It's Christmas eve in Panjim, the capital city and everyone's dashing around for last minute gifts or just to get home. The Immaculate Conception church stands lofty on its perch of a zillion steps. They have put up a giant crib of sorts, with cutouts placed at the first steps landing. Sensible, it keeps the tourists busy clicking pics of themselves and allows for peace at the church front where preparations for midnight mass are on.
We attended mass at Velim, where a 2000 strong congregation turned up. There's a different charm in a 'midnight mass', be it for Christmas or New Year or Easter. The reading of the Gospel was accompanied by a film clip projected onto a side panel. The vicar ran faster than the film and he had to take a long pause to allow the relevant moment to come up, which was Mary and Joseph entering the inn. In that silence, one of the elderly backbenchers began snoring and he could be heard loud and clear, provoking titters in the crowd.
Coffee and cake was served after mass and general camaraderie prevailed with hugs and kisses generously dispensed all around. Star and crib competitions are the order of the day alongwith carol singing. My kids triumpantly declared that their gang had made 427 rupees the previous evening.
A large star hanging in Baga, Velim. The club there belted out carols all night long on the loudspeaker. Huge stars and elaborate scenarios of the Nativity scene deck the roads all over Goa in Christmas season. They will be taken down only after the Feast of the Three Kings on the 6th of January.