Mumbai's Gaothans Observe 'Cross Feasts' To Commemorate Village Crucifixes

Mumbai's Gaothans Observe 'Cross Feasts' To Commemorate Village Crucifixes

Many of the crucifixes have been lost due to road-widening and other projects, while some were marked as ‘illegal’ by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2024, 11:19 PM IST
article-image

Mumbai’s Gaothans, settlements that predate the establishment of the city, celebrated the ‘annual cross feast’ on June 1 to commemorate the crucifixes that dot the villages.

Holy crosses are a common feature in East Indian localities in Mumbai, Thane, Vasai, and Raigad. East Indians trace their origins to religious conversions of local castes like Agris, Kolis, Bhandaris, and other groups, to Roman Catholicism by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Community members gather to recite the rosary in October and May to commemorate the crosses, but May 31 is especially celebrated as it is designated as Cross Feast Day. Many of the crucifixes are centuries-old, but some were erected more than a century ago to ward off the plague. The commemoration includes the rosary in the East Indian dialect of Marathi. Devotees are served boiled grams and soft drinks after the prayers as part of the celebration. The Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP), the main representative organisation of East Indians, had declared May 31 as Holy Cross Day in 2013.

Apart from praying for the local community, the participants also observe rituals for a good rainy season. On Saturday, the event was celebrated at 36 Gaothans, including Pali and Chuim in Bandra, Madh and Malwani in Malad.

Many of the crucifixes have been lost due to road-widening and other projects. Some were marked as ‘illegal’ by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Gleason Barretto of MGP said that the crosses needed to be protected as they are part of the cultural and historical heritage of the city. “The tradition of Community Holy Crosses was initiated even before BMC existed. The authorities need to respect the religious sentiments and ancestral traditions of the sons-of-soil East Indian Community. Various initiatives are being set-up by like minded associations to protect and restore our traditional community holy crosses,” said Barretto. “The Gaothan holy crosses are symbols of faith and have saved the indigenous people from disease and famine. We pray that the authorities realize the importance of these holy crosses.”

RECENT STORIES

Kangana Ranaut Requests For CM's Suite At Delhi's Maharashtra Sadan; 'Accommodate Her In Rashtrapati...

Kangana Ranaut Requests For CM's Suite At Delhi's Maharashtra Sadan; 'Accommodate Her In Rashtrapati...

Maharashtra: Ex-BJP Leader Suryakanta Patil Rejoins Sharad Pawar's NCP (SP) After 11 Years

Maharashtra: Ex-BJP Leader Suryakanta Patil Rejoins Sharad Pawar's NCP (SP) After 11 Years

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde Meets Amit Shah In Delhi Amid Reports Of Cabinet Expansion Ahead Of...

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde Meets Amit Shah In Delhi Amid Reports Of Cabinet Expansion Ahead Of...

Mumbai Customs Foils Multi-Million Rupee Smuggling Operation; Seize Over 10.90 Kg Gold Worth ₹6.84...

Mumbai Customs Foils Multi-Million Rupee Smuggling Operation; Seize Over 10.90 Kg Gold Worth ₹6.84...

Countdown Begins For MLC Polls: Semi-Finals Before Maharashtra Assembly Elections

Countdown Begins For MLC Polls: Semi-Finals Before Maharashtra Assembly Elections