The complete flavours of Christian festivals can be relished in its most pristine form by visiting the St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Manarcad during its annual festival days. Manarcad Church (as it is commonly called) in Kottayam district of Kerala automatically bumps up on every devotee’s list while on a pilgrimage in God’s Own Country.
The festival is locally known as ettunoyambu. Ettu in Malayalam means eight and noyambu means fasting. September 1 to 8 marks the renowned eight-day lent of the Manarcad Church.
Watching the deific celebration of the nativity of Virgin Mary will remain etched in your memory forever. Such is its exquisiteness and divinity.
(ornamented vibrant umbrellas), hundreds of gold and silver crosses, brass bands and orchestras with an air soaked in prayers. This is the sum effect of the ‘Raasa’- a celebrated feast procession that is carried out as part of the festival on 6th September. This is the most awaited part of this eight day festival. The magnificent procession or Raasa is believed to be one of the biggest spiritual celebrative processions.
Thousands of natives and foreigners chanting songs of prayer to Holy Mary, flock to the church to take part in the rituals and in the grand procession.
Every year on September 7th as part of the festival, the sanctum sanctorum will be opened for devotes to get a glimpse of their Holy Mother with her child and thousands throng the church premises to seek blessings on these days. On 14th September, it will be closed again.
Paachoru, a sweet made from rice, milk and jaggery, considered to be sacred by the devotees will also be served during the feast. This is made as a revered offering in the Church on the final day of the festival.
A spectacular display of fireworks and traditional artform performances enhance the festive spirit of this remarkable carnival.
The video will take you on a journey through the cultural vibrance of the Manarcad festival and will certainly create a craving for a live experience!