Goa saint`s feast hinders IFFI dates

Panaji: The annual feast of Goa`s most revered saints is posing to be the main hurdle in the finalization of the dates of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) later this year, an official said Wednesday.

The film festival is held in Goa every year through November and December. Generally, Nov 23 is the day when it kick-starts.

While the Goa government was keen on organising the festival from Nov 22 to Dec 2, the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), a wing of the union ministry of Information and Broadcasting, wanted to stretch it by a day till Dec 3, state Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava said.

Dec 3 is an important day on Goa`s calendar as thousands of believers flock to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a cathedral located in Old Goa, 10 km from here, for the Feast of St Francis Xavier.

The remains of Spanish missionary St Francis Xavier -- the patron saint of Goa -- are kept in the basilica.

"We want it (film festival) to end on December 2, because the feast is on the next day. If the inaugural date of November 23 is not changed, then the festival will have to be curtailed by a day," Srivastava told reporters.

The only other alternative could be to begin the festival a day earlier, he added.

The Memorandum of Understanding between state government`s Entertainment Society of Goa, which handles the logistics for the film festival, and the DFF will be signed the moment the dates are finalized by both the parties, Srivastava said.

Regarded as the patron saint of Goa and one of the earliest missionaries to bring Christianity to this part of the world, St Francis Xavier is highly venerated. While the feast is held annually, the remains of the 16th century saint are displayed to the public in a grand event called the Exposition, once every ten years.


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