The fama of the feast of Infant Jesus in Colva is celebrated every year with great pomp and profound faith. Devotees of Infant Jesus flock to the Church from early morning till late night. It is a celebration that has to be greeted as one of its kind. As a flag/ banner festival, it seems to share cultural affinities with Bonderam of the Island of Divar but it has a unique character of its own spiritual fervour. One can notice something of spiritual congruence with the fama of St. Sabastiao at Seraulim. But nothing can really beat the fama of Colva. The day begins with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist where the miraculous statue of infant Jesus is brought down from the high altar. Following this auspicious moment, the blessing of flag/ banner of Infant Jesus is held with great devotion and nine days of preparation for the feast of Infant Jesus is ushered in with joy.
The celebration of fama is so central to the people that it even clearly out shines the celebration of the feast which is celebrated on the 10th day after the fama. The fama is certainly bigger than the feast and is a unique tradition. People of all walks of life participate in the fama. Both Catholics and the Hindus enter the Church and pay their homage to infant Jesus by kissing the miracles statue. The In flow of the devotees in the Church is organized by the lay faithful, especially by the members of the confraternity in the Church of Colva and each and every person is assisted to devoutly kiss the miracles statue. The devotees show a lot of patience as they stand in a serpentine line to kiss the miracles statue and place their prayers and petitions before infant Jesus.
We stand in a tradition and are affected by the tradition unfolding through us. The tradition of fama is said to be more than 400 hundred years old. The legacy of the feast has its roots in a legend that tells that the miracles statue was found by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Bento Ferreira SJ on the bank of Sena in Mozambique. Fr. Ferreira is said to have brought the statue when he was transferred to Goa and posted in the Colva Church. Legends says that he had enthroned the statue in a beautiful altar in the Church. Since then innumerable miracles are credited to the miracles statue.
There are narratives that link the statue to the Rachol seminary, the then college of Salcete. The statue that is now in the Colva Church is said to be the replica of the same but with the diamond ring of the original statue. We can at least find another narrative concerning the origin of the statue. One of them also traces its origin to some sailors who are said to have found the said statue floating in the high sea. It links with Rachol seminary are also drawn by two narratives. One says, when the Jesuits were suppressed and were assembled in Rachol seminary, the statue was brought by the Jesuits to the seminary. There is also a narrative that tells that Fr. Ferreira was transferred to Rachol seminary and it is said that he took it to the seminary. It is reported that the people of colva flocked to the seminary to ask back the statue they loved so much. We told that the people were given an exact replica of the statue of the same. It is further narrated that the original diamond ring that had fallen of the road which be adorning the statue at Colva Church was found by the people .
Although there are multiple narratives, it is one faith and one lord Jesus that binds the people together. There no accidents in God’s plan. The statue of Infant Jesus in Colva Church continues to attract devotees and blesses them answering their prayers and petition. This is why the people of Colva, tourists as well as people of other faiths throng in large numbers at the Church to seek the blessings of infant Jesus. There are several among them to claim that their prayers are heard and that they have received favours through the veneration of the statue of Infant Jesus.
This year being stricken by covid-19 pandemic, the Holy Eucharist will held at 7 AM and will be telecast live on CCRTV , YOUTUBE and Sal TV. Hence, the devotees will not be able to visit and kiss the miraculous statue but will have to accept the general blessing of infant Jesus which will be telecast live. The parish priest will be specially praying for humanity to be saved from the global pandemic on the fama day. Although there are curbs on the celebration of the fama, the spirit of the people of Colva is not dampen. They are excited as usual and eagerly waiting to celebrate their fama, novena and the feast of infant Jesus with profound faith, deep devotion and great love. Like all feasts of the people of Goa, faith , life and Goan culture exhibits a rich blend and harmony in Colva.