Jul 28, 2022 07:00 am
Mount Mary Fair, popularly known as the Bandra fair will be held this year from September 11 to 18. The fair will be held after two years of gap due to pandemic.
The week-long fair held to celebrate the birthday of Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is one of the biggest gatherings in the entire western suburbs and draws people of all faiths. Before the fair begins too, there are special religious services or Novenas which are also attended by several pilgrims.
On Tuesday, BMC officials and basilica personnel undertook a preliminary reconnaissance of the church and the area where vendors erect stalls. Civic officials said that as the feast is being celebrated after a two-year gap they expect a larger turnout.
Vinayak Vispute, assistant municipal commissioner of H-West Ward, said official approvals for the fair are awaited.
“A proposal will soon be tabled before higher authorities. Once we receive permissions, we will call a joint meeting with all stakeholders such as BEST, fire brigade, local police and traffic police, also over the auctioning of stalls,” said Vispute. He said no illegal encroachments would be permitted. All dos and don’ts as per court guidelines will be observed.
Mini BEST buses are likely to be used to ferry devotees so that they may alight closer to the venue.
Asif Zakaria, former Congress corporator from Bandra, who was part of Tuesday’s joint inspection, said though Covid cases have dipped, pilgrims will be urged to use masks and sanitise their hands. “The BMC is also considering setting up a vaccination booth for interested visitors. I have written to the BMC requesting that additional budgetary allocation made should be used for smooth conduct of the fair,” he said.
Bishop John Rodrigues, rector of Mount Mary Basilica, said, “Everybody is eager to celebrate the Feast of Mother Mary after a lockdown-driven gap of two years. We will conduct the nine-day Novena prayer from September 2-10 and the week-long Bandra Feast, which spans Sunday to Sunday, will take place from September 11-18. We have met Bandra police and civic ward officials since they have a big role to play in the arrangements, and the authorities are cooperating well.”
Fr Reuben Tellis, parish priest of Mt Carmel Church, said, “It is here in the September Garden that the last of the Feast festivities are held. And the excitement is palpable. We may have been unable to celebrate for two years, but our parishioners kept up God’s work by performing several acts of charity like supplying provisions to 500 families for nine months.”