Nathal Fest 2012 Celebrations

Chicago: As 2.3 billion Christians around the world are poised to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Mangalorean Konkan Christians Association, celebrated its 11th Christmas Program with its focus on sharing and giving. It was sunny but one of the coldest day of this year’s winter season. As the temperature was below the freezing point, the Christmas spirit was in full swing with both young and old celebrating Nathal Fest in its true spirit.

The program began with celebration of Holy Eucharist by Rev. Fr. Richard Vaz, SVD. During the Holy Eucharist, the MKCA choir members sung Konkani and English hymns under the leadership of Dorothy Rego. The Keybord played by Daphne Fernandes gave a special touch to the hymns. In his homily, Fr. Richie Vaz SVD invited everyone to remember and relive again that wonderful time of our salvation history, when God made the big decision to become ‘Emmanuel’ (God-with-us) for us. God refuses to leave us alone but wants to be with us, intimately involved in our lives. The spirit of Christmas challenges us to set aside our selfishness, greed and materialism and open our heart to Christ to guide us every day in treating others with respect and love, bringing peace, happiness, contentment and blessings to everyone. Wishing everyone Merry Christmas, Fr. Richie said, “Jesus is the only gift that we can keep unwrapping – not just today, but throughout our lifetimes. Let us carry the light of Christ back out into our world – a world desperately in need of God’s love and allow Christ to be born again in the lives of all.

The President of the association, Godwin Rego welcomed all the guest, well-wishers and members present. He invited all the participants to share the Christmas spirit and enjoy the wonderful activities arranged by the organizers. He thanked for their gracious presence in making this program a success.

The compeer of the Program Steevan D’Souza, invited the audience to savor the typical Indian appetizers and the open bar. There were recreational activities for all ages – the children, teenagers and adults. The robust participation of the members was a joy to all the audience present. The winners of the activities were: Passing the Globe – Winner is Merwin D’Souza and runner-up Luella Mascarenhas and Musical Chairs – Winner is Mercy Concesso and runnerup Edna Mascarenhas.

There was unique “Dessert Competition” arranged by the organizers. There were nine entries and following participants won this competition: Anita D’Souza, winner (Rice Pudding) and Shannon D’Souza, runner-up (Mango Kulfi).

This was followed by sumptuous dinner with Dukra maas (Pork dish) with Sanna and Chana (prepared by the members); along with other mouth watering menu items. The Dessert Competition items were a hit and were a test to the taste buds with every item having its own unique taste.

The program was followed by singing of Christmas Carrols by children, under the leadership of Crystal Rodrigues. As they sang “Jingle Bells”, there was grand arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus sent electric waves to the children present. They were all mesmerized and happy to receive gifts from Santa and Mrs. Clause.

The General Secretary of the Association and the Compeer of the program, Steevan D’Souza thanked all the audience present for their gracious presence and all those who prepared the Kuswar Items.

There were several door prizes and silent auction. The organizers announced that the “Kuswar Packets”, the typical Mangalorean style Christmas goodies, prepared by the Members of MKCA, are on sale to benefit the Educational Fund of Don Bosco Club, Puttur. The Christmas Kuswar is a typical Mangalorean Konkan Christian culture, whereby families prepare Christmas goodies and share them with their relatives and neighbors during Christmas time – a mark of sharing of joy. As usual the attendees hit the dance floor with full force for the musical tunes of Konkani, English, Spanish and Hindi songs presented by the D.J. Joey Mendonca. The program was grand success under the leadership of Steevan D’Souza, Chairman of the program. As the theme of the program reflected “Sharing and Caring”, the organizers announced that all the net proceeds of the program are benefitting the aforementioned noble cause of assisting the needy children in their education.

Christmas Around the World 2012

Chicago: In the midst of Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s 71th Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light event, the Mangalorean Konkan Christian’s Association, USA, presented variety of cultural activities to showcase the rich cultural heritage of India.  This is the Tenth program in succession presented by MKCA, USA, at this cultural jamboree.  In this mega event people from different ethnic backgrounds representing more than 50 countries (including India) participated.  It was a unique experience for MKCA, USA, to represent India in this mega event.

The Museum halls are decked, holiday singers and dancers fuel the festivities, and the sparkle of dozens of decorated trees greets you at the 71st annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light.  The Museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, and it is surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees – beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their country of origin’s culture and holiday traditions.

The Compeer of the program Dr. Austin D’Souza Prabhu in his introduction stated that the Christianity was spread in India by one of the Apostle of Jesus, who came to Indian sub-continent in the year 59 AD.   He stated during this time Christianity had not stepped it’s foot in Europe and of course in the American continents. India is enriched with communities of various cultural backgrounds and it is an honor and privilege for MKCA to present this rich cultural heritage during this mega event.

Godwin Rego, President of the Association, welcomed the audience present.  He stated that this program was made possible by various cultural organizations of Indian Origin and they are:  Nataraj Dance Academy, Kalapriya Dance Academy and University of Illinois, Chicago, Bhangra Group.  He thanked all the groups, members and well wishers for their presentation at this esteemed program.

The cultural program was initiated by singing “The Star-sprangled Banner”, the US national anthem by Karen Joseph, who mesmerized the audience with her deep melodious voice.  This was followed by Mahishashura Mardini Bharath Natyam presentation by Nataraj Dance Academy.  Introduction to Kalapriya Dance Academy’s Bharath Natyam dance was presented by Priya.  The UIC’s Bhangra Group presented its Dandia Dance with high spirits.  All the dances presented depicted different facets of classical and regional nuances of Indian sub-continent.  Audience was thrilled to witness the variety, serenity and high voltage dances presented.

Jake with his sons James & Phillip and pianist, Shan Abraham, presented Christmas Carols and boosted Christmas spirit of the audience with their superb tunes.  During this time the entry of live Mother Mary and Joseph (Jossie Mendonca and Shannon D’Souza) with Baby Jesus boosted the theme of the program.  As the members and well wishers sang, “Dashing through the snow”  and “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, the Santa Claus entertained the audience with his dance, “Jingle Bells” and wishes of the season. 

In its conclusion all the participants of the program sang the Indian National Anthem, the “Jana Gana Mana”. This program was wonderfully arranged and organized under the able leadership of Queenie Mendonca, Immediate Past President and Chairperson.

It was announced that MKCA is poised to celebrate its annual gala program of Nathal Fest or Christmas on Saturday, December 22, 2012 and directed them to follow-up with  mkcausa.org website for further information.