The small hamlet of Reis Magos is positioned on banks of the Mandovi river
and is home to two famous landmarks of Goa - the Reis Magos Fort and the
Reis Magos Church. It is also one of only three places in Goa, where the
spectacular Feast of the Three Wise Men is held. This great feast is
celebrated in The Church Of Our Lady Of The Mount in Old Goa and is
popularly called as the Festa Dos Reis or The Epiphany Day. The Lady of
Mount is a symbol of protection believed to grant people's wishes for their
children. The most important aspect of this feast is that although being a
Christian festival, it is celebrated by Hindus with equal zeal and passion.
When does it fall?
The festival continues for nine days (ending on 6th Jan) in January. There
is a procession of young boys decked out as the Three Kings to the
Franciscan chapel of Reis Magos, near Panjim on the north bank of Mandovi.
On the last day three young boys dressed as kings, reach the chapel after
driving to different paths and offer the Lady of Mount everything they
possess. The rituals are proceeded by a fair where you can shop for a whole
range of items ranging from Goan meal to copper and brassware, furniture,
clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of different
Origination of The Festivity
Some historians state that the site now possessed by the Chapel of Remedios
was earlier the site of a Hindu temple. May be that's the reason why a large
number of Hindu devotees make the yearly pilgrimage visit to the Mount to
worship the Madonna, bringing with them offerings of flowers and candles.
According to a legend another slab on a nearby hill is clearly stamped with
one adult and two baby footprints together. This is carved out of the rock
signifying the spot where the Virgin rested with the Infant while the horse
that brought them quelled its thirst before moving to Hill of Remedies
where, she chose to remain.
This day is started with massive prayers and is continued by fun and
grandiose feasting. It is a tribute to the three kings who came with gifts
to see the Lord in his infant stage. The demanding bells call the faithful
devotees to prayer and they visit the shrine in a non-stop stream. The
gushing crowd flocks to the hill's edge to watch the three kings from three
different routes. Climbing on the white horses, they attire in royal
garments, embroidered in gold, move on their way and a whole procession of
relatives, friends enjoy the spectacular view.
Each procession is started by a loud music of band and crackers bursting
all the way. The crowd in a mood of merriment hails the Magi with a loud
cheering. After the ceremony, they are led down with the same traditional
ceremony with which they were brought up the hill. The whole picturesque
scene is a colorful dream of ancient pomp sparkle and radiance. Presently,
there is an excellent road curving up its way up the steep hill right to the
door of the shrine, making the climb possible by car. Still, most of the
devotees opt to lift upto the hill. Many come to offer their thanks for
accomplishing their wishes.