With the celebration of Easter, the season of feasts starts in Goa, with the first one being the feast of Jesus Nazareth in the village of Siridao, in Tiswadi taluka. The feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady of Nazareth, commonly known as the feast of Jesus Nazareth, is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.
Siridao is a village, surrounded by Curca and Bambolim villages, and a branch of the River Zuari. This village has long been a popular picnic spot, especially for the residents of Panjim and neighbouring villages. In the past, the Portuguese (including nobility) inhabited this village, although its population, today, consists largely of fisherfolk and toddy tappers.
CHURCHES & CHAPELS
In the beginning, the village had a church (dedicated to St Maria Magdalene), built by the Dominicans in 1603. When the church collapsed in 1869, the parish became a part of the Goa Velha Church.
Sometime later, a chapel was built and dedicated to the Holy Souls (Santas Almas) and Our Lady of the Rosary (Nossa Senhora de Rosario). The chapel, commonly known as Anjachem Kopell, was built in 1877 by Antonio Matias Gomes, from Panjim, in his property, called Morgado. It was built in memory of those who had perished in the cholera epidemic, which struck Siridao between 1790 and 1810.
In 1906, the chapel was elevated to the status of a church. This church showed signs of damage during the Koyna earthquake of 1967, and was eventually, a bigger church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, was built in 1973, and still stands today.
Built on a hillock in 1604, the chapel of Jesus Nazareth was renovated and expanded in 1906. When the Dominican church of Siridao collapsed, two statues from the church were brought to this chapel. The feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady of Nazareth is celebrated in this chapel, and draws people from all over Goa to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Hence, in Siridao, the chapel feast takes precedence over the church feast.
THE ‘PEZ’ TRADITION
In the olden days, people would come from far off places in canoes, singing and playing the ghumott (a traditional musical instrument of Goa) on the eve of the feast day, and the people of Siridao would extend their hospitality to these visitors, even though they were strangers.
Following the feast mass in the morning, the statue of Our Lady of Annunciation is taken in a procession around the village.
A famous tradition, observed by people attending the feast, is that of eating pez (canji, kanji), made of local boiled rice (ukkde tandul), which is distributed to everyone, free of cost. The canji is cooked in seven huge andeo (gigantic copper vessels).
Some people vow (locally known as angvonn) to eat this blessed pez if their prayers are answered. Pickle is also served along with the pez (rice gruel).
In the past, before serving the public, pez was first offered at the xim (demarcating village line), where meat dishes were kept for ‘the spirits.’
This pez is provided by the Dempo family, who are the owners of the majority of land in the village. The other landlords are the Velhos, Mascarenhases and Waglos.
This year, the annual feast of Jezu Nazare, better known as 'Pejechem Fest', will be held at the Annunciation Chapel, in Siridao, on April 24, 2022. The Director of the Diocesan Centre for Biblical Apostolate, Fr Mariano D’Costa, will be the main celebrant for the feast mass.
MASS TIMINGS: 6 am, 7 am, 8 am, 9 am, 10.30 am, 4.30 pm