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‘Purumentachem Fest’ a window on Goan life 

Recent rain showers witnessed in the state reminded many old timers of the importance of Purumentachem Fest, also referred to as the ‘Feast of Provisions‘. The feast is held once a year at the Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Besides the spiritual fulfilment the feast also provided many Goans to stock up on items that are unavailable during the monsoon.

Portuguese word ‘provisão’ inspired Konkani word ‘Purument’ meaning provision. It is also said to be the last feast to be celebrated before the onset of monsoon in Goa.

Preparing for monsoon

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Today technology has made it possible for people to purchase their provisions daily from the market. However, in the past it wasn’t the case and hence families around the state would stock up on all the provisions required to get through the rainy season. It was very difficult to move in Goa during the rainy season.

Availability of fish in the market during the ‘Monsoon’ is limited. This is mainly due to compulsory fishing ban during that period. Traditional fishermen or ‘Ramponkars’ do not venture into the sea due to its rough nature. Dried fish is one of the most sought after items purchased here.

Items sold at Purumentachem fest include:

  • Garden vases
  • Cooking utensil such as ‘budkulo’ (a type of pot used to boil rice)
  • ‘Adoli’ (a coconut grater attached to a traditional Goan stool)
  • ‘Mill`er’ (a type of piggybank)
  • Spices
  • Pickles (mango, lemon, carrot)
  • Furniture
  • Footwear
  • Clothes

The sale of provisions was one aspect of the festival.

Spiritual aspect

Another reason for Goans to throng to the feast is faith. This year the parish celebrated its 450th anniversary. “We have to be careful not to lose our faith. We have this rich heritage of the faith. People coming to Church is a sign that faith is alive. Enormous churches in other parts of the world simply have no faithful and are being turned into museums. Every church in Goa is a living church and this is a sign of faith,” said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi in a report.

A prominent sterculia tree in the vicinity of the church has an immense significance. “The tree marks the beginning of the faith in Margao and was planted when the church was founded. The tree protects the church from lightning and also gives shade to the cross which precedes the church. The tree is very prominent in the vicinity of churches in Salcete,” said Author Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas in a report.

Purumentachem fest gives a glimpse into the Goan way of life. It also shows many traditions that are followed in Goa. Over the years a few non-traditional elements have been added to the festival. Despite this it still hasn’t lost its original essence.

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