The feast of the church – Feast of St. Mary – falls on January 15 and is known as Vithukalude Perunnal which means ‘the festival of seeds’. It is observed to invoke the blessings of the Virgin Mary upon the agricultural seeds.
Readings from Bible:
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
It is so important for the Indian Christians, who were mostly agriculturalists. There was a time when the entire efforts linked with the agriculture were submitted to the care and protection of St. Mary, Mother of God, as well as all the Saints including the Apostles.
Our forefathers used to take out the seeds from the storehouses which were commonly known as “Ara”, only after prayers and intercessory prayers. St. Mary was considered as a special fort around their efforts during the entire season and especially when the crops were almost ripe from natural calamities breakage of the boundary (varambu) and thereby the flow of water from neighbouring canals or rivers. Our forefathers used to whisper every time “My God and My Mother” (“Ente Daivame and ente Maathave“) Their faith was so sound and solid. During the harvest season, the first and best bundle of the crop was kept apart for submitting in the Parish Church.
September 8 the Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In context, the date is exactly nine months after the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Connected with this particular feast is an ancient “blessing of seeds” that has taken place on this day for hundreds of years.
For the St. Mother Mary’s Feast for Seeds, Farmers and other parishioners would arrive at Holy Qurbana with their seeds or seedlings for blessings. It was a way to recognize the power God has over creation and to place the following year’s growing season into His hands. In addition, farmers sought God’s help through the intercession of St. Mary, mother of God on this fixed feast day celebrated on January 15th.
In the end, the blessing of seeds is a way to recognize God as the one from whom all blessings flow and to ask for his assistance and protection through the motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is not meant to be a superstitious sacrifice to an unknown god, but a way to entrust everything (even our seeds and seedlings) to the Lord of All Creation, who watches over us and provides for our every need as a loving Father.