The Festivals of the Saints

Susan Visvanathan

in The Christians of Kerala

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780195647990
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080663 | DOI:
The Festivals of the Saints

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This chapter discusses the festivals of certain important saints in the Syrian Christian canonical ritual calendar. These are ceremonies associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus; with St Thomas, His apostle; and with holy men who are deeply revered by the community, even if they are uncanonized. All such ritual events are categorized by Syrian Christians as commemorations (Orma divasam), or festivals (peryanaal), and have certain features in common—the breaking of the fast, the advent of the pilgrimage, the conducting of a fair (bazaar) and, of course, the festivity. Their differences lie in the myths surrounding the saints associated with such feasts. In this context, Mary, St Thomas, and the bawas (Holy Fathers) have separate historical identities and distinctive personalities.

Keywords: Syrian Christians; canonical ritual calendar; St Mary’s festival; St Thomas, the apostle; commemoration; priests and people

Chapter.  20015 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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