hold the celebrations.
After the brass band wakes up the village, the entire village, including the parish priest and the new president of the feast, proceeds to the designated field. They carry along with them, an image of St. Michael, Taleigao’s patron saint. The priest blesses the field and the president with a silver sickle. The president is also allowed to harvest a few of the sheaves himself. The sheaves are then brought back to St. Michael’s church where they are offered during the offertory.
The next day, the president, along with the band, goes from house-to-house distributing beaten rice ‘fov’ to all the gaunkar families.
It is truly interesting and fun to see and be a part of such traditions. We can only hope that this particular one never dies out.