Sunday, March 23, 2008

Have a Goan Christmas!

From: "Cecil Pinto"

Goan Christmas - BBC

Have a Goan Christmas!
20th December 2000

Why oh why do we do it? Every year we spend far too
much money, overeat and drink double the amount we
normally would, swearing blind that we will never do
it again. I suppose we like it that way, after all we
repeat the process year after year. But there's more
to Christmas than overindulging, there's the real
reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus. How many of us
really care for the real meaning of Christmas? I
myself, not being particularly religious, think that
singing carols in a chilly church late at night does
have a magical feeling about it, especially when the
mince pies and mulled cinnamon wine does its rounds.
There we are, back to food and drink again, you just
can't get away from it.

Goa seems to be the only state in India that
celebrates Christmas seriously, this is due to the
largely Catholic population. Goans can be seen,
dressed in their Sunday best walking in neat
procession along the many roads that lead to their
favourite church, they're going to Midnight
Mass, an absolute must, and not to be missed at any

Devout Catholics, which most Goans seem to be, are
back again on Christmas morning. Once all the serious
business is over and done with, it's time to have some
fun, this takes the form of a good old game of
'Housey, Housey'.
I was fortunate to play this entertaining game of luck
and was promptly given a couple of pieces of pink
paper with numbers stamped in faint black and a sewing
needle to punch out what would hopefully be the
numbers. The pulpit doubles up as the caller's podium
- the priest stood up there, still dressed in all his
regalia, a slight pause was needed to compose himself
and we were off. I didn't realise how fast a game of
'Housey, Housey' could be, I was having a job to keep
up, and our priest caller's English was good but I did
have difficulty understanding him, this was due to the
insistent high pitch whistle coming from the PA

I frantically punched away at my flimsy piece of paper
as the numbers were called, and suddenly, a full
house. I jumped up shouting 'Housey, Housey,' just
about everybody in the church turned around and stared
at me. I went the colour of a Cornish lobster basking
on the beach on a hot summers day.
If that wasn't enough I then had to walk down the
aisle surrounded either side by at least a 1000
people, clapping like mad. I then climbed up the
stairs of the pulpit to be greeted by the smiling
priest, who handed me my prize; a large bottle of
Kingfisher beer. I am so glad nobody shouted
"speech, speech!"

Glowing with my recent success, I dashed to buy
another card, and experience was definitely showing
through, I won yet another game and my stash of beer
was growing.

After all that fun it's time to feast, I was invited
back to a friends house for Christmas lunch. Of
course, it's not the festive lunch we are all
used to in this country, there's no turkey or goose
here, thank you very much, but Pork Sorpatel, a fiery
hot vindaloo dish made from red chillies, garlic and
coriander. This pork dish is always served with its
own liver and kidney and accompanied by boiled
potatoes, coconut cabbage and Goan dinner rolls. It
can be difficult to get hold of this dish in most
tourist centred Goan restaurants at any other time of
year, so it's a real delicacy to be relished. To
finish we had a classic Goan cake called Biblinca, a
layered pancake type cake laced with Goan rum.

Although my Christmas recipes are not Goan, I have
decided ......
Author: Simon Morris
Greet your loved ones in Goa with flowers!
EXPRESSIONS - The Flower Shop
World famous all over Goa!

Courtesy: The Goan Forum

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