It’s the Pattolleos time of the year
August 15 is filled with festivities as Goa celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption as well as India’s Independence Day. To add to this celebration is the annual ‘Pattoleanchem Fest’ which brings together the great music, food and activities of Goa
On August 15, every Catholic family in Goa is busy in the kitchen or at the table with containers of rice batter, a mixture of grated coconut and jaggery and a tray full of freshly picked turmeric leaves. A family member will clean the turmeric leaf with a clean, damp cloth and pass it over a thin layer of rice paste followed by a layer of coconut and jaggery before carefully folding the leaf. The compro, a huge copper steamer is heated over a three-stone fire in the outdoor kitchen and those leaves are steamed in Patolleos. The feast of Our Lady of the Assumption is incomplete without sinking your teeth into this traditional delicacy.
Celebrating this very sweet is the annual ‘Pattoleanchem Fest’. This year the festival moved from Socorro to Madkai to Ponda. Organized by festakar Marius Fernandes, its aim is to bring the festival to a new location for Goans to experience different cultures and traditions. The ‘Pattoleanchem Fest’ will take place on August 15th at Peaceful Society, Madkai from 11am to 4pm. Attendees will be greeted with the traditional coconut and jaggery sweet steamed on a turmeric leaf called pattoloe.
“This year there will be a live demonstration of how the ‘Patolleo’ or ‘Patoieo’ is made. We will be celebrating many festivals under one umbrella on this day, Independence Day, World Goa Day, Our Lady of Assumption Day, Konkani Goenchem Jevonn Day and Ghumtacho nach. Dr. Gwendolyn de Ornelas will organize the festival with me and we have identified several women from the village of Madkai who will present their skills”, explains Marius Fernandes.
The enterprising Madkai women will hold workshops on pattoleo and pudde, ghumott, ganvtti medicines, garland making, broom making and even how to make dung cakes. Artists are welcome to bring their own paints and stationery to recreate their festival experience on canvas within 40 minutes. The festival is without sponsors or main guests. Those who would like to enjoy hot meals are asked to bring their own plates and glasses.
Rashmi Naik, a resident of Kundaim, Madkai is also part of the village’s Shree Ganraj self-help group. She is delighted to host the festival and the crowds it will draw to the quiet village. “There are three groups working with Peaceful Society to organize the festival. We are nearly 20 women in this self-help group alone. We have already started preparing the food that will be served that day. In addition, many women will also participate in the cultural program that will be presented to the public. We will also be setting up two booths for those who would like to buy and try something different. There will be pickles and masalas, laddos, chakreos and even brooms and coir mats. For lunch we will prepare Pattoleos, tarochi bhaji, methichi pez and talkuchi bhaji. These are monsoon vegetables that are part of our cooking,” says Naik.
Pilerne is another equally enthusiastic party village. A group of parishioners will accompany Father Derrick Fernandes, parish priest of Pilerne to learn more about the festival, as they will be hosting the next festival, “Matienche Fest” on October 2. “We will attend the festival because I want the parishioners to experience the festival so that we can organize our own festival in the same way. Secondly, it is a unique opportunity to discover the ancestral life of the village and how people lived with means It’s important to understand those primitive ways and how those traditions have survived all this year,” says Father Fernandes.
The theater group Pilern led by writer and director Edmer Barreto will also perform at the festival. “It’s the first time we’ve performed outside the village. The title of the play is ‘Xrishti Samballuia’ and features six actors and other parishioners. They will play ghumott and kottios to attract crowds. We will also play the Bonderachim Passoi which will be held on August 20 in Divar,” says Barreto.