Colva, a well known village in South Goa known for the crystal white sands of Colva beach. However much before the Colva beach became a tourist destination, the village was known far and wide for the centuries old ‘Fama’ or the feast of Menino Jesus (Infant Jesus) celebrated traditionally with pomp and solemnity at the Our Lady of Mercy Church.
For the feast more than 30,000 devotees participates in the grand ‘Colva Fama’ to seek the blessings of Menino ( Infant) Jesus. The fama mass celebrates at early morning at 5.30am after which the Infant Jesus statue is brought out of the crypt, onto the altar, and carried in a solemn procession around the church before it is kept for public veneration till late night. It celebrates with much religious fervour, the fama is neither the feast nor the novena , but a special day after which the novenas commence to ultimately conclude with the church feast to held on October 27.
Incidentally, legend has it that a Jesuit priest and sailor, Fr Bento Ferreira SJ found the statue of Infant Jesus off the coast of Mozambique in the 17th century following a shipwreck. The Jesuit brought the statue to Goa in 1648 upon his posting at the Colva church, where he had the statue enthroned on a special altar.
Soon, rumours of miracles taking place at the parish spread and in due course the statue became an object of veneration. Parishioners of the church comprising the villages of Colva, Sernabatim, Gaundalim and Velim, contributed to build a separate altar for the statue, which is revered till date.
Confraria members add that while the original statue is at Rachol seminary, the original diamond ring along with its miraculous powers remainedat Colva. It is for these miraculous powers that thousands of devotees of all faiths continue to flock to the fama. Devotees come seeking blessings for marriage, to have children, to cure ailments and many other reasons. Miracles take place here.
Devotees offers items of wax, which were shaped in the form of different parts of the body. This is the most unique feast in Goa.
Pic: JoeGoaUk, Aldrin Coutinho.