Thousands of Christians from different parts of Odisha and adjoining Andhra Pradesh congregated here on Wednesday to attend the concluding ceremony of ‘Queen of the Mission Festival’.
The last day of this nine-day festival is called ‘Candle Day’. This festival is being celebrated at the Queen of the Mission Cathedral in the city since its inception in 1855, said secretary of parish council of Berhampur Catholic Church, Prashant Kumar Gauda. It is celebrated to commemorate the appearance of Mother Mary before St Catherina Laboure of France in 1830.
Initially, this festival was being celebrated on December 8. Since 1928, the ‘Candle Day’ is being observed on November 27 every year. The most remarkable event is the march of devotees through the city with candles in their hands. This march had started in 1942.
Several bishops and vicars from Odisha and other States participated in the religious ceremonies attached with this festival. The rituals that included a special holy mass was held at the Queen of the Mission Cathedral on Wednesday morning.
In the evening, thousands of devotees took part in the much awaited procession with candles. They marched singing songs in praise of Mother Mary. An idol of Mother Mary on a decorated vehicle was carried along with the procession. Irrespective of their religion, people from all walks of life paid their respects to Mother Mary while the procession crossed some major streets.
Tight security arrangements were made around the cathedral and on the roads through which the procession passed. People of different religions paid respects to Mother Mary at different squares as a mark of communal amity.