Goa's Cucumber Festival, Explore The Wonders Of Touxeachem

There are many unique aspects to Goa that make this smallest state one of the largest in personality. Aside from the much-advertised beaches and nightlife, it also holds a unique sense of community that’s rarely found in India’s more buzzing metros. In some aspects, it's a part of India that is in a way cloistered from the time and immune to the ravages of the usual politics that divide the nation.

During Portuguese colonisation, Goa became predominantly Christian, but for some festivals, religion comes second to tradition and the Touxeachem Festival is the perfect example of this. Traditionally observed on the last Sunday of July and falling on 30th July 2023 this year, this festival draws members of every faith and belief and devotees present cucumbers as offerings to St. Anne, seeking her benevolence in return. This extraordinary practice originates from the abundance of cucumbers during the season, making it a fitting symbol of gratitude. 

Image Credits: Naizal Dias

Cucumbers hold special significance as they represent the first harvest of the season in Goa. According to the priests, individuals bring two cucumbers, placing one at the feet of Our Lady while touching the other to the sacred statue. During Touxeachem cucumbers used as offerings are the handed out among the local community, visiting priests, and neighbouring villages. 

On the day of the feast, amidst the devoted followers, you will notice numerous recently married couples visiting the Santana Church in Talaulim. These couples come seeking the blessings of St. Anne, who herself was blessed with a child, Mother Mary, after enduring forty years of infertility. Following an age-old tradition, couples without children offer cucumbers and say a prayer, asking for the blessing of a child. Unmarried individuals looking for a spouse offer spoons, while single women seeking a husband offer lentils such as urad dal. Many newlywed brides also present their bangles, known as "chuddo," as a symbol of their devotion to St. Anne.

Video Credits: Ami Bhat/YouTube

Apart from those who come with offerings, many also come to express their gratitude and offer prayers of thanksgiving. Numerous individuals attribute their blessings of children to the devotion of St. Anne.

The legend behind the Touxeachem Feast in Goa traces back to the Grandparents of Jesus Christ – St. Anne and St. Joachim. They were known to be childless for almost two decades, facing the ridicule of their town despite being happily married and well-off. The priest of their temple even refused to accept St. Joachim's offerings due to their childless state, labelling it as a sign of "divine displeasure." However, after numerous prayers, St. Joachim received a divine dream indicating that he would be blessed with a child who would serve God. True to the dream, at the age of 40, St. Anne gave birth to Mary – a child whom she later left in the temple to serve God.

This sacred site becomes a haven for heartfelt prayers and offerings, as hopeful individuals immerse themselves in the spiritual aura and cultural heritage of the joyous Touxeachem Fest.