Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to all the world
- The birth of the Virgin Mary links the Old and New Testaments, ushering in a new era in Salvation History. The anticipation of the Saviour is about to end when the infant Mary arrives. She is the Daughter of Zion, representing the people of Israel, and the new Temple which will become the dwelling place of God Incarnate.
Oman: As every year the Church celebrates mother Mary’s birthday on September 8, this year too the Mangalorean community of Sohar continued the legacy of celebrating Monti fest on September 7, 2018. All the faithful assembled at 5 p.m and began the devotion to mother Mary by praying the Rosary. Next was the traditional ushering of flowers at the statue of mother Mary. It was indeed a nostalgic moment for all the children and adults alike. This was followed by the feast mass being offered by the parish priest, Fr. Augustine Fernandes. People marched towards the church in a procession along with the priest and the altar servers.
After the mass, people gathered at the hall for cultural programme and the traditional ‘nove jevan’.
At the outset, a ritual of consuming’ novem’ drink , prepared by mixing the ‘kanshiyo’ with coconut milk was served to all. Eldest among the community did the honours. The Angelus was recited in devotion to mother Mary. This set the mood of all the attendees as one big family gathered for the celebrations of the family feast. The first of the three folds of happiness (thidhodo ullas) of this day was accomplished by this feeling. September 8 is also celebrated as the harvest festival. It is customary to offer new crop to mother Mary on this day, to thank her for the blessing she showered on our daily bread. Several miles away from our homeland, the custom was lived on by a procession of vegetables and fruits and was offered to mother Mary. An apt song was sung by the children ‘Novens Jevan suru kartha….’.
Though she enjoys the glory of heaven, the Virgin Mary is still lovingly concerned with the struggles of Christ’s Body on earth. So she constantly prays for our needs with a mother’s love. The children from the community presented a tablo depicting her importance. Her intercession aids in our salvation was the message conveyed to the audience. This accomplished the second of the three folds of the happiness of the day. Devotion and trust in Mary mother is the essence of true Christian faith as she was chosen by God to ease our pathway to glory after the original sin committed by Adam and Eve.
Birthday celebrations bring happiness to the celebrant as well as to family and friends. Next to the birth of Jesus, Mary’s birth offers the greatest possible happiness to the world. Each time we celebrate her birth, we can confidently hope for an increase of peace in our hearts and in the world at large. The Catholic Church celebrates today the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on its traditional fixed date of September 8, nine months after the December 8 celebration of her Immaculate Conception as the child of Saints Joachim and Anne. The birthday cake was shared by all as a symbol of mother Mary birthday. This was the third of the three folds of happiness of the day (September 8 ).
The evening also included the medal distribution to the winners and runners-up of the cricket and throw ball matches being held on August 31, 2018, ‘Monti fest cup’. Cricket matches included two categories; ladies, kids mixed and gents only. Throw ball matches for ladies only were being held in the evening. To all of our surprise, we all were invited for a yoga session by the representatives of the Ooredoo Oman (Sim company). They also had organized various games for children as a part of the promotion. There was a lucky draw which was won by one of the active members of our community. All the members were happy to receive a free T-shirt by the organizers and happily pose for their product.
After the felicitation of the winners of the ‘Monti fest cup,’ it was time for meals.
‘Novem jevan’ was blessed by the priest, Fr. Augustine Fernandes. People relished the various delicacies of authentic Mangalorean dishes being prepared for this day. Sone sukka, Karam, Sango, Padvale, Pathravade, Alu dento, Bittergourd, Bendi, Moong, Kuvalo and the vorn. The food was served on banana leaves along with salt, pickle and rice. A few cultural programmes like singing and dancing by a few members kept the atmosphere enchanting. The celebrations concluded by singing ‘Laudate’.
Monti fest celebrations 2018 at the St.Antony church Sohar was another day of unity and happiness. As the church celebrates 25 years of its existence, I would like to conclude this brief report by sending a plea to our heavenly mother on behalf of all the parishioners, to continue to bestow her blessings on all of us. May every family that belongs to this parish grow and prosper in her love. I hereby conclude with a quote that fits in the sentiments of us all….
Always Stay close to this heavenly Mother.
Because she is the sea to be crossed to reach the shores of eternal splendour
As quoted by St. Padre Pio
View the highlight video: https://youtu.be/EiPtOPkZ3kc