The 41st annual feast of Our Lady of Velankanni Church, Anna Nagar, Chennai started with flag hoisting ceremony on 29th August 2016. This 11 day festival is held every year.
Located in the small town of Velankanni in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu in southern India, the Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni, also known as the “Lourdes of the East” is one of the most frequented religious sites in India.
This Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles at sites around where the Bacilicastands: the apparition of Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm.
Velankanni Festival 2016 :
The annual feast of Our Lady of Velankanni Church is held every year starting with a flag hoisting ceremony which takes place on the 29th of August every year. The flag of our lady is hoisted every day during these nine days of the novena the feast.
Another important event which takes place is that every night around 8.00 pm a car procession of Lady of Velankanni takes place which starts from the entrance of the main shrine.
Thousands and thousands of people came to the shrine from various parts of the world.
People in the east consider that participating in the festival, pulling the cars or witness the flag hoisting are scared and sacramental. These are all symbolic expression of their love and commitment to god. When the cars and the big chariot are brought in front of the main church, prayers are offered for world peace and for the motherland for universal church and for the national leaders.
Every day after the car procession, cultural items like musical concerts, plays, Bharathanatyam performances, etc are conducted in an open auditorium near the shrine itself.
High mass in Tamil, Marathi, English, Konkani, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi are also conducted everyday in the Basilica from morning till evening.
The festival concludes after 11 days with lowering of Our Lady’s Flag.
Velankanni Festival Photos :
How to Reach Their :
By Air : The nearest airport to the Church is the Chennai airport which is at a distance of 90 kms.
By Rail : The nearest railway station to the Church is Nagapattinam which is at a distance of 10 kms.
By Road : Buses are available for Chidambaram, Chennai, Madurai, Pondicherry, Trichy, Thanjavur and for many other parts of the state.
Official Website of Velankanni Church : www.velankannichurch.com