MILAGRINCHO KHURIS - VATT (MIRACULOUS CROSS - THE WAY)
It is an open fact that most of us were converted to the Christianity by the Portuguese, soon after it set foot in Goa in 1510.
The early converts liked to proudly show off their newly acquired emblem - the cross. So, wayside crosses began to appear all over Goa. The converts usually took on the name of the priest or the College who or where they were baptized.
After conversion, they were expected to make a clean break from their Hindu past. Not only were their names changed but also their food habits, social customs and even dress had to conform to the way of living of the European Christians.
Several old Hindu practices were enhanced in their Christianized versions. The place of honor given to the family deity was now given to the Oratorio.
The flame burned before a crucifix and various Christian saints. The Tulsi plant in front of the house gave way to the Cross in front of Christian homes, and Christian prayers accompanied pre-marriage ceremonies.
In villages, the Novem (harvest procession) was headed by a Christian priest instead of a Hindu one and he also performed the traditional blessing of the first sheaves of paddy.
When a house foundation was laid, they carved out a cross on a stone and it was kept in front of the house until the construction was over.
As soon as a house was complete, they raised a stone pedestal inside the compound, opposite the balcony/verandah, and placed the cross-carved stone on it; this tradition is now slowly dying out. They celebrated a litany to the cross and inaugurated the house. They then placed flowers and adored the cross every day.
If you look around, you come across several crosses in Anjuna. Individually owned crosses are located inside their compounds and others are located by the road. Similarly, whenever a person met with an accident and died on the road, they erected and still erect a cross on the spot so passers by remember him/her and pray for his/her soul.
Most 'capelinas' (little chapels) which don't celebrate mass on Sundays are dedicated to Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) and their feast is celebrated all over Goa on May 3. In Portuguese they say: 'Tres de Maio, Santa Cruz'! (The third of May, Holy Cross!)
Thus, some crosses became the venue of individual and community prayer, which later on turned into chapels.
In the past, we celebrated only one feast in Anjuna in the month of January - the feast of Our Lady the Advocate of sinners, which was also known and is still known as "Boramchem fest" - (Feast of wild berries) because Anjuna is full of wild berry trees and they bear the fruit during this month. The feast was celebrated yesterday.
From 1999, we began to celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross on the hill, which is known as "Milagrincho Khuris" (The Miraculous Cross). The feast is always celebrated on the 2nd Monday of January at 4:30 p.m.
During our childhood the cross was known as "Dongravoilo Khuris" (Cross from the hill). It was also known as "Gorvam Raknneancho Khuris" (Cowherd's Cross) because during the monsoon season when cowherds grazed their cattle on the hill, whenever it rained, they took shelter in it.
If you stand in front of the cross, you can see the lush green valley below and also have a clear aerial view of most of Anjuna. From the left you can see Danddo/Sam Miguel Vaddo, Praias, Anjuna beach, D'Mello vaddo, Vagator, Xapora, the ancient Xapora Fort and the Arabian Sea beyond. On its right, you can see Badem, Siolim hill, Assagao and its church and part of North Mapusa. In the past, one could also see Marmagoa Harbour in the distance and the ships in the wait in the Arabian Sea, but now that view is blocked by growing trees.
Half a century ago, very few people venerated the cross. In our childhood, we visited the cross during our trips to the hill to collect "churnam and kannttam".
The only other time we visited the cross was when there was delay in rainfall. In the past, it almost always rained by mid-May. Due to this fact, most paddy fields were prepared for cultivation by mid-May. However, sometimes there would be delay in the rainfall, or if it rained it would suddenly stop raining and render the fields dry.
Whenever such a situation arose, people from Gaumvaddy, Igrez Vaddo, St. Sebastian Vaddo, and other vaddos, went on a foot pilgrimage to the cross. Elderly as well as children, gathered in the compound of St. John's chapel and then marched to "Dongravoilo Khuris". Each person carried a sizeable stone on his/her head, as a penance. We said rosaries, sang religious hymns and prayed throughout our journey.
Special hymns were sung during our trip to the cross. The following lines come to my mind:
Voile, voile vainginnim
Pavs ghal ghe Saibinnim.
Sant Anton manchea bettan
Pavs ghal Saiba amchea xetan
San Anton boddvo
Pavs ghal Saiba toddvo.
We would thus pray, sing hymns and proceed to the cross. Once at the foot of the cross, everyone knelt on the hard ground/rock and prayed whole-heartedly for the rainfall. Believe me, by the time we climbed down the hill, we would experience light showers; sometimes it rained quite heavily. Yes, it was a miracle!
Many miracles took place and still take place. Hence, the cross was named
"Milagrincho Khuris - Vatt" (Miraculous Cross - the Way) and the same is now written on 'Lobo's Memorial Arch', which is placed at the beginning of steps leading to the cross on 22/2/1992.
The arch was donated by Maria Magdalena M. Lobo, Felix Agnelo R. Lobo, Maria S. Lobo (Diana), Felen S. D. Lobo, Steffi M.F. Lobo, Dalenie Lobo and Aloisus Lobo in ever-loving memory of Francisco Gregorio Domingo Lobo (Tiplin), Dr. Blaze Michael Joaquim Lobo & Albert Tiburcio Lobo:
In the past, if one looked at the cross from the land/road during months of March, April and May, one would see a person seated on its top. He was none other than "Kazkar Laddko" - Laddko from Chinvar who hired the Anjuna hill for cashew crop.
The top of the cross served him as a watch tower from where he used his binoculars (eyes) to find out if local boys climbed the hill to steal his cashews/cashew seeds. If he noticed anyone climbing the hill, he would alight from the cross, run towards that direction and drive the boys away. If anyone was caught stealing "fokam" (raw cashew seeds) or cashew seeds, he was slapped and warned that next time he would be
punished with application of "bibeacho dik" (raw cashew seed sap).
In the past, there was no way to go to the cross; people followed several foot paths created by "kazkars" to walk to the cross. Now there is a flight of stairs - 309 steps in all (could have been many more steps but for spread-out platforms in between steps) so people in good health can easily climb the stairs (thinking that they are climbing Mount Calvary) and pay a visit to the Miraculous Cross.
Fourteen Stations of the Cross have been arranged on either side of flight of stairs leading to the cross. Station No.1-5 and No.10 are located on the right side and Station Nos.6-9 and 11-14 are located on the left side. Every year, Way of the Cross is held on the 5th Friday of Lent at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Mass.
The little 'capelina' (chapel) was built in 1929. It was always painted and is still painted with 'dovem koyar' (whitewash). No changes have been made to the 'capelina'. A new altar has been built in front of the chapel. On 16/1/1999, stadium-type round seats of stones were built on its right side, and on the left side on 1/1/2000.
On the exterior, in front of the 'capelina', just below the cross, the year (1929) is written, and below that a white dove, symbolizing Holy Spirit, is carved out. Inside the 'capelina', just below the cross, the following writing appears:
YOU OPEN WIDE YOUR
HAND OH LORD AND
GRANT OUR DESIRE
The following writing appears on the pedestal of the indoor altar:
'THE CROSS PRAYER'
Oh adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you've suffered death on the cross for our sins. Oh Holy Cross of Jesus, be my true light! Oh Holy Cross, fill my soul with good thoughts. Oh Holy Cross, ward off from me all things that are evil. Oh Holy Cross, ward off from me all dangers and deaths and give me life everlasting. Oh crucified Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me now and forever. In honour of the precious blood of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and ascension which lead to everlasting life; true as Jesus was born on Christmas day; true as Jesus was
crucified on Good Friday; true as Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus down from the Cross and buried Him; true as Jesus ascended into heaven. May He preserve me from my enemies visible and invisible forever. Oh Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Mary and Joseph pray for me. Lord Jesus Christ, through your suffering on the cross, grant me strength to bear the cross without fear or dread and give me the grace that I may follow you. Amen.'
So, dear readers, a lot used to happen and many miracles took place in the past because people's faith was very strong which is why God immediately heard their prayers and granted their requests. Nowadays, people's faith in God has diminished, and instead of praying to God, they question over His existence and create confusion in Christian society. This is why these days instead of raining in the month of May
it rains in July, and, when it rains, it pours and creates floods and submerges most everything.
Whenever you are in Anjuna, please don't forget to pay a visit to the Miraculous Cross. If you pray sincerely, your request will surely be granted!
'SAIBACHEM PANVOLL' - (LORD'S FOOT)
If you walk about a kilometer on the south of the Miraculous Cross, you come across yet another chapel. Actually, there was no chapel in the past. The "Saibachem Panvoll" (the Lord's Foot) was on a rock. If you look around, you will come across stone quarries. Perhaps, people who extracted stones from the quarries decided to carve out a foot as a remembrance and named it as the 'Lord's Foot'. As children, we visited the place along with the elderly from our ward and other wards to pray for rain.
The following is written at the top of the chapel:
Manuel Francisco Dos Remedios
Last year, a foreigner built a chapel on the spot. It was nice of him to erect a chapel but I think it was wrong on his part to cover the whole rock on which the foot was carved out. Now, only the foot is left in an enclosure; the whole rock is covered with ceramic tiles.
Mob: +91 9420979201
Email: domvalden @ hotmail dot com
[As forwarded to www.goa-world.com on 11-01-2010]
ADIM ANI ATAM:
"FEAST AT ANJUNA HILLTOP: The annual feast of the Miraculous Cross at the Anjuna Hill will be celebrated on January 12 at 4:30 p.m.(NT)"
Adim Anjuna ganvan, Janerachea muinean, fokot ek fest astalem, Advogad Saibinimchem fest zaka lok “Boramchem fest” mhunnon pachartalet, karann hea muinean sogleam Anjunchea borink boram zatat.
Maka ekdom khoxi bhogli vachun Janerache 12 tarkechea dispottea “Goacom Daily News Clippings”-acher ki porchea dissa, Anjunchea dongrar, Milagrinchea Khursachi porob somorpili mhunnon. Adim hea khursak “Dongrailo Khuris” mhunntalet.
Ordo xekddo adim, hea khursak zobor konn man dinaslet. Mojea burgeaponnar ami hea khursak kaim pautt bhett kortaleaum jednam ami dongrar voitaleaum churnam ani kannttam toddunk ani khaunk. Abril-Maiachea muinean, ganvan than barik nodor marlear kednaim hea khursa voir ek munis boslolo distalo ani to anik konn nhoi aslo bogor Bhattintlo kazkar, LADDKO, zo tacher boson, apleam dolleamchea durbin-acho upeog korun, polletalo zorui konn burgue dongrar choddon etat zalear apnnem rendak keleleam kazinche kazu chorunk. Khorench tea khursachea zagear ubo raulear akkea Anjuna-chi varea voili dixtt (aerial view) mellta ani tossoch lambdig Arabian somdir-ui disti poddta asson tachea pottar patmari ani botti.
Dusrem, lok hea khursak bhett kortalo, jednam paus poddonk vell lagtalo. Zoxem amchea vachpeank ugddas astolo, adim choddxim xetam dumpek vomptalet ani oxem korunk Maiache 15 tarker passun paus poddonkuch zai aslo. Paus poddonk vell laglear, soglo Gaumvaddintlo lok ekttaim zatalo asson tantun Igroz vaddeantlo tossoch Sam Sebastiao vaddeantlo lok, ani zonn eklo aplea mathear ek voznadik fator dovrun, baguivont gaiannam gavit ani ters rezar korit Anjuncho dongor choddtalint. Hem pursaum Sam Joaochea kopelachea angnneant than suru zatalem ani tantun zonn ekleachim burguiim bi bhag guetalint. Lok Sant Antonik-ui ulo martalint oxem gaiann gavun: Sant Anton manchea bettan, paus ghal saiba amchea xetan; Sant Anton boddvo, paus ghal ga toddvo, adi. Oxem rezar korit ani gaiannam gavit lok dongrailea khursaxim zomo zatalint ani nettan paus eupak prarthnam kortalint, ani khorench dongor denvon lok sokol pauchea adinch paus zoddonk suru zatalo. Oi, hi ek milagr asli. He porim uprant zaiteoch milagri zaunk lagleot ani xekim hea dongrailea khursak “MILAGRINCHO KHURIS” (MIRACULOUS CROSS) naum dilem ani oxem boroun dongrachea mullant eok toktto ubo kelolo assa. Adim hea khursaxim vochonk paim vatt passun sarki nasli punn atam dongrachea mullant than panvdde bandleat jeant bolaiqen aslelean sompeponnim te panvdde choddon, Kalvar Porvot choddta oxem niallun, Milagrinchea Khursak bhett korunk zata.
Tumi Anjuna ganvank bhett kortat tednam hea Milagrinchea Khursak bhett korunk visronakat. Thir bhavartan magnnem kelear, milagr ghoddon tuvem maglelem mellonk xekta!
Tor vachpeanim, adim amchea Goeant zaitench zatalem ani milagrii bi ghoddtaleot, karann lokacho bhavart ekdom ghott aslo ani teach passot Deu tanchim prathnam rokddinch aikotalo ani maglelem ditalo. Atam bhavart unno zait guela ani lok Deva laguim magche boldek Taka proxnn ghaltat ani To assa vo nam gai mhunnon duspott ubi kortat. Hakach lagon atamchea kallar Maiachea muinean paus poddpacho to Julhai-an poddta ani tovui bi itlo gosgoxeanim ki buddti eun soglem buddoun uddoita.
Adim Devache sumurti pormonnem choltalet ani athmo assa mhunnon soth mandtalet. Atam “scientific methods” sodunk boumtat athmo assa mhunnon dakoll korunk. Tor tumkam dista munxeakullan oxem dakoll korunk zatelem oxem?
14 January 2004
[As archived by gaspar almeida, www.goa-world.com]