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The story behind Goan Wedding traditions. How well do you know them?

Culture and tradition run deep in Goan blood. Goan weddings aren’t just a day’s celebration, they are spread over four to five days. Goans definitely take every celebration, especially weddings, very seriously. Plans are made at least a year in advance, and it goes without saying that a lot of money is spent on all the events involved. Of all the various wedding venues in India one could choose, nothing beats Goa.

The months of October through February witness a number of weddings in Goa. Being the colder months in Goa, the weather is perfect for the customary outdoor weddings. For those on a budget through, off-season weddings are also possible, thanks to a number of indoor air-conditioned halls as well.

There are quite a few events that lead up to and follow a traditional Goan wedding. Though not all of them are always followed, many couples still opt for a completely traditional experience. Let’s take a look at all the celebrations right from the first to the last day, in detail.

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The first tradition that is a must for a Goan wedding is Chuddo

In the Goan wedding culture, bangles are an important bridal accessory. It is a custom where the Goan bride has to wear the best bangles possible. These bangles are of a particular colour and design and are called ‘chuddo’. They are usually purchased from the regular/local bangle-seller of the village, known as the volar or kankonkar who is often invited home to do the fitting. The bangles are made of glass and very delicate.

This ceremony is usually performed at the house of the maternal uncle of the bride. These bangles represent married life and hence if her husband passes away or dies then the woman is made to break her bangles over the coffin and the pieces are thrown in. The number and colour of the bangles differ from village to village.

For the ceremony, the bangles are fitted onto the wrists of the bride-to-be by the volar. Relatives take the opportunity to get some bangles for themselves as well.

The family offers money as a token of blessing and is kept in a tray placed near the bangle-seller. The chuddo ceremony is common among the Hindus and Christians of Goa.

In addition, the bride receives gifts from relatives and wears the ceremonial bangles, eight to nine in number on her right wrist and seven to eight on her left.

The Chuddo Ceremony is wherein a bangle seller “Kakonnkar” is known as and a gaggle of bangles is fitted on the bride’s hands which symbolizes the start of her married life.

The ceremony is held at the bride’s maternal uncle’s house and few relatives and village ladies are invited who get bangles fitted on their hands too.

The family offers money, rice, and coconut to the kakonnkar. During this ceremony melodious Goan Style songs/mandos are sung by the people gathered which are referred to as “Zoti”.


The second tradition is a ritual called Ros

This is the anointing ceremony where both the bride and the groom are anointed with coconut milk by their parents, relatives, neighbours and friends in their respective houses.

This is usually done two to three days prior to the wedding. This ceremony symbolizes the beginning of new life. Coconut milk is used and is said to cleanse or purify the couple before the wedding, which also signifies the end of their single lives.

The ones anointing the couple have a lot of fun as they get to break eggs on the couple’s heads and throw coins or cash into the bowls which are later given to the maids or family members that helped in the preparations. Needless to say, the Ros can get rather messy, but it’s a lot of fun for all those involved. This is why it is usually the event that is looked forward to the most.

Bhuim Jevon

This is a meal in honour of the family’s ancestors and deceased known as bikaraimche jevon. This meal is for the beggars and poor people in and around the village. This is one Goan wedding tradition which are not carried out today.

The families usually prepare a large quantity of simple home food, and the bride and groom with their families in their respective villages, go around offering the food to the poor people of the village. They do this in order to seek blessings on behalf of the deceased family members and relatives.

Bhuim jevonn or Bhikrea jevonn could also be a practice wherein the bride’s and Groom’s family in their respective homes serve a meal to their relatives and thus the whole village is additionally invited. This is wiped out honor of the ancestors of the bride and groom’s family.

It involves more of thanksgiving and showing gratitude to the dead ancestors of the family. Bhikrea Jevonn comprises of the Goan Traditional food also referred to as “von-xit”. This includes polished rice, dried prawn curry, and doubtless some fried fish. The von is Goan sweet dish “Dessert” after lunch.


Opsun divnchem or Oopsun

This is a tradition where the bride is formally given away by the father or the guardian of the bride to the groom.


Dennem

Also known as Dowry or trousseau. In this Goan wedding tradition, the bride’s family offers household essentials that might be useful to the bride after marriage. Right from the jeweler, clothes to furniture, and kitchenware too. It is essential to see a little image or statue of baby Jesus within the trousseau. This is to form sure that the bride doesn’t get to be hooked into others as she starts her new beginning of life.

Saddo
A saddo may be a red dress given to the bride by the groom’s family also as her circle of relatives. After the church nuptials, the bride is introduced and welcomed to her new home wherein the groom’s parents places this dress “saddo” on the bride’s shoulder. Whereas, the bride’s family gives an identical dress to the bride on the second day of the marriage when the bride goes to her home.

Xim
This Goan wedding tradition is mostly done after the wedding. The Xim basically means a boundary that’s marked by pouring liquor. And on either side of this boundary, the brides and therefore the groom’s family would stand and offer prayers and recite holy verses and shower blessings on the couple. Also, to finish all the disagreements between the families and return home happily.

Vojje
Vojje may be a few sweet items prepared by the bride’s family at the groom’s house to distribute among family, relatives, and villagers. Some of it’s then later returned back to the bride’s family again. The Vojje includes the Goan sweet “Boll”, Doce and a Banana. Other sweets are also distributed. The Vojje is distributed to the village and family as a token to mention Thankyou for all the support during the marriage time.

After the wedding ceremony comes the Appoune or Porthopon

In this tradition, the bride’s family invites the groom’s family over to their house usually the day after the wedding ceremony or reception. The bride wears a bright red saree or dress called Saddo, and a huge feast is prepared. Both the families get a chance to mingle in a more casual and relaxed setting while getting to know each other better.

As you can see, the Traditional Goan Wedding starts with the pre-wedding tradition, then comes the day the bride and groom get hitched, and that’s followed by ‘the second day’.

Doce is a traditional Goan sweet. The Doce is ready at the Bride and Groom’s house respectively. Family, relatives, neighbors, and friends join together within the making of the Doce and help to organize an equivalent. They recite the Goan Mandos and other holy verses and bestow blessings on the bride and therefore the groom. The Doce once prepared is beautifully decorated with colorful sweets.

There are many wedding tradition customs that take place in the span of these four to five days. They might be small Goan wedding traditions but they are critical because they have a big meaning to them.

All these Goan wedding traditions are carried out with the whole family from both the bride’s side as well as the groom’s side, making it a family affair and strengthening the familial ties. Enjoying every bit of the wedding from start to finish is what makes our big fat Goan weddings one-of-a-kind.

Picture credits: Rahul de Cunha.

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