Marriage customs and traditions – Wedding Reception

STEP 13 

WEDDING PARTY/RECEPTION – (Kazara Jevon)

Then:

After the nuptial blessing, both parties proceed to the brides house for the wedding lunch and/or dinner.  When the wedding party (Voran) arrives, the bride’s yejmani offers the traditional customary udak-pan-pod welcome to the bridegroom’s party  by saying ‘dev boren korum gorcha yejmanak’ (God bless the master of the house). The yejmani replies by saying ‘dev borem korum’ (God bless).  The yejmani then offers the general and symbolic udak-pan-pod to the rest of the wedding party by declaring ‘sankdank pan-pod, udak ailem’ (everybody receive water and panpod). The bridegroom’s party replies ‘pavlem dev borem korum’ (We received, God bless you).  The bridegroom’s party is received with great honour and invited to sit down in the matov.

Sado

The bridal clothes (sado),  jewellery and flowers abolim and jasmine all tied into a bundle in red silk cloth and carried by a younger unmarried sister or relative of the bridegroom, are brought to the bride’s house in procession lead by the groom’s mother.  The grooms’ mother who did not accompany the party to church  now joins the procession accompanied by a few distinguished women relatives to the playing of the  band and the sado, jewellery, etc. would be exhibited to the guests in the matov.

Crackers are fired as the procession enters the matov, while the band plays and at the entrance the people sing the psalm Laudate Dominum.

All along voviyos are sung by the bride’s party with witty replies in voviyos by the grooms party. The bride is led to a private room and surrounded by women singing voviyos and dressed into the wedding attire i.e. the sado and for the first time the end of the sari is thrown over her shoulder known as worl.  The mother-in-law has the first right to dress the bride. However, if she is a widow this right falls on the yejman (bridegrooms paternal aunt) who also tie the pirduk (mangalsutra or kariamani) around the bride’s neck.

The bride is adorned in the abolim and mallige flowers which is done in a specific manner and the strings of the flowers are wound around her head to completely cover the hair and the ends of the strings are left to hang down to the waist.  Lastly the string of abolims is wound around the jasmine flowers.

The bride is then led to the matov in her bridal finery and invited to take a seat to the left of the bridegroom which is called sovyar bosovnchem (seating at the assembly) and the women once again gather around the bridal pair singing voviyos.  The yejmani then announces the ayar (presenting gifts to the bridal couple). When the elders present the ayar (gifts and money) they also bless the couple.  The bride is presented with a sari dharma sado by her parents, which ranks second to the sado and is also very expensive.  The parents of the bride also present saris and clothes to elder married sisters and elders of the family and this is done in a solemn manner.

After the gifts presentation, dinner is served and the bridegroom’s party is given first preference.  Dinner is served on banana leaves (used to also be served on betel leaves) and guests are seated on long rows of mats.   A particular pattern was followed, first a little water is sprinkled on the leaf to clean it, then a little salt was served, then Roce food on banana leafpickle followed by different vegetarian dishes and then non-vegetarian dishes, wealthy people served sanna-mas and finally  with vorn.  The meal was concluded with a sweet called soji made of wheat flour and jaggery. Dinner was started with the prayer ‘Hail Holy Queen’ and also said at the conclusion of dinner.

 

Now:

Once the nuptial blessing is done, the bridal entourage proceeds for a photo shoot, etc.  Other guests proceed to the reception venue.

 

When the bridal troupe arrives, they enter in  procession to the playing of music and bursting of crackers led by a Master of Ceremonies. The wedding cake is cut, champagne is popped and toasts are raised.

Guests are seated and snacks are served, then the wedding march which all guests look forward to participating. The bride and groom then have their first dance as husband and wife. Dancing continues through the night or upto  time-limit restrictions.

After the first dance, the bride is led by the grooms’ younger sister and family for melrish-7851 sado dressingchanging into the sado and the custom as stated above stands even today but the mangalsutra ‘pirduk’ is put around the neck of the bride by the groom.  Today, the groom also changes his attire into a typical Indian wear.  The following song is appropriate when the sado dressed bride and the groom make their re-entry:

  • Mai’n muntha thu shegunachi sunn….

 

Buffet Dinner is served at an appropriate time, preceded by a short prayer and the Grace before Meals, by a member of clergy if present or any chosen person.  The ayar ceremony follows with the guests lining up to wish and bless the bridal couple and the finale, chairing of the couple!

Raoul wedd chairing the couple

 

N.B.: According to Monoj Saldanha in his book “Amche Alconz”, konkani speaking people migrated to South Goa from the Saraswat Valley in North India during 1000 BC, due to the drying up of the Saraswati river.  The people were predominantly Gouda Saraswat Bahmins, Aryans by descent and Brahmins in identity.  Even when these people converted to christianity due to the Goa Inquisition of 1560 and the subsequent conversions in 1570 and 1683, hindu traditions and culture still continued e.g. for the nuptials the white gown or saree is used by the bride in the church and the wedding ring/band is exchanged, but in the reception the bride changes into the sado (red silk saree) and karimani (black bead chain).  

Francis Buchanan in his book “Journey through the Southern parts of Canara”, writes in 1807 that the konkanies are in flourishing circumstances and he saw some of the marriage processions passing by on the 21st of January, 1807, which were attended by exceedingly well dressed people and very handsome girls.

The ayar procedure in fomer days: The groom’s elder sister’s husband sat with a clean brass plate to receive the gifts (ayar).  In those days it was common to gift a rupee or half a rupee on the plate. When the coin fell on the plate it made a sound. Another man sat nearby to write down the name of the person giving the gift and the amount. When the clinking of the coin falling on the plate was heard, he would ask in Tulu ‘av yerl’ which means ‘who is he’?  The yejmani would tell him loudly the persons’ name and the brother-in-law announced the amount to the writer.

In later times the ‘av yerl’ was modified and is now known as ‘a-yar’.  The relatives and friends gift atleast one rupee in an enveope with their names on.  The mal-dhedo (first best man) keeps an account of the amount.  

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References: Severine Silva and Stephen Fuchs & Victor D’sa, S.V.D.: The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India. Manoj Saldanha: Amche Alconz, Our surnames. Francis Buchanan: Journey through the Southern parts of  Canara

 

 

 

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