The feast of Our Lady of Hope in Chinchinim

The Chinchinim feast is one of the first feasts to be celebrated in Goa after the monsoons
The Church of Our Lady of Hope, Chinchinim
The Church of Our Lady of Hope, ChinchinimGomantak Times

The Church of Our Lady of Hope is situated in the picturesque village of Chinchinim, South Goa. The architectural style of the church is very similar to the churches in Benaulim, Varca and Curtorim, and has an almost identical façade.

Also called Nossa Senhora de Esperanca Igreja em Chinchinim in Portuguese, the church was built in 1590 by the Jesuits. It has a main prayer room, a false transept, tile-roofed nave and no side chapels. Following renovation, more elements were added to the structure, such as barrel vault, semicircular shell niches etc. The façade has two slightly set-back towers. The crown over the central section has cupolas and skylights.

The Church of Our Lady of Hope, Chinchinim
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FAIR & FESTIVITIES

This church celebrates its feast on September 8 every year, which marks the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, with September 8 generally being a weekday, the feast is celebrated by the villagers on the Sunday after September 8 – and this year it is September 11.

With the past two years drowned in pandemic woes and social distancing protocols, Chinchonkars (the people of Chinchinim) are all looking forward to celebrating this feast with great pomp and gaiety. This village feast is one of the first feasts that is celebrated after the monsoons, and is followed by a series of other church feasts.

On the church grounds and close to the cemetery, vendors from near and far set up stalls that attract massive crowds. The week-long fair is a hit not only with Chinchonkars but also with people from the neighbouring villages, who turn up in large numbers.

The Church of Our Lady of Hope, Chinchinim
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The first day ie the feast day, is packed with people and the spirit of shopping is high. From food to fancy clothes, pots to pans, toys and teddies, there is lots to choose from, with something to satiate every customer be it a toddler, teenager or adult.

Hubert Rodrigues, a true Chinchonkar recalls, “As I am no longer young, I look forward to attending the novenas to our beloved Mother Mary every year, and also attending mass, specially in the evenings, with good homilies by different priests, making it very enriching and peaceful. When I was young, I always looked forward to eating my mom’s sannas, roast beef and sorpatel, and then roaming in the evenings in the fair. This feast is very special for every villager.”

Tracy Nachu D’Souza, a Chinchonkar, happily married in Mumbai says, “Oh, how I miss this feast! I wish that I was in Goa right now. As kids, we would be delighted to receive pocket money from mom and dad. We would happily spend it on ice-cream, cotton candy, have a ride on the giant wheel, and buy key chains with our names on them. Neighbours and friends would hang out with us, and we would just roam and roam! Ah, those were the days! How can I forget the chonne and soap bubbles? These little things in life are the big happy moments that can never be replaced.”

On the feast day, there will be masses at 5 am, 6.30 am, 8 am, 9.30 am & 12 noon

The Church of Our Lady of Hope, Chinchinim
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