Melbourne: Monthi Fest celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety


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By Stephen P. D’Souza
Pics by Hilton Lewis
Bellevision Media Network

‘Happy Birthday’ Mama Mary
You would be glad to know …
The children have offered you flowers
On them, your choicest blessings bestow!
 
If all the flowers offered to you are gathered on this earth
A ‘colourful flowery rainbow’ would form on your land of birth!

 

Melbourne, 07 Sep: “Sakkad Sangatha Melyan, Sakkad Lagi Saryan; Amche Tale Ek Karyan, Moryek Hogolsiya” - As the singing of this evergreen Marian hymn resonated in the Preston City Mini-Hall in Melbourne, hundreds of children offered flowers and venerated the statue of Infant Mary during the Monthi Fest Celebrations held under the auspices of Melbourne Konkan Community (MKC) on September 07, the first Saturday of Spring 2019.

 

A procession to the Main Hall followed thereafter for a Eucharistic celebration in Konkani. The main celebrant of the festive mass was Rev. Fr. Richard Alosis Coelho, Director of Fr. Muller’s Institutions, Mangaluru. Rev. Fr. George Stephen Monis, Principal of Darshan College, Kengeri, Bengaluru; Fr. Gilbert Carlo, Boronia in Victoria and our very own Fr. Prakash Cutinha of Geelong Parish in the Arch-Diocese of Melbourne were the co-celebrants. Fr. Anil Mascarenhas and Fr. Prakash Menezes are away and were fondly remembered during this occasion.

 

Fr. Richard in his homily touched upon various aspects of Mother Mary’s life and gave in-depth examples of how our Mother has touched and blessed the lives of people in this world. He also highlighted the significance of the Rosary in his sermon. He wished the huge congregation made up of more than six-hundred Konkans, a very happy feast and confessed in his entire life, it was the first time that he was away from Mangaluru during the Nativity feast. Many in the congregation were visiting Melbourne from the undivided Dakshina Kannada District. During the offertory procession, fresh vegetables and fruits were offered while the Choir led by Valerian Menezes sung traditional hymns, reverberating in everyone’s ears.

 

Once the spiritual celebration ended, it was followed by a social one in the same hall. The comperes for the evening Valerian D’Souza and Priya Andrade took over and thence were a smooth flowing of the extraordinary extravaganza that were about to unfold. Before it could all take off, it was time for refreshments in the form of tea/coffee, snacks and cakes and a chance for the Mangalurean Konkans to meet and greet each other.

 

Following the Refreshments Session, President Jane D’Souza began her Presidential address by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. Speaking behind the two screens that portrayed the successful events held during her Presidency and the events in store, she thanked the huge audience for their support, the sponsors for their backing, the Committee members for their planning and hard work and the Volunteers for giving their all for making this Event a huge success.

 

The ‘Welcome Dance’ that soon followed was the cynosure of all eyes. Soon after, Mangulorean lass Miss Universe Australia Priya Olivia Serrao was called on to the stage and congratulated to a thunderous applause for the milestone achieved and was wished the very best in representing Australia for the Miss Universe contest. The visiting Priests were felicitated and honoured for making time to be with us on this joyous occasion.

 

 

The evening was entertaining with songs, dances, skits churning non-stop one after the other that kept the audience spellbound. The various dances by different regional Konkani dance groups: Eastern Stars, Northern Beats, Toxic Twist Crew, Cranbourne Stars had a moral of their own and mesmerised the audience. The dances by tiny tots from Lida Menezes and Group, Philomena Fernandes and Group and the Belly Dance by the duo Reema/Amritha were much appreciated. ‘Konkani,’ ‘Bollywood,’ ‘Salsa,’ ‘Hip Hop,’ ‘Wacking,’ ‘Contemporary,’ ‘Korean Pop Dance,’ - it was an explosion of creativity, expression and music. Valerian Menezes, Arun Vas and Ramsy D’Silva regaled the audience with their rib-tickling comedy skits. Certificates of Appreciation were handed over to all the participants.

 

The Platinum and the Gold Sponsors were felicitated, without whose support the Event of such a magnitude would have been a distant dream. After the grace, was a sumptuous traditional vegetarian dinner followed by desserts that included laddoos and vorn. The delicious meal was followed by a game of ‘Housie Housie’ conducted by Manoj D’Silva that had the lucky few take away attractive prizes. The Associations Secretary, Stevin Carvalho, thanked the Konkans for turning out in large numbers and for supporting the activities of the Association throughout the year.

 

From half past three in the afternoon, the festivities carried on with much vigour, enthusiasm and gaiety culminating only at half past ten at night. It was a mega family gathering Downunder thousands of miles away from home celebrating the birthday of Mother Mary dressed in their traditional best. The Baila dance brought down the curtains of Monthi Fest 2019 - but the community spirit, friendships made and the memories carried will last for a lifetime.

 

MKC is a registered Association based in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria. It welcomes Mangalurean origin Catholics residing in Melbourne/Victoria to be a part of this growing community. We are excited as our vibrant Association steps into its tenth year. For new migrants, the first year membership is free. MKC Committee Members can be contacted by emailingmkonkanc@gmail.com or via logging into Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/MelbourneKonkanCommunity

 

Monthi Feast celebrations around the world

 

 

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