Velankanni Annual Festival
The Annual Feast
During the annual fest days, the Basilica and Vailankanni take a new life, and the vicinity is decorated even in its farthest corners. Also Vailankanni has become the base-camp, for the pilgrims of all faiths. It is believed by tradition that the Portuguese storm-tossed ship safely reached the shore in Vailankanni on the September 8, on the feast of the Nativity (Birthday) of our Lady. In memory of these two great events, the annual feast of Our Lady of Good Health also is celebrated on this day.
A large concourse of devotees witnesses the flag hoisting on the 29th of August every year. The following nine days of preparation itself will be feasts here. Novenas, Special Liturgical and paraliturgical services are conducted in the Church for the pilgrims on these days. A conservative estimate of the crowd is around 1.5 million on these days. (Fifteen hundred thousands)
Cultural Programs during the Feast
Every day after the Car Procession, there will be cultural items like musical concerts, Plays, Bharathanatyams, etc in an open auditorium near the Shrine itself. "Artists and other professionals from various fields deem it as a singular privilege to give performance in the Virgin's Land. Most of them also are deeply devoted to Our Lady here and come to fulfill their vows as gratitude.
Flag-Hoisting Every Day! During the Feast
At noon, the flag of Our Lady is hoisted every day during these nine days of the Novena and the Feast. During this ceremony an intense feeling is aroused leaving behind rapturous eyes and murmuring lips, proclaiming her praises. A judge from Pondichery has reported of a miraculous cure of his Asthma during this Flag-hoisting. If Bakthi is your cup of tea, it is heartening to know that a place like Vailankanni exists to celebrate the cause of it. During this time, as always, the ambience at the Shrine has to be experienced to be believed. Serial bulbs light up the place, the subtle fragrance of fresh flowers, incense and camphor fumes waft around in the air, elevating the hearts and minds of the pilgrims in the wonderful Sannidhannam . It is a heart renting experience to see the hundreds of thousands, devotees of Our Lady, standing all along unmindful of the scorching midday sun to greet and pray through Our Lady.
Nagore Dharga festival
In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful. The 10th day of Jamaidhul Akhir falls on the every Islamic year. There are many holy days in the Islamic Calendar and the 10 th day of Jamaidhul Akhir is one such significant day in Islamic history. On this day, my Great Grandfather Hazarath Kuthubul, Farthul Ahbabi, Syed Shathath, Syedina Shahul Hameed Ganzasavai Badhusha Kadri (RA) an incomparable saint had departed from this world.
In Nagore, it had been a usual practice to launch the Great Khandoori Festival for 14 days starting from 1st to 14th of Jamidhul Akhir. The 10th day is the most important day. On this day people from many states in India and many devotees from Singapore, Malaysia,United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, France and other parts of the world visit Nagore by tens of thousands in order that their vows are fulfilled by this Great Saint. For many of them it is a pilgrimage to pay respect and give gr atitude for their fulfilled vows.
This is the day when all the visitors who came here with sadness in their hearts retreat with solace and comfort. That will be the day when the devoteesí hearts will be enlightened symbolised by the glaring physical elaborate lights of Nagore premises. This is the day when people from many religions and race come together as one people with a common objective of fulfilling their vows. The city of Nagore will be flooded with one people one thought.
At about 9:00p,m a carriage will proceed from Nagapattanam to Nagore like parade. A symbolic "Koodu" is installed on it. It is made of decorated giant drum-like struture piled up. The bigger drum will be at the botton and smallest will reach the top. The erection of this symbolic structure is similar to the pyramids in egyptian civilisation where departed souls of kings are laid to rest within the pyramid premises w here the souls could ascend to the sky by this ancient skycrappers.
Devotees by the thousands will gather in Nagapattanam for the inauguration of the procession. Jasmine flowers will be gently thrown like raindrops on the carriage containing the "Koodu" by the devotees as a requisition to the Great Saint to fulfil their hidden vows. This carriage will take the routes of importance. The parading carriage will be watched by thousands of people.The carriage will reach Nagore at about 1:00am. In Nagore the carriage will go on a procession to some important streets. At some point of this tour, the holy pot containing the sandal paste will be placed on this carriage.