Feasts & festivals of Jaffna
Monday, 02 August 2010 00:00
By Srimal Fernando
During these Hindu festivals in Manipay, Maviddapuram, and Thondamannar reverberating sounds of drums announcing the procession emerging from the temple, led by drummers and flag bearers, the ringing of bells and the thin strains of flute music combining with the throb of drums followed by devotees. Extravagantly decorated chariot festival is held annually at the Nagapushani Amman temple in the Nainativu Island.
The drummers drum and kavadi dancers perform during the pulling of the “Ther” or chariot by the devotees during procession. In all festival planning, a feeling of family is sensed in the preparation of food on variety of traditional vegetarian dishes such as dosai, idli, vadai and curries that are served on to a banana leaf.The annual church saint’s feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Navali was celebrated on grand scale on 29th June with nine days of novena and vespers run up to the feast .
The flag hoisting of the church was held nine days prior to the feast. During the church feast season the devotees flocked in large numbers to invoke the blessings and thank for all the favours and protection received through the saints. The environment with soft sand and Palmyra palms around the church enables the pilgrims to spend more days to enjoy their stay with prayers and relaxation. On the night of vespers the village had a carnival atmosphere, with narrow streets being decorated with red and a yellow striped flags and colour-full lights. The Saint’s feast mass is offered with solemnity started at dusk and ending the final act of prayers delivered by the roman Catholic priest.It was the hope for peace that resonated throughout the high mass on the feast day. “The saints will always keep us safe; they will never let us down; they have always been with us; was with us and they will be with us forever,” was sung buy folk singers of the church . After the holy mass the statues of the saints was placed on a gaily decorated chariot and taken on procession on streets of Navali on the final day. The catholic devotees sung hymns “Veruththaam” in Tamil and reciting prayers. The feast of Saints Peter and Paul reaches a climax as hundreds flocked to worship. Ice cream and sweet vendors line up near the church to sell their products to the devotees. The feast brought an entertainment, myth and merry to the villages .
There was a festive atmosphere in Navali which can find fulfillment in harmonious interaction. The saints church feast was an excuse for the villagers for the preparation of traditional sweetened and spicy mid day meals.
St. Anthony’s church feast of Kachchativu Island is another amazing Roman catholic feast that draws devotees from Jaffna and India . The two day church feast in the Kachchativu Island was held recently after lapse of several years. The Catholics of the area had built cadjan shelters for worshippers. They have placed the miraculous statue of Saint Anthony with devotion and piety. There are large number of Buddhist devotees who travel to Jaffna during Vesak and Poson seasons. The worshippers observe pansil and offer prayers and tie a coin in clean white cloth at the Nagadeepa and the Jaffna town Buddhist temples.
Source: Daily Mirror : http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/life/132-life/17247.html