Wednesday, December 1, 2021
HomeOpinionDiaryBandra Fair: A festive event

Bandra Fair: A festive event

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra (West), Mumbai, stands on a hillock about 80 metres above sea level, overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws over ten lakh devotees annually. During the Bandra Fair week, over six to seven lakhs people visit the shrine. The shrine attracts people of all faiths and walks of life who pray for thanksgiving or requesting of favours.

Every September, the feast of ‘Our Lady of the Mount’ is celebrated on the Sunday following September 8, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of Jesus Christ. It is a weeklong celebration that attracts thousands of people from all over Mumbai and its suburbs. The weeklong celebration will commence this year from September 14 and will conclude on September 21.
During the entire Bandra Fair week, all roads in Bandra (West) are decorated with colourful buntings. Many people put up stalls selling religious items, black roasted grams and various kinds of sweets. Stalls sell all kinds of Goan, Mangalorean and East-Indian sweets and wax idols of the Blessed Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body. The sick and suffering choose one that corresponds to their sickness and offers it at the church.

Stalls selling little bottles of soapy water that can create bubbles are very popular with children. The innocent fascination of blowing bubbles that eventually burst brings joy and laughter to all around. Clowns, mimicry shows, circus stunts and other entertainment programmes add to the festive feel. You can have your photograph taken too with various backgrounds of your choice.
Snacks and complete meals made at the homes of the locals residing in the fair area are famous for their taste, variety and economical rates. There are such food outlets at almost every corner of the fair.

Music makes one’s mood merry. Daily programmes are announced which add to the activities. This area of the Bandra Fair is truly a melting pot of all ages and faiths. Everybody seems to be on their own festive trip, till they finally go home. There are also stalls selling East-Indian Marathi, Konkani music CDs and VCDs. East-Indian Marathi songs are enjoyed not only by the East-Indian (Marathi Christian) Catholic community of Mumbai, but by other communities like the Goans and Mangaloreans as well. The Bandra Fair is estimated to be around 450 years old.

In the year, 1700, according to historians, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was disfigured by the Arab pirates and the right hand of the statue was broken in order to get hold of a gold lined object in her hand, after which it was tossed into the sea. According to a legend, a Hindu fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. And his dream came true a few years later. In the year, 1760, the damaged chapel of Mount Mary‘s Basilica was rebuilt and the statue which the fisherman had found in the sea was substituted with a statue of ‘Our Lady of Navigators’ from the nearby St. Andrew’s Church in Bandra (West). It was in the year, 1761 that the original statue of ‘Our Lady of the Mount’ was returned to the Church after being remodeled with a child in her arms.

Jubel D’Cruz

Most Popular

- Advertisment -[the_ad id="220709"]