Monthi Fest: The Sixth Pilgrim Stays Webinar
Streamed live Tuesday, 8 September 2020 on Facebook and You Tube
The video can be viewed here:
A special feature on the Nativity was created by our team:
Sixth in our series of webinars, this was a virtual celebration of the traditional Monthi Saibinnichem Fest, conducted jointly with The Hungry Mangy. Breaking from our regular pattern, the event was a mix of music, fun and games with a historical backdrop. Compered by the exuberant Reshma Monteiro, the event kicked off to a festive start with the notes of the hymn ‘Sokkad sangatham melya’, rendered in English. The noted historian and author Alan Machado Prabhu spoke on the Origins of the Feast, tracing its roots from Goa to the churches in Mangalore where the celebration of the Nativity was first introduced by Fr Joachim Miranda.
The event began on a solemn note, Jacqueline Fernandes performing flawlessly the appropriately chosen hymn Ave Maria, which in Latin means Hail Mary. Originally composed in 1825, by the Austrian Franz Schubert, it was sixth in a series of seven songs set for Sir Walter Scott’s poem the Lady of the Lake. The piece was later adapted to sing the Hail Mary in Latin, and it is this hymn version that has since overtaken the original German in popularity. Jacqueline’s rendition was sublime and set the note for more beautiful musical performances to follow.
Alan Machado came on next and provided the historical context of the Monthi Saibinnichem Fest. Alan is the author of three books largely centred on the Mangalorean Catholic Community. His first book was Sarasvati’s Children which was a well received history of the Mangalorean Catholics. He followed his debut novel with Shades within Shadows and Slaves of Sultans, both based on the captivity of the Mangalorean Catholics under Tippu Sultan. He was the speaker at our Third Webinar, which focused on the History of Christianity in Goa.
Alan began by speaking on a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, dating back to the 16th century and which is preserved at the St Aloysius Museum at Mangalore. He went on to describe the significance of the customs associated with the Fest. Touching upon how this feast was carried by our forefathers when they migrated from Goa to the Canara region, Alan also spoke of how the feast is still celebrated in Goa today.
Fr Joachim Miranda from Talaulim parish in Goa is widely credited to have first introduced the Monthi Saibinnichem Fest to Canara. Fr Miranda was first heard of as the parish priest of Gangoli in 1759 and then in Omzur in 1762. He went to serve at Madikeri in Coorg where he ministered to the spiritual needs of the Catholics serving in the army of Haidar Ali. Fr Miranda then went on to establish the Monte Mariano seminary at Farangipete, about 10 kms from Mangalore.
1784, was the most dreadful year in the history of the Mangalore Catholic community, for it was in this year that they taken into captivity by Tippu Sultan and force marched to his capital at Srirangapatna. The effects of the captivity were long lasting. The surviving Catholics renewed their devotion with increased fervour, as they viewed the capitivity as some form of divine retribution for having been lax in the practice of their faith. The Monthi Saibinnichem Fest was revived soon after their return to Canara, and in course of time came to be identified with them. The feast which originated in Goa gradually lost its importance in the land of its birth.
Jessica Fernandes, then came on shortly before the ending of Alan’s segment to sing the Psalm Laudte Dominum, which is traditionally sung in Canara at solemn occasions. Striking once again the the most harmonious notes, Jessica enlivened the segment by her gifted vocals. There was a brief Q & A session where Alan took a couple of the questions raised by the audience.
Namratha Lobo D’Silva came on next and presented the traditional meal served for the Monthi Saibinnichem Fest. All the vegetables were identified and the manner of cooking presented to viewers. Needless to say, this was a very popular segment and came in for much praise. Following her were the Bangalore siblings Joanna and Joshua Ebenezer who hail from a family of talented musicians. They played the Ave Maria, rendered on violin and enthralled the audience with their performance.
Last up, but by no means least, was the real star of the evening- Glen Larson Saldanha. Belting out number after number, close to the Mangalorean heart, his was a performance delivered with aplomb. Fittingly his last number was a cover of the Beatle classic, Let it Be. And that is how things will be until we meet again at our next webinar. Ciao!