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The statue of Our Lady of Mount
Bandra Fair is a week long fair held annually in the Bandramarker suburb of Mumbaimarker, Indiamarker starting on the following Sunday after September 8. It is celebrated to commemorate the Nativity of Mary, mother of Jesus, on September 8.

The Bandra Fair is estimated to be around 300 years old. The fair started when a statue of Mother Mary was found floating in the Arabian Seamarker between 1700 and 1760, which, according to a legend, a Koli fisherman had dreamt about a few years earlier.

History

Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady of Mount goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to bandramarker and constructed the Mount Mary Churchmarker there. In 1700 Arab pirates disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand. In 1760, the Mount Mary Church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators from the St. Andrew's Church nearby in Bandra. This statue had an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. This was believed to be a miracle by the locals, and the Bandra Fair was started to celebrate this. However, in 1761, the original statue of the Lady of Mount was renovated with a child in her arms and is worshiped at the fair ever since.

Celebrations

Wax idols at the Bandra Fair
The Fair draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Mount. During the Fair, tens of thousands visit the shrine of Our Lady of Mount. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to the statue for thanksgiving or requesting of favours.

During the Fair, the entire area is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious objects like wax idols of Mother Mary along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body. The sick people choose one that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help.

Sweets like Guava cheese, Kadio bodio (tiny stick made of Maida flour dipped in sugar syrup and dried) from Goamarker, Mawa peda (thick cookie made using evaporated milk) from Uttar Pradeshmarker, Halva from Keralamarker, Tamil Nadumarker, and Delhimarker, and the chikki (a sweet made from groundnuts and jaggery) from Maharashtramarker are usually found at the stalls during the fair.

Complaints

Recently, there have been many issues raised by the residents residing on the Mount Mary Road in Bandra where the Fair takes place. Some residents have complained that all the public transport is reserved for pilgrims during the fair, leaving the nearby residents with no transport. Due to large scale cooking on the roads, some residents have complained of pollution, while many have complained that mosquitoes increase in number during the fair. Also, nearby dental clinics and dispensaries on Mount Mary Road prefer to remain closed during the fair.

Popularity

The Bandra Fair is very popular in Mumbai. Evey year, different political parties set up their political banners across the suburb of Bandramarker inviting the pilgrims to the Fair.

The Bandra Fair is also popular across the world especially with the Indian Catholic diaspora. A similar event called the "Bandra Feast" is organized annually by the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISCC) in Abu Dhabimarker.

References



External links

  • http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1190520
  • http://mountmarybandra.com/the-church/bandra-fair
  • http://bandraonline.com/festivals.htm
  • http://www.mumbaipluses.com/maladborivaliplus/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=200809262008092615072520087cc50af&sectxslt=&comments=true
  • http://www.theindiancatholic.com/bandra.asp
  • http://www.mumbaipluses.com/andheriplus/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=2008092620080925132816285722f4e4&sectxslt=&comments=true
  • http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=8a7a76ac-5c0e-4be6-aed0-2c32beba4d27&&Headline=Candles%2c+colour+back+at+Mount+Mary
  • http://www.mumbai.org.uk/places-of-worship-in-mumbai.html



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