THE GOAN NETWORK | LONDON
Goans hailing from Assolna got together on November 13 to celebrate their village feast in the UK for the first time.
The Assolna Goans UK celebrated their village feast of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Heston, which was celebrated by Goan priests Fr Patrick D'Souza and Fr Jerry Fernandes. The dine and dance was followed soon after the Mass next door at the Pope John Centre Hall.
Starting from scratch with no funds and only banking on their villagers to support them, the Assolna Goans UK went ahead with the idea and came out successful as the feast celebration was houseful beyond expectations.
“Starting from scratch was always a challenging task because we did not know what the outcome would be. We had no funds whatsoever, but still, we went ahead,” said Jhofild D'Costa, one of the organisers and tiatrist/singer.
“Edwin Rodrigues and I came up with this idea of celebrating our Assolna Church feast here in the UK and on the same day, where our feast was held in our village.”
“We even thought of coming up with a Konkani song on our village, but had to drop the plan as it was very very hectic, but we will do it in the near future.”
“We got a huge support from our fellow villagers who wholeheartedly sponsored in one way or the other. We held only three meetings before the event. Edwin and I have both managed events for our Goan communities when we were in Sharjah, so we shared our experience with the others regarding the planning, which helped everyone,” he added.
The Mass was celebrated in Konkani and the choir was led by Edwin. The villagers were pinned with the traditional feast flowers on their attire. The offertory procession was also held with villagers participating wholeheartedly. The vote of thanks in the church was delivered by former Assolna sarpanch Maggie Dias, who now lives in Swindon.
The statue of Our Lady was also blessed by the priests and this statue will be given out to all the Assolna villagers throughout the UK to take into their homes.
The dine and dance was followed soon after the Mass and one of the UK Goan topmost bands ‘Treble Makers’ enthralled the crowd with scintillating music right through the end. The event was compered by Jhofild, who himself is a seasoned MC.
Sumptuous dishes were prepared by some of the villagers cooked at home. Antonio and Rosefern Crasto took the mantle of shouldering responsibilities regarding food to everyone present.
Franky D'Silva, Silvano Crasto, Brenda Fernandes, Sandrico Fernandes made the necessary required overall arrangements, while Ferio Fernandes took charge of the accounts.
“There was a mood from most of the people to keep this tradition alive and celebrate the feast every year in the UK. We thank all our village sponsors who donated something or the other to make our feast a memorable one. Next year, we have thought of passing the baton to our village juniors here in the UK to carry out these responsibilities with everyone's backing,” said Jhofild D'Costa.