Seeking the blessings of the Saints
The ‘Ordem Terceira’ also known as the ‘Santachem Pursanv’ or the Penitential Procession of Saints was observed on the fifth Monday of Lent, on March 19 at Saint Andrew Church in Goa Velha. Thousands of people from all walks of faith thronged the church to be a part of this celebration and seek blessings through the intercession of the saints by passing under the charols and also ask for penance for their sins. The procession of 31 life-size statues that are centuries old were led by the Tau Cross – Coat of Arms, the insignia of the Franciscan order and was followed by other 30 charols shouldered by the confraria members of the Church. The main celebrant of the Eucharistic service was parish priest of St Andrew Church, Fr Emidio Pinto in the presence of assistant parish priest, Fr Socorro Colaco, Fr Ubaldo Fernandes, Fr Benjamin Victoria, Fr Augusto Dias, Fr Salvador Rodrigues, Fr Salvador Fernandes and Fr Pedro D’Costa. In the homily during the mass Fr Emidio spoke on the theme, ‘Santa bhokta baxen mogan jieun jezuchea utrak zaiti follam diunk ani tachem utor dusreank shikounk dev amkam apoita’ (God calls us to live and spread his word like […]
Azulejos- Tiles, Thoughts and Art
Azulejos are hand-painted ceramic tiles. You can see this type of tiles in many places and makes one marvel that they are painted by hand. They are painted, glazed, and then sent for baking. Many people use these tiles as nameplates, wall art, souvenirs, and more. This art was first introduced by the Portuguese and now the Goans have made it their own and it’s successful because of the artistic talent poured into this craft. You can get them in places like Turi Azulejos, Azulejos de Goa, and Velha Goa Galeria.
Spices of Goa
Goan cooking generally involves liberal amounts of spices giving dishes a strange taste and distinctive aroma. Particular combinations of spices have led to a number of styles of cooking, which have differing flavors; masala, vindaloo and balchao being some of the most famous. Chilies, particularly the dried red variety, are used widely to add pungency, flavor, texture, marinate meats and fish. The green variety is also used to make chutneys, pickles, give pungency and taste to vegetables, meats and fish. The Christians prefer to use vinegar, while the Hindus use ‘kokum’ and tamarind to get the tang in their respective cuisines. Another important product of the palm is jaggery, a dark colored sweetener that is widely used in preparing Goan sweetmeats. Jaggery made from sugarcane is also used which has got a lighter colour compared to the coconut palm one. The spice plantations of Goa are quite popular as a tourist attraction, for more details click on – Spice Plantations The various spices found in the Goan markets (Local Markets) or any General stores around you are; Fennel (Badisep) Asafetida (Hing) Cardamom (Veichi) Cumin (Jirem) Pepper (Mirem) Mustard seeds (Sasvam) Cinnamon (Dalchini) Clove (Lovang) Coriander Seed (Sukhi Kothmir) Cubeb (Teflam) Fenugreek […]
Rare Portraits of Goan folk on display at IMB
As a part of the Semana da Cultura Indo Portuguesa (Goa) festival, there is a photography exhibition which is currently being displayed at Institute Menezes Braganza Hall. The photos are from Pantaleao Fernandes’ coffee table book ‘Goa: Rare Portraits’. This book shows another side of Goa. The photos provide a glimpse into the lives of the people from rural areas. It shows the stark contrast between the rural and urban areas of Goa. The simplicity of these people’s lives is highlighted in the photos. These lifestyle portraits on canvases were elegantly displayed on easels. Visitors got to see different activities of these tribal people such as broom making, masala grinding, tree climbing, garland making, etc. In the middle of the hall, there were objects put on display which were shown in some of the photos. These included a basket which a village man used for shelter and a cloth for their coverage on cold days. (The exhibition will be open for public viewing till 7th December 2018)
Reflecting on the life of St Francis Xavier
Every year on 3rd December, people flock to Old Goa for the feast of St Francis Xavier- the patron saint of Goa. He was a God-fearing man who spread the Gospel and served the sick and poor. He is dotingly hailed as ‘Goencho Saib’ as his life story inspires people even today. His relics are in the Basilica of Bom Jesus. This year, the theme of the feast is to live life according to the Beatitudes which Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount. Living according to the beatitudes means always longing to know more about God, being merciful, bringing peace wherever you go, etc. ‘Like St Francis Xavier, let us live the Beatitudes and be Holy’- those at the feast were taught that it’s not enough to just follow certain religious duties, but you have to have a loving relationship with God and obey His commandments. There were masses in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, French, Italian, Portuguese, Marathi, Telugu, and Spanish. The feast fair was buzzing with activity and sold items like sweets, accessories, toys, etc. The St Francis Xavier 2018 feast also had a 3D stage which made the people feel like they were in an indoor cathedral […]
Menezes Braganza Mansion
The Menezes Braganza house is located at the Chandor village in Goa.It is known to be more than 350 years old and is situated near the church square in Chandor. This mansion is the most exquisite heritage house in Goa and also has a Portuguese style facade. It is a museum of chandeliers, paintings, porcelain, crystal and other antique items. Luis Menezes Braganza was a luminary. He used the power of his pen to spark off the anti-colonialist movement in Goa and was referred by people as “the Tilak of Goa”. Luis Menezes Braganza along with another reputed Goan writer, Professor Messias Gomes, established the first Portuguese language daily in Goa. Rare porcelain from Macao brought by the English and Dutch East India Companies beautifies the walls, and two thick porcelain vases that belonged to St. Francis Xavier are kept on the table in the dining room. The floors change from room to room: the visitors’ salon has Portuguese tiles, the library Flemish wood, and the ballroom Italian marble. There are crystal chandeliers from Belgium that illuminate the ballroom when lighted up. The ballroom is fashioned after Louis XIV’s Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles and a set […]
Shell Craft- The art of the sea
When a person thinks of Goa, beaches definitely come to mind. And what better way to represent beaches than seashells? Goa has plenty of sea shells which have led people dabbling in elegant seashell craft. If you are a fan of shells, you can get beautiful shell earrings, necklaces, vases, mirror work, showpieces, lamps, and much more. These are great souvenirs to remind you of the fun and relaxation that can be experienced in Goa. They are available at Aparant Goan Handicrafts Emporium (opposite Institute Menezes Braganza Hall). Local artisans also craft them.
Vinegar- The secret to lip smacking Goan dishes
Vinegar in Goa is prepared from the toddy (sur) which is extracted from the coconut tree. The toddy is usually collected into an earthen vessel by the toddy taper. In order to get the product of vinegar from the toddy, the extracted toddy is kept in the vessel for a period of 20-22 days, where the toddy turns into vinegar. At times the period of 20-22 days is not sufficient for the toddy to turn into vinegar, in-fact this period of storage depends on the quality of toddy. In case of an ordinary quality of toddy, the storage period may sometimes last for 3 months. Vinegar is normally used as a preservative or a catalyst that adds flavor to various meat oriented dishes such as, pork sausages, pork vindhalo, various beef dishes, chicken cafreal and others. It is also used to prepare the ‘rechado’ massala which is stuffed in fishes like mackerel and pomfret.
Flags, Floats, and Fun- Bonderam Festival
The usually tranquil Divar Island turned into a place of celebration for the famous ‘Bonderam’ festival. Years ago, the Portuguese tried to prevent villagers from taking over nearby land by putting up flags to mark those areas. The villagers started knocking down these flags. The ‘Bonderam’ festival celebrates their protests. The festival started with a flag parade followed by a fancy dress competition where children and adults entertained everyone by acting out the character they were dressed up as. Many colourful floats were brought out for public viewing. Whoever took part in this celebration had a great time.
Whirlpools, crocodiles, and more. Find out what the life of a fisherman is like.
A cool breeze blows and the water laps gently against the river bank. A man walks towards the river carrying his floating net. He gets into the boat and uses his strong arms to expertly row to the desired spot to cast the net for catching fish. This happy-go-lucky Goan is Prakash. He goes fishing 2-3 times a week as it is one of his ways of earning a living. During his childhood, he had a tough life as his parents struggled to feed him and his seven siblings. From a young age he was a keen learner. Just by watching different people at work, he was able to pick up various other trades like carpentry and vegetable cultivation. He has observed that during the summer there is more fish to catch. According to him, the months of April, May, and June are the best months to fish. During the rainy season, he avoids fishing as the river waters get choppy. In the past few years, fishing has become a bit tougher for him because of crocodiles and seals. Seals move very quickly to steal the fish they catch and even come to bite them. Also, he has to avoid any […]
Fontainhas – Goa’s Latin Quarter
Experience the vibrancy of Portuguese architecture in this quarter of Panaji. The Fontainhas is the oldest Latin Quarter located in Panaji. In the late 1700s, this locality belonged to a Goan expat who was also known as ‘Mossmikar’, as he hailed from the Portuguese colony of Mozambique in East Africa. Since this place was an open space it was called as ‘Mollo’, finally leading to be identified as ‘Mala’.The ‘Mossmikar’ later converted this land into coconut plantation hence called as Palmar Grande. The Fontainhas became more civilized when the Portuguese moved out from Old Goa to Panjim in the 1840’s due to sanitary problems that led to repeated outbreaks of plague in Old Goa.Since this was a plain area, it became the first choice of habitation for the Portuguese. When the Kadambas ruled Goa, what we now know as Panaji was called as Pancham Khali. The Portuguese called it as Novo Goa or New Goa as they had moved out of Old Goa.The city of Panaji was built around Fonte de Phoenix. Fonte De Phoenix (Fountain of Phoenix) is a water reservoir which was constructed in the Portuguese era. On the top of the fountain there was a plate which […]
Milagres feast celebrated at St. Jerome’s Church
The annual feast of Our Lady of Milagres (Our Lady of Miracles) was celebrated at St Jerome’s Church, Mapusa, on April 16; the feast is celebrated on Monday following the third week of Easter. The feast portrays the communal nature of the state wherein a Hindu’s along with other devotes throng to St. Jerome’s church to venerate and seek the blessings of Milagres Saibinn. ‘Milagres Saibinn’ is also believed to cure various ailments and many devotees from different religious communities make vows, pour coconut oil over the statue of our Lady of Milagres and offer wax figurines in repayment of favors received by them.
Save Our Earth!
We are destroying the only home we have. Our waters and land are filled with waste, especially plastic. Animals and sea creatures tend to consume this plastic which is very dangerous for their well being. It also releases toxins into the water which affects the food chain. Our laziness and carelessness concerning the environment not only affects nature but the human race itself. There are many times when people try to enjoy the majestic beauty of our Goa beaches but instead they have to see and feel litter floating in the water. Areas of land which have the ‘Do Not Litter’ sign are dumped with even more waste material than usual. Why can’t we refuse to accept plastic bags and use cloth bags? Why can’t we plant more trees? Let’s say No to plastic straws. Why can’t we fight our urge to litter and reduce/ reuse/ recycle instead? Tiny individual choices such as these will eventually have a positive impact on our planet. Concerned Goans voiced out their opinions: “It’s not just the uneducated but even the educated who disregard the environment” – Desiree D’souza, student “Mother Nature is deteriorating because of inconsiderate people”- Ashnett Fernandes, accountant “There should be more clean-up drives […]
Get loopy with Crochet !
Crochet is a delicate craft in which a hook is used to loop wool or thread and continue it with stitch after stitch until the desired product is completed. It has its own place in every Goan household. This can be realized by the fact that every bride brings with her crochet items as a part of ‘dennem’ to her in-laws’ place. The craft of crochet came to Goa with the arrival of the nuns and missionaries in the 15th century and from has been passed on from one generation to other. It is time-consuming but the end result is an elegant, delicate, soft piece of work. This craft empowers housewives in Goa. Crochet is used to create many items like blankets, blouses, coats, caps, socks, gloves, tablecloth, purses, and much more. It is a refreshing alternative to machine-made products.
From Grandma’s Kitchen: Fish Ambotik
Fish Ambotik is a classic favourite among the Goan folk. The curry has a deliciously sour, spicy, and tangy flavour. This is why it is named ‘Ambotik’ as ambot means sour and tik means spicy. It is usually accompanied with rice, bread, or sannas. Different types of fishes can be used such as kingfish, mackerel, shark, etc. This dish can be identified by its reddish-orange colour. The following recipe is given by a Goan grandmother who has a passion for cooking. Fish Ambotik of half kg Grind to paste the following: 1 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 tsp jeera 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1/2 tsp peppercorns 5 cloves 1-inch stick of cinnamon 6 flakes garlic 3/4 inch piece ginger 6 Kashmiri chillies 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 1 marble size tamarind METHOD Pour a little oil in a vessel and then put one medium size onion (finely chopped). Then add one medium chopped tomato. After this, put the ground masala check the thickness of the gravy. Then put the fish pieces. Lastly, add 1 tbl spoon Goa vinegar. Add salt according to taste.
Chorizos- The King of Sausages
Pork sausage is one of the traditional food items of the Goan cuisine. It is mostly loved by the Catholic community of Goa. Pork sausage is basically a boneless pork meat that is seasoned with the required spices and is marinated with vinegar. This mixture is then kept in an earthen vessel over a period of two days. This process allows all the spices and the vinegar to blend properly with the raw meat. The filling is then stuffed into casings which are made up of a layer of intestines of beef meat. They can be eaten boiled, fried, as pork chops and as a pie filling in sandwiches. The most common dish that is prepared by using the sausages is the ‘Choris pao’; bread stuffed with sausages. Pork sausages are easily available in New Margao Municipal market, near the old Margao Municipal building and the Mapusa Market.
Feni- Goa’s Own Drink
Feni is a very popular drink and is produced only in Goa. It takes a lot of effort to make it and is completely organic with no added preservatives. One can get cashew feni (fermented cashew juice) and coconut feni (obtained from coconut toddy) from this state. Feni is sometimes mixed with cola and lime to make a nice cocktail. Urrak is a lighter form of cashew feni, has a fruity flavor, and is available during summer. Feni has a similar flavour but is more potent. Some people even mix feni in certain Goan dishes like sorpotel. Locals also use it to cure colds. They also make a Feni nutmeg mixture to use for massages and to bring down swelling.
Surprisingly tasty sweet rocks of cane and palm
Jaggery is a concentrated sugar product that is obtained from sugarcane or palm trees. It is considered as an alternative for sugar as it is very much sweet and also brings nutritional properties with it, which are very much essential to the human body. In Goa the Coconut jaggery (maddache goud) and sugarcane jaggery (ushi’che goud) are widely used in the cuisine to prepare various delicacies. These both types of jaggery can be easily identified based on their distinctive appearance. The coconut jaggery has a blackish color whereas the sugarcane jaggery has a tan-brownish appearance. As far as the sweetness factor of both these jaggery goes, the coconut jaggery is superior to cane jaggery. The coconut jaggery is widely used in the cuisine of Catholic community in Goa, who use it to prepare delicacies such as pinagr, dodol, patoloi, donnem and other sweet dishes. Whereas the cane jaggery is profoundly used in the cuisine of Hindu community, who use it to prepare prassad on the occasion of pooja or patoloi’s which are prepared on the occasion of nagpanchami. These varieties of jaggery are very much easily available in all sorts of general stores and local markets located across Goa.
Let us ‘Vow’ to protect the ethnicity of our Heritages on this ‘World Heritage Day’
Though Goa is the smallest state in India, it has made a quite telling contribution on the historical front of the country. Goa has been known for its ports through the ages, which facilitated trading. The state’s ports became handy not only traders but also rulers like the Mauryas, the Shatavahanas, Bhojas, the Shilaharas, the Kadambas, the Bahmanis and the Portuguese. The ruling stints of these dynasties allowed them to create some monumental edifices on this piece of land, of which some still exist and some have been lost to the time. In what can be said to be an honor for Goans, as the entire zone of Old Goa (The Churches and Convents of Old Goa) was inducted into UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage Site, inscribed under the UNESCO norms, in 1986. The Catholic faith in Goa was built on the pillars of St Francis Xavier who embraced the land of Goa in 1542 and in order to profess the Catholic faith the Portuguese built the churches. Goa was thus termed as the ‘Rome of the East’. The inclusion of religious monuments in Goa in the World Heritage List are: the influence of […]
Spirit of Goa festival to kick-start from April 6
The Department of Tourism, Government of Goa will be organizing a three day festival entitled– The Spirit of Goa 2018 from April 6 to 8 at the D.B . Bandodkar Ground, Campal, Panjim. The three day event is themed on Goa’s drupe fruits–Coconut and Cashew, wherein a variety of products, cuisine, beverages, handicrafts and others showcasing the traditional aspects and the goodness associated with this produce. The festival will also feature live demo’s on distilling of cashew and coconut juice into relished heritage brew of ‘Feni’. Besides these, authentic Goan food, involving coconut and cashew will as the key ingredients in the cuisine and beverages will be prepared and served during the three-day festival. The entertainment section will feature timeless Konkani and Portuguese classics to modern day English Latin styles with jazz and funk rhythms including Konkani pop and will also feature large format ensembles with full brass sections. (The Goa Tourism will be utilising the services of Hop-on-Hop-off buses as a mode of transport service to cater the people to the venue on all three days of the festival)
Capas Magnas- The Procession of tails
A unique ritual is held at Se Cathedral, Old Goa on every Good Friday and known as ‘Capas Magnas’ or Shepdyanche Pursanv (Procession of tails). The procession is called ‘Shepdyanche Pursanv’ as the trailing end of the cloak resembles a tail (shepdi). This unique procession has been held in the Se Cathedral from the sixteenth century. This procession is held in locations where the Cathedral Chapters still exits. The Cathedral Chapters is an organization of clergies which comprises of ‘Canons’– who are the advisors to the Archbishop. Earlier this institution was called as the ‘Cabido’ and the Canons were called as ‘Conegos’. Initially there were 32 canons who were advisors to the Archbishop of Goa and their jurisdiction ranged from South Africa to Japan. Presently there are only 5 canons who reside at the Se Cathedral in the Archiepiscopal Palace– the first palace of the Archbishop of Goa, which dates back to 1535. On the day of Good Friday during the procession the Canons are seen dressed up with special black cassocks, which has a hood and a long trail and portrays the state of mourning. (The liturgical service at Se Cathedral, Old Goa starts at 3.00 pm, which is […]
The Goan Fish Tales – I
Fish is considered as the staple diet of the Goan people. All humans use readily available edible resources and slowly develop a culture around it and the knowledge is passed from generation to generation. Fish became an integral part of Goan diet from prehistoric times (50000-60000 years before present).Goa has an unenviable culture showcasing different ways communities look at, understand, worship, love/hate, catch, cook and serve fish. Goa being rich in freshwater and marine ecosystems offers free, highly diverse (about 250 species of fish and shellfish) fisheries resources so the culture of catching fish developed much before animal husbandry or agriculture.Due to early semi nomadic settlers who camped first in Mandovi and Zuari river basins about 50-60000 years ago and developed the practice of catching fish using different gears. Fish was a staple diet in ancient Goa even before caste system was developed so almost all ethnic Goan communities are found to utilize fish in their food but there are clear taboos about meat. After the advent of GSB (Goa Saraswat Brahmins) migrants the legend of Sage Saraswat saving the Vedas by consuming fish from Vedic river Saraswati became popular and the Brahmins too justified consumption of fish by taking […]
Coconut Shell Craft – Yes, coconut is not only for eating!
It’s amazing how much can be done with coconuts. Its use goes beyond consumption. This can be seen in the fine-looking items that come as a result of coconut shell craft. Many locals earn their livelihood with this craft. They are also available at Aparant Goan Handicrafts Emporium (opposite Institute Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji). It leads to products like bangles, rings, spoons, showpieces, candle stands, cups, and more. It serves as a reminder of the beautiful coconut trees of Goa swaying in the gentle breeze.
Following in the footsteps of the Saints
The procession of saints, also known as ‘Santachem Pursanv’ or ‘Ordem Terceria’ will be held at St Andrews Church at Goa Velha on March 19, the 5th Monday of the lent season. There will be a Eucharistic celebration at 4.30 p.m. which will be followed by the procession. Since this event is held during the lent season, it is actually referred as a ‘Penitential procession’. This is only of its kind procession in the world which is carried out with life size idols of the saints. The procession was also observed in the Portuguese colony of Bahia de Todos os Santos in Brazil, but was later banned. Though there were 65 statues when the procession was first started their number has been reduced to 31 now as some of them got damaged due to disuse after Queen Maria II of Portugal along with Portuguese ruler, Marquis of Pombal, banished all religious decrees from Portuguese colonies in 1835. The procession was thereafter revived in the late 19th century. The procession of saints is led by a frame carrying the ‘Veil of Veronica’. The 1st charol that comes out of the church is the ‘Tau cross’, the insignia of the Franciscan order, […]
Terracotta- Formless clay to artistic masterpieces
The word terracotta comes from the Italian word “baked earth”. In Goa there are various local artists who ply the trade of making terracotta artifacts. These artists take on various projects handed to them by various hotels across Goa. They are also available at Aparant Goan Handicrafts Emporium (opposite Institute Menezes Braganza Hall). Terracotta is a craft that can bring about beautiful sculptures of various sizes- small enough to sit on your table or large enough to be a main attraction somewhere. It takes a lot of effort and precision. The object has to be baked and can even take almost a full day to get ready. They usually have an earthy reddish brown colour. A lot of things can be made through this craft- statues, lampshades, figurines, pots, home decor, and more.
From Grandma’s Kitchen: Prawn cutlets
Seafood is very popular among the Goan folk. After fish, prawns are one of the most consumed proteins in Goa. There are numerous prawn dishes available in this beautiful State, such as curries, pickles, chili-fry, and more. The prawn cutlet recipe given below belongs to a Goan grandmother who loves to cook. Ingredients: 1/2 kg small prawns- clean and devein 1/2 kg onions (cut fine) 5-6 green chilies (according to your taste) 1 tomato (cut fine) 1 handful of fresh coriander leaves (cut fine) 1 Maggi cube for extra taste (optional) Salt Vinegar Grind: 6 flakes garlic, 3/4″ ginger, 1/2 tsp peppercorns, 3-4 cloves, 1/2″ cinnamon Method: (1) Boil the cleaned and washed prawns with salt until cooked without adding any extra water. After it has cooled, grind or mash them to a paste without adding any water. Keep this paste aside. (2) In a pan, put a little oil. Add the cut onions, green chilies, tomato and coriander leaves and Maggi cube. When fried nicely, add the ground paste of garlic etc. When the mixture is cooled down a little, add the mashed prawns, 1 raw egg, 2 slices bread, 1tbsp. vinegar. (3) Form into cutlets by coating it with […]
The Goan Bread
Pão- Keeping alive the legacy of the Portuguese The existence of bread in Goa The Goan bread is one of the delicacies that everyone craves for. The bread is an integral part of the Goan eating habit, be it for breakfast, for evening tea or for some occasion in the house the bread is always seen on the buffet table. Earlier the people living in Goa had a diet which comprised of roti, chapatti, idli, sambhar, a diet quite similar with that of South-India. When the Portuguese invaded the coasts of Goa they brought with them various types of dishes ranging from sweet to savory delicacies. The Portuguese also brought in bread which was called as pao. Earlier method of baking Pao The first Goan pao were quite unique. They were prepared by using local toddy, locally known as sur, as a source of natural yeast. This gave the bread a distinctive character that is quite impossible to replicate with any other kind of yeast. This mixture was then left for fermentation for 2-3 hrs. The pao is baked in wood-fired mud ovens, locally known as forn. According to Peter Fernandes, the proprietor of Dalima Bakers at Colva stated that […]