Papiyas – Special Prayers and Hymns at Lenten time

Papiyas – Special Prayers and Hymns at Lenten time
Bhavando, utha tumche neezemanche, deemi ghala, lazaar kara, ek Amche Bapala……..

*Papiya is a Marathi word which means Penitents
*Papiyas or Devaats as they are called, are a group of devout christians who move about from cross to cross at the dead of night, chanting prayers and imploring Christians to wake up from their sleep, get down on their knees and pray and ask for God’s forgiveness
*These groups become active from the Sunday night before Palm Sunday and their activity culminates in a crescendo on Maundy Thursday
*Papiyas organize themselves into groups of 10 to 20 persons or more and start with visiting various Gaothans during Lenten time
*They shroud themselves in black or blue or brown tunics with a hood so they cannot be easily recognized
*Their lamentable chants in tones similar to Gregorian chants are in East Indian dialect
*Listening to their mournful chants can be a hair raising experience and can send shivers down ones spines, especially when one hears them at the dead of night.
*Tradition has it that Papiyas from one village would visit the neighbouring village and vice versa,  No two groups could come face with each other.
*If both groups had the occasion to travel and would cross paths, then the group that spotted the passing group would hide behind the bunds (baands) of the field till the other group passed by
*People of the neighbourhood would keep a kettle of hot tea at the foot of the cross for the Papiyas. Papiyas are representative of the apostles Peter, James and John who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed and during the ‘Agony’ on the Mount of Olives.

MGP thanks all our community members who join Papiya Singing for ensuring our Religious Traditions are revived and passed on to our future generations.


WhatsApp Image 2018-03-08 at 06.25.18

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