The beautiful, white building that is the Holy Spirit Church graces the main square in Margao. Surrounded by gracefully built, Portuguese-style mansions, this church is known not merely as a religious place but also as an architectural delight from a bygone era. The Holy Spirit Church is eye-catching inside and out, with its numerous carvings and impressive façade.
Perhaps the best known feature of this church however, is its feast day, which is celebrated with great pomp and fervour with a week long fair.
The Holy Spirit feast takes place in the square in front of the Holy Spirit Church. The church is located in Margao, which is one of the main cities in the south of Goa.
The feast day is celebrated at the end of May, before the onset of the monsoon season. It usually takes place on Pentecost Sunday (fifty days after Easter) and continues for a week, till the following Sunday.
The Holy Spirit Church Feast is celebrated with great pomp and fervour by all the people of Margao and its surrounding areas in the Salcette Taluka. The priests in their red vestments along with the laity of the church have a large procession that takes place on Pentecost Sunday.
The procession is conducted with great spirituality and solemnity and ends in the church itself with a solemn and prayerful high mass. The feast mass is attended by the maximum number of people, and the church is usually packed. There is also a huge and colourful fair that is set up in the Margao square. The stalls are colourfully decorated with buntings, and sell a variety of things ranging from foodstuffs to knickknacks and handicrafts.
The festival is also known as the ‘Purumentachea Fest’ or ‘Festa de Provisao’ which means the feast of provisions. This is because the local women come from all across the state to stock up on Margao’s famous dried fish before the onslaught of the monsoon season. They also purchase spices and masalas as well as pickles as all these are best prepared during the long, hot summer days and cannot be made in the monsoon season when the humidity and lack of sunlight would lead them to spoil.
The feast of the Pentecost is celebrated by the Catholic church on the 7th Sunday after Easter Sunday. It is celebrated 10 days after the feast of the Ascension, when it is believed that Jesus ascended, body and soul, into heaven.
After His death and resurrection, Jesus spent some time with his apostles before ascending into heaven. Before he went into heaven, he promised the apostles that he would send His Spirit to guide them on their mission, in spreading His word and founding the Catholic Church. On the feast of Shavaut, the apostles along with Jesus’ mother Mary and some of the other women were gathered in the upper room, where Jesus had celebrated his last supper.
The bible states that then was a rushing, as of a great wind, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of tongues of fire. They then all began to speak in different languages and yet could be understood perfectly by all those who heard them.
The Holy Spirit Church feast is a gala occasion and celebrated with vim and vigour by all the locals. Those who are in Goa at this season should not miss a chance to visit the Margao church and purchase some of a famous dried fish and spices from the fair.