Mangalorean Marriage Customs and Traditions – Porthapon


Porthapon – Return Dinner




The following day of the wedding the newly wedded couple return in the afternoon to the bride’s house which is called porthapon, from porthen apone, “calling again”.  The bridegroom is accompanied by twelve of his friends and the father by four close relatives.  A grand dinner is served at the bride’s house with great entertainment by singing and playing music with the ghumat**. The bridal pair is served heaps of food which they would never be able to eat but they have to put morsels of food into each other’s mouth.  When everyone has finished their meal the guests sitting last for the meal sing the laudate at the end of the meal.

The next day the bridal couple returns to the bridegrooms house for a dinner for the bride’s family and this way there is continuous visiting and re-visiting between the two homes. The following day the two again proceed to the bride’s house  and this time stay for four days which gave rise to the term choundisacho novro the ‘four-day bridegroom’. During these four days the couple is feasted by relatives and the bridegroom is given oil bath daily assisted by his own companions and the bride’s sisters.  Extra special care is taken to ensure the bridegroom does not leave before the end of the four days.


Today since the wedding functions are curtailed due to time constraints, only the next day dinner is celebrated amongst close relatives and friends of the bridal party.  The bride’s parents would enquire from the groom’s parents the number of guests who would attend or specify the number of guests they can bring. The grooms family may or may not have the return dinner, but nowadays it is common for the Porthapon to be held jointly by both families and the function is held at a party hall.  On my wedding the porthapon was at my parents’ house.

As tradition dictates two male relatives (like brides brother and an uncle) would go to the bridegrooms’ house to personally bring the bridal couple for the dinner. In the past the bridesmaids would accompany the bride to the bridegrooms house after the reception and stay there and then come along with them to the porthapon.

porthapon Fancy costume

Fancy dress costumes – Indicative


They would all then proceed in procession and the brides relatives would come forward at a convenient location to meet the party and welcome them in song and dance to the playing of the Ghumat.  The brides’ guests would dress in fancy costumes to add to the fun and entertainment quotient of the function and the men would usually dress as women.

The bride wears her Dharma Sado, saree given by her parents.   At her mother’s house she changes into the Maipano, saree gifted by her mother and flowers are put in hair.

The grooms mother would take along some gifts of fruit and/or sweets which she gifts to the mother of the bride/Yejman. The brides mother in turn would do the same.

Raoul charm porthapon


My younger son got married in Goa and so we did not have the sado ceremony at the reception.  Instead my daughter-in-law wore the sado for the porthapon which was at her parents house.  Upon reaching there she changed into the red dress (Goan sado) give by her mother.

Rohan Wedd portapon

Dancing and singing to DJ music and Ghumat continue through the night.  At the Porthapon it is customary for the senior members and close members of both families to be introduced to each other and the occasion enables the two new families to get acquainted with each other.


Formal functions may be conduted by a professional MC and DJ. After prayers when dinner is announced, the bridal couple is served first and their plates are piled with food, although they are not expected to finish it, but are expected to put a morsel of food in each others mouth.

The bride and groom usually stay at  bride’s house for the night, but this custom may or may not be followed nowadays. At the end of the function,  the bride’s suitcase with her personal belongings is carried to her new home by the Mal Dhedo.


** A brief of the Instrument Ghumat:
The ghumat is a membranophone percussion instrument from Goa and Karnataka. It is an earthen vessel, in the shape of a pot, having both sides open. On the bigger opening a drum membrane is tied taut around it. In the old days, it was mounted by a membrane made of the skin of the monitor lizard. Now, with the banning of the use of the skin of the lizard, more innovative methods are used. One of the membranes now used are synthetic membranes made from artificial materials. The sounds of the ghumat are manipulated by the opening and closing of the smaller hole with the palm of the one hand while the membrane around the larger opening is delicately struck with the other hand to produce the sound. (Ref: The live music project)

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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

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