Saint Francis Xavier : Patron Saint of Goa
The most festive months in Goa are November, December and January. One of festivals is the Feast of the patron Saint of Goa i.e. St. Francis Xavier. People all across the world come to show their gratitude, devotion and ask for blessings from the saint of Goa.
A brief of the body and relics of The saint :
He was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island, Taishan, Guangdong. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St. Paul’s church in Portuguese Malacca on 22 March 1553. An open grave in the church now marks the place of Xavier’s burial. Pereira came back from Goa, removed the corpse shortly after 15 April 1553, and moved it to his house. On 11 December 1553, Xavier’s body was shipped to Goa. The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637.This casket, constructed by Goan silversmiths between 1636 and 1637, was an exemplary blend of Italian and Indian aesthetic sensibilities. Saint Francis Xavier’s relics are kept in a silver casket, elevated inside the Bom Jesus Basilica and are exposed (being brought to ground level) generally every ten years. There are 32 silver plates on all the four sides of the casket depicting different episodes from the life of the Saint.
About the novenas and feast :
The novenas start on 24th November and end on 3rd December which is celebrated as the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the day when he died. These ten days are spent with alot of devotion that the mass which is even celebrated at 4 am in the morning is always full. Devotes stay at Old Goa so that they can receive his grace. They dont stay in hotels but they stay either in our around the Old Goa church. The GTDC hotel called Old Goa Residency which is the closest to church is always full during these dates. As one of the sacrifices people start walking from their houses however far it is from Old Goa. On all days there is a big fair with alot of stalls, games and shops of salespeople displaying almost everything a household requires. The streets of Old Goa are the most busiest and crowded during these days. The traffic is controlled very well by the Goa Police so that the devotes have no problems during the novenas and feast day.
Overall my experience on the same is always different every year, when I attend the feast of one of the greatest Saint of Goa.