Chandavar feast ( ಚಂದಾವರ ಪೇಸ್ತ್)

We are Muslim.  We are visiting this church from our Grandfather’s time .  This church has special powers  -A family visiting the Church

Chandavara was quite a big and celebrated city before the 17th century. But now it is famous only for Chandavara pesth (pronounced in local as /peisθ/) or Chandavara Feast, which is a unique Christian fair that happens on the 3rd of December every year. The Church associated with the feast, the St. Francis Xavier Church is quite a large Catholic Church built in 1678 during the reign of the Keladi Nayak dynasty. The church was destroyed and built again for various reasons. The church was last renovated in 1878 and now it is beyond repairs. To recreate the spiritual experience, a new modern church is built near the old one. But the old church still carries all the memories and beliefs about the place. Different rituals and the Masses start ten days before the day of the feast. The relic of St. Francis Xavier is displayed for veneration on the feast day and thousands of pilgrims from all nearby villages, towns and even neighboring states visit the church on that day.

Everyone in Kumta and Honnavar know about this ‘Pesth’. They treat this feast as equal to any other feasts of the region. The elderly people of Kumta can express delightfully how the Pesth happens and they tell you the most colorful days of the Pesth. They even recall that apart from the rituals there were also cultural and commercial events such as kusthi, dancing, dramas, circus and many more happening during Chandavara Pesth. Even people from Goa, Sirsi, Karwar, Honnavar, Bhatkal and Mangalore stay in Chandavara for two days to witness and enjoy the feast. Today we may not see all of these, as a large portion of such events is consumed by the plastic shops. But till date one can witness the Yakshagana and circus during the feast.

Another interesting fact of the feast is that people belonging to all religion visit the church and take the blessings. There are families, who are not Christians, but have been a frequent visitor for generations. Some of them take a vow to light candles for favors or to express their sense of gratitude. This shows the existence of unity and harmony between the people around these areas for ages. 

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