My Parish Feast

December 2, 2020

My parents and I live in Muscat. Every year we plan to celebrate the much-awaited festival, the “Vodlem Festh” – the Parish Feast at our native place in Shankerpura, Udupi which keeps us closer to our religion and tradition.

The feast falls on the fourth week of December every year and is closely followed by Christmas and New Year. So, we look forward to celebrating these three events at our native place. The ‘’Vodlem Festh’’ carries a significant message from one generation to the next, particularly for those who are settled abroad. They make plans and schedule their trips so that they don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to attend this feast. It gives a chance to reminisce about the beautiful childhood memories and catch up with friends and families. Since I have spent my childhood in Salalah and Muscat, I never had a chance to experience the community festivities in my native place in Mangalore.

Of late, I have realized that village community festivals give us an ecstatic sense of enjoyment, relaxation and offer time needed to bond with family members whom we meet rarely.

The Annual Parish Feast is celebrated with fervour and devotion with large number of people from all different religions partaking in the celebrations. Prior to the Annual Feast, there is a procession of the Blessed Sacrament called ‘Kompricho Aithar’ (Confraternity Sunday). In this procession, people light candles and sing hymns accompanied with the brass band. The celebrations include the ‘Besp’ which takes place on a Tuesday followed by the ‘festh’ on Wednesday.

The most exciting day, the ‘Besp’ (Holy Vespers) is celebrated in the evening. It is a grand celebration and the most enjoyable part is meeting after the mass where people share great memories. This is a unique opportunity to those who have settled abroad and been away from family and friends.

At the Church premises, there is a fair called ‘Saanth’ where people enjoy eating ice cream, children buying toys, jewelry and savory snacks like jalebis, halwa, Mangalore macaroons, ‘thambde gulle’ and so on. The cosmetic stalls are a special attraction for the children and the youth. Elders visit the stalls selling religious articles like rosaries, religious books and calendars (Catholic Panchang) etc. In the eatery stalls, delicious Gobi Manchurian, corn and charmuri is served. My most favourite item is the masala corn which is served hot and sugarcane juice. They also sell watermelon and lemon juice to quench the thirst.

The Ferris wheel is the limelight of the event. What makes it different is that it is manually driven by the operators and it is much more thrilling than the automatic Ferris wheel. The ride begins to start out slowly and gradually catches up speed and moves around faster and faster and finally slows down. People are heard screaming loudly with every passing minute and this is quite enthralling. It entertains people from all age groups and brings in the real festive mood. The Youth Committees are very enthusiastic and pro-active in organizing different kinds of games for entertainment and participation which in turn helps raise funds for various church activities and social causes. In all parishes, there would be a display of fireworks ‘Daaru Laschi’ which is a thrilling sight for the people gathered around there. The fireworks and church events are mainly sponsored by the ‘Phirjenth’ (Sponsor for the feast).

On Wednesday, the feast day, the grand mass begins at 10 am which is attended by people of various neighbouring places. People light candles and offer prayers to the Patron Saint, St John the Evangelist and meet and greet people at the church premises.

Celebrations at Home

At home, the celebration is an open invitation to all relatives and friends. On the previous day, the food is prepared at home with all the family members pitching in which includes various kinds of delicacies such as Pork, a must-have dish in Mangalore and other meat dishes with sannas. My grandmother would tell me that she used to use coconut toddy to ferment the rice dough for sannas which gives it a distinctive flavor. They still use it, I am told, wherever toddy is available. Relatives and friends never fail to pay us a visit to share their warmth and love.

Currently, with the pandemic going on, we cannot say if we will be able to visit our native place and enjoy the festivities this year. There would be restrictions on large gatherings at the church but we are keeping the festive spirit in our mind and we pray to our Patron Saint, St John to overcome this pandemic situation and give us an opportunity to meet our loved ones in the near future.





By Shannon Jean Menezes
Shannon Jean Menezes resides in Muscat, Oman. She is a BCom Professional graduate and currently pursuing her ACCA Degree. She likes to express herself in dancing. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, photography and volunteering.
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Comment on this article

  • Sneha Dsouza, Kinnigoli

    Sat, Dec 05 2020

    Dear Shannon,
    Well done! Very well written, too. The description of the 'Vodlem Festh' is perfect and it shows how much you miss it and your family back home... Keep up the good work.

  • Gretta Moras, Kinnigoli

    Sat, Dec 05 2020

    Dear Shannon
    Very nice article. Keep it up.Congratulations .Continue the good work.

  • P.V.Prabhu, Mangalore

    Fri, Dec 04 2020

    Everybody would like this article including me, it reminds specially our childhood days. Vodle Festh gave us lots of joy and happiness. Thanks Shannon. Well narrated about our church feast.

  • Arthur D Souza, Muscat

    Fri, Dec 04 2020

    Nice article.

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    Well written article.

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    A very interesting and lively description, beautifully expressed, which takes me back 75 years to my childhood days in Mangalore, and relive the experience through memories. Thank you Shannon for this and keep it up


  • DJ Nelson Mascarenhas, Bendoor

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    Very nice Keep it up !!!

  • Prem Colaco, Sakleshpur / Muscat

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    Dear Shannon,

    Nice article , great memories to cherish !

  • John, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    This time no feast but only Universal Divine mercy ?

    Is God's mercy to everyone coming in the form of mini judgement or illumination of conscience or current status of one's soul of all the living?

    That's why may be God The Father stressing on personal holiness or a clean individual spiritual 'house' and extending His Apocalyptic Blessing in following previously commented Divine message.

    It could be as early as coming December 21, 2020.

    As there will be signs in the heavens or Star of Bethlehem again on that day after 2000 years! Significantly closest Jupiter and Saturn conjunction since 1623! with 0.1 degree separation. And could there be some sort of collison or their moons clash each other to a sky explosion or quake ? Also what Parish Patron Saint John the Apostle wrote in Book of Revelation 6:12-17, a solar event, is related to it? or it could be Comet Erasmus plunging into Sun ?

    (Erasmus - Erasing one's sins?)

    So a clean soul will be a great gift to God on coming Christmas. Instead of God illuminating one's sins, giving one's a great lifetime shock or heartbreaks, catholics, it would better if confess past sins to an ordained Priest and live free with peace, love and joy.

    All others, who by free will choice, or ONLY IF, want to clean their souls of their sinful past, if any, hurts and guilts, there are beautiful prayers Crusade prayers No 8 and for 9 Days Crusade Prayer No 24 available online or at following link or follow their way of repentance.

    Signs in the Heavens - Christmas Comet Erasmus (Dec 14) and Star of Bethlehem (Dec 21) after 2000 years, back again... following video,

    Ref :

    Prayer Ref :

    Jupiter Saturn conjunction Ref:

    Comet Erasmus ref:

  • Evelyn Priya, Bangalore

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    Such a beautiful article. This year due to pandemic we may not have the usual celebrations. But thanks to this article , it made me refresh the joy of "vodlem phesth"

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Thu, Dec 03 2020

    Thank you Ms Menezes for the great article. Took me back in time a little.

    I have always wondered who informs the vendors of 'thambde gulle' and other stuff when to arrive on the premises. They never fail to show up.

    Would have liked to know how the tradition of 'vodlem festh' started.

  • Priyanka Dsouza, Pangla/ Muscat

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    Nice write up Shannon!!
    You brought back all the wonderful memories of vodlen festh.

  • Shyla Machado, Pangla/Muscat

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    Dear Shannon,
    Beautifully penned Article.

  • John, Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    Very nice festal information, Also,

    God The Father stresses more on personal holiness as a spiritual house for His Dwelling and how to maintain it in a message to Maureen dated December 1, 2020

    Once again, I (Maureen) see a Great Flame that I have come to know as the Heart of God the Father. He says:

    “Children, I refer, once again, to your personal holiness as a ‘house’ which you and I build together and share together. As any soul is attacked by marauders who desire to weaken the soul’s spirituality, the soul who is unaware finds his spiritual ‘house’ losing its integrity by outside influence such as love of wealth, ambition, power and material goods. These loves are all passing. Love of these passing things is like a flood, earthquake or tornado that compromises the spiritual ‘house’ and destroys it.”

    “The soul must reinforce his spiritual ‘house’ by his own efforts of prayer, fasting from his own will and connecting to My Divine Will. The more he denies himself, the stronger his spiritual ‘house’. The soul beautifies his spiritual ‘house’ through this self-denial.”

    “I must continue with this analogy at another time. To all who follow it, I extend My Apocalyptic Blessing.”*

    Read Ephesians 6:10-18+

    * For information on the Apocalyptic Blessing, please see:


  • Savio Paes, Muscat

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    Nice article. We could visualise our parish feast as well. All the best, good work

  • Nirmala Monis Prabhu, Pangla / Mumbai

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    Dear Shannon,
    Very nice artcile. I felt that I am in shankerpura and celebrating my vodlem festh. Memories to cherish.
    Keep up to the good work. All the best. God bless you.

  • Anthony, Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 02 2020

    You just brought back my old memories.

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