Catholics want ‘Monti Fest’ declared a State Holiday
Mangaluru: If other not so major Hindu feasts are declared as state holidays, why not “Monti Fest”, which is considered as the only family feast for Catholics living in this area, is the question many Catholics wants to ask CM Siddaramaiah and the government. It has been noted that on “Monti Fest” aka Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary feast only Christian institutions are closed, while other non-Christian institutions remain open. So what about the Christian students studying in these non-Christian institutions? Don’t they a get time to spend this feast with their family?
Considering these questions, Christian leaders have started a signature campaign urging CM Siddaramaiah to think it over and declare ‘Monti Fest’ as a State holiday effective this September 8, when the feast is celebrated with fervour, culture and tradition. In Konkani it is called “Monti Fest”, while in English it is called “Feast of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary”, a major Mangalorean Catholic festival celebrated in fervour on 8 September every year. This festival celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in the Mangalorean Catholic community involves blessing of Novem (new crops). The festival derives its name from the Monte Mariano Church at Farangipet in South Canara and was initiated by Joachim Miranda, a Goan Catholic priest at Farangipet in 1763. Though Tippu Sultan destroyed the churches of Canara, he spared Monte Mariano Church in deference to the friendship of his father Hyder Ali with Father Miranda.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Fr Ronald Prakash D’Souza-President of Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) said, ” Although we had tried our best last year with the same kind of signature campaign, but for some reasons it didn’t click well. But this year we are committed and will work hard to see that CM adheres to our demands and make ‘Monti Fest’ a state holiday. If Christian educational institutions in Kodiyal (Mangaluru) and in rest of India observe this traditional feast with a holiday, why not non-Christian institutions also do the same? It would also benefit the Catholic students studying in their institutions. And for this reason once again this year we have started the signature campaign in all the parishes that come under Mangaluru Diocese, thereby urging the state government to declare ‘Monti Fest’ as a state holiday”.
“The sad part is that few of the non-Christian institutions have purposely scheduled exams on September 8, and those Catholic students studying in these institutions will not be able to celebrate the feast with their family members. This is not right! There are over one lakh children and youth, including Christians in DK district education institutions and if there is no holiday on September 8, the meaning of this Catholic family feast will be lost. Starting last Sunday we have already started collecting signatures from all parishioners, it will be submitted as a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of respective districts. I request all Catholics to participate in this signature campaign aimed for a good cause. On a later date, we will be personally meeting CM Siddaramaiah and convince him to do the needful”, added Fr D’Souza.