(Last Updated on : 11/06/2011)
The Feast of Three Kings is one of the popular festivals of Goa
. The festival is celebrated on the Festa dos Reis or the Epiphany on 6th of January. The Feast of Three Kings is celebrated equally by the Christians as well as Hindus and attracts a lot of tourists. The feast is an ode to the Lady of the Mount who is considered as a protector of people. She is the patron saint who blesses the married couples with children fulfils the wishes made at her chapel. The worshiper offering prayers in her chapel is believed to receive sacred blessings and protection.
There is another legend associated with the celebration of the festival. The Feast of Three Kings is celebrated in the honour of the Three Kings of Magi who came to greet infant Jesus Christ with gifts for greet. It is said that a boulder on a nearby hill has two sets of footprints; one of an infant and one of an adult. It is supposed that the Virgin Mary and the infant rested here in order to let their horse quench its thirst.
Feast of Three Kings is celebrated in the north and south of Goa. After staying almost a year in isolation, just nine days before the feast the Novena starts. The festival ends after nine days of uninterrupted dance, music and festivities.
During these nine days, all the worshipers, Hindus and Christians alike ascend up to the chapel of the Our Lady of Mount and offer their prayers and seek blessings from her. Many processions are carried out during the celebration time. Our Lady of the Mount is decorated with garlands, incense, candles and jewellery as a sign of reverence.
On the last day of the festival three small boys of elite families of 8 to 10 years are chosen to enact the role of the three Kings. Each king is especially chosen as their descendants are from one of the following village's Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim. As an honour their reign continues until the following year. The kings are led by a boy beating a kettle drum and a band marching. These three boys take individual paths and riding on their horses climb up the hill of Remedios. For the procession they are decked up is elaborate clothing, from decorative crowns and gowns fit for royalty. These Kings go up to the chapel to offer gifts and money to the Lady of Mount. The Kings arrive with a jolly crowd. After the rituals elaborate feasting and celebrations are organised that spreads up the covering the entire hilltop in Goa. This fair offers its visitors variety of stuffs ranging from copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts. The fair also offers an array of Goan delicacies. The festival of the Feast of Three Kings is thus celebrated with much vivacity and merriment every year all over Goa.