Colva is one of Goa’s best-known beachside villages. In the old days, it was a favorite among Shashtikars for their family picnics with its white, sandy beach and gently swaying coconut trees that offered some respite from the hot sun. Over the years, this beach has become popular with tourists and is visited by many during the tourist season. However, the beach is not the only reason Colva is famous. Every year, this little village celebrates the famous Fama de Menino Jesus(the Feast of Infant Jesus).
Celebrating the Infant Jesus
Every year, on the second Monday of October, Colva’s Our Lady of Mercy Church is the site of the Feast of Infant Jesus. People come from all over the state to pay homage and seek blessings from the statue of the Infant Jesus.
Interestingly enough, the celebrations on the Fama day are much bigger as compared to those on the feast day. The Fama day is the day on which it is announced that the novenas begin. These novenas then lead to the feast day and blessing of the symbolic ‘maddi’ that is erected in front of the church.
The legend of the statue of Infant Jesus
Legend says that a statue of Infant Jesus was originally brought to Goa in 1668 from Mozambique. It had been found in a shipwreck by some sailors led by a Portuguese priest named Fr. Benito Ferreira. When he was sent to Goa and posted at Our Lady of Mercy Church, he carried the statue along with him. For a long time, it was enthroned on a special altar at this very same church. Soon after, the Fama celebrations began with people coming in huge numbers to venerate this blessed statue. However, political issues in Portugal soon led to all religious orders in Goa being suppressed. Fr. Ferreira, along with his fellow Jesuits went into hiding at the Rachol Seminary and he even took the statue with him.
Despite pleas from the villagers to leave the statue in the church, Fr. Ferreira refused. So they made a replica of the statue and placed that in the church. They also had in their possession a gold ring which was believed to have been a part of the original. The villagers put this ring on the statue and began venerating their replica of the Infant Jesus statue once more.
Today, this statue is securely concealed in a triple-locked vault.
Veneration of the statue
People that have attended the Fama de Menino Jesus have a strong faith in the power that is believed to exist in this statue. Or perhaps it is the ring that holds the power. Either way, they come in droves to seek blessings in conceiving, healing their ailments and even in wishing for marriage. They even bring their children, braving the heat to stand in long lines just so that the little ones can kiss the statue and receive blessings for life.
Devotion and faith are very personal things. One thing is for sure, people with such strong faith will always make their way to Colva in October for this blessed Fama.