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Coverage : Nishita D’Mello
Pics : Ivan Lobo

Sep 9: At this time of the year, the scenic beauty of Konkan Coast is exotic and idyllic – lush paddy field laden with new corn, tracts of land with juicy sugar canes, green vegetables rich with vitamins & calories, colourful flowers, healthy cattle grazing on the grassy meadows.  Yes, the green granary of Konkan is at its best.  It is the harvest time!  Farmers celebrate dancing to the beat of drums, singing folk songs, rejoicing and feasting.

The repercussion of this rejoicing was felt even on the other side of the globe in the North American state of Canada.  Though the flora & fauna, clime & culture of Canada is the just the opposite of Konkan Coast, on Sunday, the 9th September 2007, the sons and daughters of the Konkan soil, gathered in  Christ the King - parish church of Mississauga to celebrate the Nativity of our Lady as a harvest festival, fondly calling it as “Monti Fest”.

The festival took off at 3.00 p.m. in the Church Hall with hundreds of angelic faced tiny tots showering flowers to Infant Mary on her birthday to the full-throat chanting of traditional Konkani hymns by the crowd – ‘Sakkad Sangatha Melyan, Sakkad Lagin Soryan’ and ‘Moriyek Hogolsiyan’.  Then there was the blessing of new corn which was specially flown in from the fields of our Konkan homeland – an emotional and symbolic ceremony of the family feast.

This was followed by a procession then a solemn High Mass in Konkani.  Rt.Rev.Dr.Gerald John Mathias, Bishop of Shimla-Chandigarh Diocese who landed in Canada to participate in the celebration after his visit to the United States,  was the main celebrant, with three more Mangalorean priests who rendered spiritual service to the faithful in Canada co-celebrating with him.  The co-celebrants were Fr.Edwin D'Souza (who was instrumental to invite His Lordship to Canada   to participate in the Monti Fest celebration), Fr.Henry Alva; Fr.Henry Menezes.  In this far distant land the priests celebrating the Mass in Konkani, His Lordship, the Bishop, celebrating the Mass in Konkani, Fr.Henry Alva’s superb homily, the immigrants reading out in Konkani, the congregation praying in Konkani and the choir melodiously singing in Konkani must have taken even our Lady and inmates of heaven by surprise!  The choir was superb conducted by veteran singer and great musician Merlyn Rodrigues who made a big name in liturgy singing in Abu-Dhabi few years back. There was a nostalgic upsurge of feelings among the crowd when the distribution of blessed corn was distributed soon after.  Treats & Blessed Rosaries were also distributed to all the children.
After the religious ceremonies, there was a cultural programme. The show took off with a welcome speech by the incumbent president of Mangalorean Association of Canada (MAC) that followed by the cultural show which was really entertaining.  The great Konkani numbers sung by Oscar Nazareth, Michelle D’Mello, Lynton Pinto & Wilson D’Souza were very much appreciated by the audience with their rhythmic hand clapping and foot tapping.  Instrumental Ensemble played by the talented musicians Lynton, Lloyd & Larson Pinto was really sensational. Mr. Joyson D’Souza and his renowned Music Band ‘Casual Encounter’ with Daryl, Sean, Mario kept the entire show lively by their superb musical accompaniment.

Various nostalgic & artistic dances choreographed by the renowned choreographers in Canada and performed by Vinisha & Clarissa D’Souza was simply superb and breathtaking.  Finally, Janet D’Souza the dynamic General Secretary of MAC expressed thanks & gratitude to all who had contributed for the success of the function in her brief Vote of Thanks. 

The generous sponsors for the event were:  Frank Serrao (Dixie Toyota), Joseph Lobo (Inprint Copy & Signs- who were responsible for the printing of the program of Monti Fest), Ravi Fernandes (Trinity Auto Centre), Ronald Mathias (Remax Realty Specialist Inc), Maxim Mendes (Remax Realty Specialists Inc), Maxim D’Mello (D’Costa Financial Group) & Flavian Pinto (Retirement Planning Consultant – Sun Life Financial).

The cultural programme was culminated by a new harvest festival meal - "Novem" - was exquisitely arranged by the members of General Council and Executive Committee.  The lovely mouth watering vegetarian banquet with various dishes was prepared by Konkan Delight, well known caterers in Canada in typical Konkan style.   The Bishop's presence together with the guest priests at the 'Novem' meal added beauty to this festive occasion

A raffle draw was conducted and the proceeds amounting to Canadian Dollars One Thousand Two Hundred Fifty were handed over to His Lordship Rt.Rev.Dr.Gerald Mathias for his diocesan mission work at Shimla by the MAC President Maxim D'Mello.  It was also announced that all those who are interested to contributed my remit/credit Shimla-Chandigarh Diocesan Society SB a/c 3354, Indian Overseas Bank, Sector-7 C, Chandigarh, India or to contact Fr.Edwin D'Souza, Tel # 1-905-238-6886)

Well known Konkani activist Gerry D’Mello compered the entire show.

After the sumptuous and delicious “Novem” meal traditional ‘Lavdhate’ hymn was sung by everyone who were present and the people dispersed to their homes with nostalgic recollections of yesteryears and sweet memories of the “Monti Fest” for the years ahead!

Watch Nativity Feast Celebration Photo Albums: From Mangalore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Middle East, UK.... Click Here

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Comment on this article

  • Wilson, mangalore/canada

    Mon, Sep 17 2007

    It's really heartening to note that the Mangaloreans are going great guns in celebrating the Birthday of our Mother! Yeah, it's the children who are proud of the Mother. I would love to be part of any MAC venture..well done, MAC. Keep going...

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  • Ivan C Monteiro, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 12 2007

    Well done all Indians. You have all made us proud by organizing this great event of Monthi Fest. Gerry we were delighted to know that you are still active in Cannada.May God Bless u and ur fly for all the wonderful work you and MAC do at large in Cannada

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  • zeena, mangalore

    Wed, Sep 12 2007

    It was wonderful to know that monthi fest was celebrated in konkani far away in Canada. Long live Manglorean Traditions and culture!!!

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  • Gertrude D'souza, Mangalore/Canada

    Tue, Sep 11 2007

    Congrats MAC Organisers. It was great. You put us in a true spirit of Monthi fest, reminded of our good old mangalore tradition. Great to have Bishop & 3 other priests celebrate the Eucharist in konkani. In all it was a wonderful event, the food with vorne too was enjoyable with novea.

    Looking forward for the next MAC function. God Bless one & all for your tireless efforts in making this function a success. Mog asundhi. Konkani singing & dancing by teenagers was great to watch. I admire their talents and wish them every success in their efforts for the future. May our Lady Bless them keep them safe always.

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