Milagres Feast, celebrated on the second Monday after Easter, holds great significance to Goan Catholics and Hindus. People from all walks of life throng the Mapusa Church of St. Jerome to venerate Our Lady of Miracles or ‘Milagres Saibinn’.
What makes Milagres Feast so significant
According to folklore, there were seven virginal sisters. Lairai, Mhamai, Kelbai, Morjai, Mahalsa, and Adiadipa. Milagres Saibinn (Our Lady of Miracles) of Mapusa, is believed to be the seventh.
It is believed that the deity Mirabai converted to Catholicism and assumed the name Milagres.
Owing to the sisterly bond the two share, Goddess Lairai of Shirgao and Milagres Saibinn of Mapusa, on their respective feasts, exchange ‘Ojem’ (a basket). On Milagres Feast, a pot of Coconut oil is sent from the Lairai Temple on behalf of Goddess Lairai, as a gift to her younger sister Milagres. In return, Milagres sends Lairai an ‘ojem’ of ‘mogrim’ (scented white Jasmine flowers), believed to be Goddess Lairai’s favourite too.
During the Novenas, a statue of Our Lady of Miracles (Milagres Saibinn) is placed in the Church courtyard under a pendal, for the customary ritual. A stall is set up alongside the statue providing coconut oil in little vessels for a small sum. Hundreds of devotees queue up to venerate the ‘Saibinn’ by pouring the coconut oil over her statue.
A cure for many ailments – Our Lady of Miracles
Milagres Saibinn is believed to cure various ailments and many devotees from different religious communities make vows, request healings and favours by offering wax figurines in a representation of their prayers to Our Lady of Miracles.
The famous Milagres Fest
A grand fair accompanies the Milagres Feast. All streets leading up to the Church are lined with colourful stalls selling a variety of products. Famous among them are Goan sweetmeats (khaje), roasted gram (chone), home-made goan food, toys, clothes, utensils and locally made furniture. The fair lasts for a week and is a must visit for people from across Goa.
The Novena Schedule
Fama: April-6, 2018
Novenas: April 07-14, 2018
Vespers: April 15, 2018
Feast: April 16, 2018
Daily 6:30 am, 8 am (with Novena), 6 pm (High Mass with Angelus)
Sundays: 6:30am, 7:45 am, 9 am (English), 6pm
Feast Day (Monday): 5am, 6.15am, 7.30am, 8.45am, 10am (High Mass), 4pm, 5pm
The Milagres Feast is proof of secular Goa where religious tolerance abounds.