Synonymous with celebrations, Goa holds various festivals and events across the year. While the Goa Carnival is a colourful spectacle, the state also has other smaller events that aren’t much known among tourists. The Touxeachem Fest, which translates to ‘Cucumber Feast’, will be celebrated on July 29, 2016 with religious fervour and age old rituals at St Anne’s or Santana Church in Telaulim. This feast attracts a number of devotees from across the state. The feast is celebrated on the last Sunday of July every year as Grandparents Day, but is celebrated as Touxeachem Fest in the Goan village of Telaulim.
Not just grandparents, but devotees of all ages come to seek blessings of the old statue and relic of St Anne that is housed in the 435-year-old church.
The main aspect of this feast is the unusual tradition of offering cucumbers to St Anne in return for a favour. Besides the large number of devotees, this festival is popular with the newly-weds who throng the church in large numbers. The couples come here to seek the blessings of St Anne, who herself was blessed with a child – Mother Mary – after 40 years of barren life. According to tradition, childless couples offer cucumbers and utter a petition, ‘Senhora, tomai pepino, dai me menino’, which means ‘Lady, take this cucumber and give me a child’. Likewise, bachelors seeking a wife in marriage offer spoons and spinsters who seek a husband offer lentils like urad dal. Many newly wedded brides offer their ‘chuddo’ (bangles) to St Anne.
A large number of stalls are put up to sell cucumbers and a variety of Goan sweets such as ‘khaje’. Besides others who come with offerings, there are also many who come to express their gratitude and thanksgiving prayers. This feast is not only witnessed by the Catholic community, but also a lot of Hindu devotees come to pay their respect to St. Anne.