09 Erangal Feast - Bombay’s ‘Carnival’? - Msgr Francis Correa

posted Jan 9, 2019, 8:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 9, 2019, 8:54 AM ]
The annual festivities at St. Bonaventure Church have become a magnet for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Gone are the days when the Catholic faithful of Bombay was confused with regard to the exact Sunday of the celebration of the festivities at Erangal. Now, for more than 35 years, the second Sunday of January is fixed for this celebration, and that has been one of the reasons for the steady increase in the crowd that assembles at Erangal on the second Sunday of January. The celebration of the feast this year is on Sunday, January 13, 2019.

The Catholic faithful in Bombay was always aware that December 26 is fixed for the celebration of the feast at Kashimira. Since it was the very next day after Christmas, many villagers assembled there in their bullock-carts and horse-carts. For them, it was the beginning of the local Christmas celebration, for ushering in the 'Christmastide'. This prolonged Christmastide, commencing on the hill of Kashimira on Boxing Day, concluded at Erangal beach on the occasion of the celebration of Baravi.

The massive and impressive church façade facing the sea at Erangal was in ruins and in a dilapidated state for generations. Although the Church of Madh continued celebrating here the annual feast of Baravi, the church of Erangal remained abandoned for the rest of the year. It remained almost in oblivion, till the late Rev. Fr Peter Bombacha came on the scene. He was appointed an assistant at Madh church, and the pitiable condition of the structure at Erangal challenged him to exhibit his talents. Both Catholics and non-Catholics rallied around him, and the ruined church started wearing a new look. The asbestos sheets were soon placed over the roofless church.