Monthi Fest (Birthday of Mother Mary) Celebrated in Chicago


Chicago, Sep 13, 2009: The Mangalorean Konkan Christians Association (MKCA), USA, celebrated the feast of Mother Mary, popularly known as “Monthi Fest” with all the festivities and grandeur.  All the Mangaloreans in Chicago experienced a renewed spirit of joy to attend this program, where the day was beautiful with mild weather and full of sunshine.

Christians around the world celebrate nativity of Mother Mary with great devotion but in Mangalorean tradition, it is coupled with celebration of the new harvest of crops. This feast can be compared to Thanksgiving Day celebrated in North America, where all the family members get together for family reunion and thank the Lord for His blessings on them.

The program began with a procession by the children carrying flower baskets and adults following them to the hall singing the most favorite hymn of “Sokkad Sangatha Mellyam”.  The children offered their most beautiful flower to the Infant Mary and when the people started singing “Moriyek Hogollsyam”, children were thrilled to offer flowers in honor of Infant Mary. Dorothy Rego guided the children to the procession and organized the Liturgy. This was followed by celebration of Holy Mass in Konkani by Rev. Fr. Henry Sequeira.  In his homily Fr. Sequeira explained the significance of this celebration and stated that the Mangaloreans celebrate this feast of Mother Mary in unique way by honoring her as the creator of life and comparing that with bountiful of new crops of the season through her unique blessings. Also Fr Neil, Sr. Matsy, Sr. Linda, Sr. Alphie and Mrs Barbara graced the occasion with their active presence from Indiana. Fr. Henry welcomed 6 new families who joined to celebrate Monthi Fest for the first time in Chicago.

The MKCA Choir group organized by Rexon D’Souza and conducted by Darrel Mascarenhas sang glorious hymns in Konkani, which raised the festive mood of celebrants present.  Fr. Sequeira blessed the new crop of rice kernels (especially flown for this occasion from Mangalore; courtesy of Mrs. Jane Veigas of Bendur, India) called as “Novem.”  After the Mass a few blessed kernels were mixed with sweet coconut milk (roce) and partook by the people present as a mark of unity by thanking the Almighty for the new crop.

As an initiation of formal program, the MKCA president, Lawrence Mascarenhas welcomed the gathering and requested them to support the cause of MKCA in uniting all the Mangaloreans in keeping and promoting the unique Mangalorean culture in Chicagoland.  He requested their help and cooperation in future programs. He also thanked the gathering for their support and co-operation during the term of his presidency.

This was followed by wonderful home made snacks provided by the members of MKCA.  There was open bar managed by Godwin Rego.  All the members present were thrilled to taste the great homemade Ambades with Chutney, Gobi Manchuri and Chole as appetizers.

During the Happy Hour, many couples hit the floor to dance to the tunes of famous Konkani songs “Mongan Asonk Borem” and “Claudia”.  Alphonce Mascarenhas, Denzil Concesso, Roopa Misquith and Ligoury Martis entertained the audience by singing hit Konkani solo songs to the tune music provided by Darrel Mascarenhas

Mark Rodrigues arranged the dinner, which had mouth watering homemade authentic Mangalorean menu items prepared by MKCA family members.  As a strict adherence to cultural celebration of Monthi Fest all the items on the menu were vegetarian.  There was typical Mangalorean “Vorn” which was relished by all the members present.

The Chairperson of this very successful program Queenie Mendonca, thanked all the members and guests for their wonderful contribution in the success of this program.   As a mark of typical Mangalorean culture the members sang “Loudathe Dominum”.  All the members then hit the floor to dance to the tunes of Konkani, Hindi, English and Spanish songs presented by the D.J. Anil D’Souza and Darrel Mascarenhas

The program was wonderfully compeered by Dr. Austin Prabhu.

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