Pilerne’s Matiechem Fest celebrated with much fanfare

The fest had a record 630 percussion instruments counted and performed
The first-ever Matiechem Fest was celebrated on 2nd October 2022.
The first-ever Matiechem Fest was celebrated on 2nd October 2022.Pic courtesy: Iris Gomes

Matiechem Fest took place on the 2nd of October 2022, in the lovely locale of Pilerne. The Pilerne church (St John the Baptist Church) grounds were festively decorated with banners of saints and make-shift kiosks made of mollem (woven palm fronds). Marius Fernandes’ trademark fests in various parts of Goa to preserve Goan culture, have rightly earned him the title of Goencho Festamkar.

Eric Pinto, a regular part of Marius’ fests, said, “We have nothing like the Guinness Book of World Records or the Limca Book of World Records pertaining to the people in Goa in particular so we decided to come up with Pinnacle World Records Goa. Whenever there is a fest or anything to do with Goa, we will upload the record onto this portal.”

The portal is yet to be set up, but Matiechem Fest has become the means to jumpstart this record collection of noteworthy Goan achievements. A record number of 630 percussion instruments were counted and played at the fest, thus becoming part of the Pinnacle World Records Goa.

Pilerne was once a village of potters.
Pilerne was once a village of potters.Pic courtesy: Iris Gomes

Although the record for the largest ghumot was set some years back at the Socorro church in Porvorim, the authentication of the record did not take place and the ghumot has found permanent residence in the sacristy of the Our Lady of Succour Church at Socorro.

Matiechem Fest, which has been celebrated for the first time, was curated by Marius Fernandes and Gwendolyn de Ornelas and saw a throng of nearly 1000 visitors.

Marius Fernandes was felicitated at the fest for his 22 years of organising various community-based with a commemorative trophy. He said, "I think the state government needs to focus on such village festivals as a new type of event. People need to be a part of the local festivals in the villages. This is our 57th festival. We have got a very dynamic tourism minister, Rohan Khaunte, who is forward-thinking. He was in Socorro where I used to organise festivals, and I hope with him and other stakeholders, this could be the future of Goa tourism.”

Different Goan percussion instruments on display.
Different Goan percussion instruments on display.Pic courtesy: Iris Gomes

The fest was peppered with delightful experiences of Goan culture such as the village 'passoi' (flag march) with a brass band, a street play and a Konkani skit. The mando and fugdi and other street dances combined with a display of traditional Goan occupations kept the crowd entertained.

The variety of delicious Goan food was relished by all who had brought their own cups and plates, in adherence to the 'zero waste and no plastic' campaign by the organisers.

Gwendolyn de Ornelas noted that the festival was women-centric, saying, "During the past few days that I have been here, I saw that the women were the ones who were on the forefront. They came forward, choreographed dance performances and cooked the dishes.”

Demonstrations on cooking fish the Goan way and extracting cashew nuts.
Demonstrations on cooking fish the Goan way and extracting cashew nuts.Pic courtesy: Iris Gomes

Parish priest Fr Derick Fernandes, who informed everyone that Pilerne was the home of the original potters of Goa, proclaimed the festival a great success. "We got an overwhelming response. It's a historic fest, with many firsts. We hope to continue this festival in future, keeping in mind the secular element of our village which is important," he said.

Professor Prajal Sakardande regaled the people with information about the village during 'balcaocheo gozali'. There was also a talk by horticulturist Miguel Braganza, and music performances by Konkani singer O'Luv and percussionist Carlos Gonsalves.

The Pilerne Startup, a weekly market that will be held every Thursday, was launched at the fest. The Pilerne Art Socio-Cultural Association (PASCA) and Pilerne Ghumot Girls Group were also unveiled at the fest.

The first-ever Matiechem Fest was celebrated on 2nd October 2022.
Celebrating Goa's heritage at Pilerne

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