Mangalorean customs and traditions

Methi Paez

Methi Paez

(Given 8 days after delivery)

Methi Paez – serve a bowl full to the lactating mother for atleast one month, every alternate day, post lunch, starting eight days after delivery!

Cures backache, promotes lactating i.e. increases breast milk, strengthens and helps in bringing back the uterus to its contracted state, relieves flatulence.

Methi paez or fenugreek gruel has several medicinal properties as fenugreek has many nutritional benefits containing fibre, minerals. iron and magnesium, so is beneficial to everyone, not only for lactating mothers


  • 1 cup boiled rice
  • ½ cup methi seeds
  • 1 cup coconut juice
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup jaggery


  1. Wash and soak the methi for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. You can soak the boiled rice too, if you wish, separately.
  3. Drain the rice and methi seeds and transfer to utensil.
  4. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove scum from the surface.
  6. Reduce heat and cook till rice and methi are soft, stirring occasionally.
  7. If the water dries out, add a cup or two of water, as per desired consistency.
  8. If you prefer the methi paez thick, avoid using additional water.
  9. Add the jaggery and stir till the jaggery has dissolved.
  10. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Mutton Polov

Mutton Polov

This is a traditional Mangalorean dish typically served at Roce ceremonies.  The Lunch or dinner at Roce ceremonies is either fish curry or mutton polov alongwith the other main items of the menu like chone tendli sukhe, sannas, vorn etc.

In Mangalore in old times, “Korpo” was used for this preparation i.e. fresh coconut and sliced onion would be put out to dry in the sun and used with the spices for the masala paste.  I am sure this is still being done when cooking is done on a large scale for weddings, etc. For home cooking, we would go with the quicker method of roasting the coconut and onion on a pan!

Mutton Polov

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 kg. mutton
  • ½ kg. Ash Gourd (Kuwalo) (Winter Melon)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. coconut

Roast and grind to a paste

  • 1 cup heaped fresh coconut
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 red Kashmiri chillies
  • 1 tbs. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp.cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. raw rice
  • 1” cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 cardamoms


  1. Clean and cut mutton into cubes, wash and drain well. 
  2. Clean the ash gourd, cut into wedges, remove the seeds, peel and cut into ½” cubes.  Wash and drain.
  3. Slice one onion and fry in a little oil to light brown
  4. Add the mutton pieces and cook till they change color and most of the water that is released evaporates. 
  5. Add sufficient hot water to the mutton, bring to a boil and cook for about 60 minutes.  If using a cooker, it will be quicker.
  6. Stir in between and add salt half way through cooking. 
  7. When the mutton is tender remove to another dish and set aside. 
  8. In the same vessel add a cup of water, the ash pumpkin cubes, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp. salt (or to taste) and cook the vegetable adding a cup of thin coconut milk. 
  9. When half done, add the cooked mutton alongwith the stock. 
  10. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. 
  11. Then add the ground masala paste, adjust the curry by adding the masala water. 
  12. Cook on medium till oil surfaces. 
  13. Test seasoning and add salt if required. 
  14. Meanwhile, take a frying pan add a tbsp. of coconut oil and fry the sliced onion till golden brown. 
  15. Garnish the curry and serve hot with rice or sannas, etc.

Weddings in COVID-19 times

Winnie Couture Is Now Making There Are Now Making Haute Wedding Masks

Marriages in  COVID times

Lockdown Weddings

Are weddings happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?  Absolutely!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has jeopardised, among other things, wedding plans of many young couples i.e. those who were to get married in 2020, had all arrangements in place and were waiting for ‘D’ day to dawn.  While one or two years may have been spent in planning and preparing for the auspicious occasion, the onslaught of the Coronavirus in early 2020 have brought all plans to an abrupt halt.  Moreover, the virus continues to spread without showing any signs of retreating soon.

The answers to go ahead with a wedding or not in the present circumstances are not easy due to uncertainity surrounding the issue.  But many young couples are now considering taking the plunge and starting to look ahead.  Most countries are gradually opening up to the “new-normal”, of which we are still unsure of how long this “new-normal” period is going to last.  Could be a year or even more. Churches also are begining to open.

Basically most non-essential travel for medical reasons, study and other personal plans have been put on hold albeit temporarily, with everyone adopting the ‘wait and see’ approach.  Weddings however cannot be put on hold indefinitely.  It is a day every young couple looks forward to with much anticipation, a journey they were both so looking forward to starting before the turn of events early this year. 

Therefore, assuming the Church is willing to bless the nuptials, people should go ahead with weddings even in COVID times, with precautions so as to cause the least amount of risk to yourself and those attending.  Every government has announced guidelines for weddings in COVID times which must be adhered to.

As such, the following points reportedly must be borne in mind while planning the wedding :-

  1. Weddings should ideally be planned in the “outdoors” in the presence of a minimum number of people say no more than ten to thirty people, being family and very close friends.  Rest of the guests can attend virtually.
  2. Weddings can take place with just the two immediate families attending. 
  3. An indoor reception with no more than 30 people with proper PPE and social distancing factors.
  4. A small ceremony with the Big party to coincide with the Anniversary, whenever life returns to normal.

Having written several posts on Traditional Marriage ceremonies where the weddings are celebrated for no less than three days with a large number of guests mingling with each other, elaborate ceremonies and great merriment, in contrast a lockdown wedding would basically be restricted to, provided all necessary precautions are followed and taken into consideration  –

  1. A one day event, with a symbolic Roce ceremony with immediate family.
  2. Other pre-wedding parties like the Hen-party or Bachelors party would be celebrated on Zoom or such virtual platforms or dropped.
  3. Bridesmaids & Groomsmen to be restricted to one or max two.
  4. Photography would be restricted to one professional photographer, no videographer, no hashtags.
  5. No party favors.
  6. No immediate Honeymoon.
  7. No hugs and kisses, no handshakes.
  8. Proper social distancing, hand sanistisers and masks provided to those attending.
  9. Definitely celebrate with a cake and wine, with only the bridal couple partaking.
  10. Food may be served if it is just the immediate family and all are known to each other to be safe, if not ‘boxed’ meals would be safest.  Buffets are to be avoided.  If it is a small gathering at home, then home-cooked meals are preferable.

Many would feel it is safer for a 2021 wedding, but given that most people whose plans for a 2020 wedding have crashed, would most likely be planning a 2021 wedding.  As a result, venues would be limited as most bookings may have already been made.  So the quicker these are booked the better.

Another important aspect to consider is the size of venue.  For a usual venue of say 250 guests in normal times, the venue in COVID times for 2021 would require to be bigger maybe double the size if social distancing norms are to be implemented.

The Pandemic has made people realize the importance of life and surviving with the most basic needs. Hence priorities have shifted and extravagance is certainly not one of them.  So atleast till the curse of the virus has abated, one has to find ways to live a more meaningful and frugal life.

Marriage customs & traditions

Marriage customs and traditions (Roce)

Mangalorean Marriage Customs and Traditions

Image result for mangalorean catholic wedding
Traditional Wedding
Modern Wedding

My interest in Mangalorean customs and traditions now takes me to “Marriage” customs and traditions and although not an expert in this genre, I have always aspired to know and learn more. Having done some research on this subject coupled with some of my life experiences, I have chosen to write on the “Mangalorean marriage customs and traditions” for the benefit of those who have limited knowledge and are seeking some guidance on this issue.

Marriage is a sacred institution, a blessing from God and this is a universal truth. Marriage customs and traditions however, differ from country to country, community to community and in India from culture to culture.

Indian weddings are extravagant and full of grandeur. The rituals in the olden days were far more elaborate than today where most of the customs are ignored or overlooked and weddings are shortened from the customary ten days to maybe two or three days maximum. The contemporary wedding receptions on the other hand are held on such a grand scale which more than makes up for the entire ten day celebrations of yester year.

Many today aspire to follow the traditional customs even with limited resources and in limited circumstances if only to define the rich mangalorean culture that we should all be proud of. Many of the customs are also similar to Goan marriage customs due in fact to our ancestral links.

In an effort to remind us of the old customs and to apprise of the modern day customs, I will briefly describe the Mangalorean marriage customs and traditions “Then” and “Now” and in the sequence they were performed.

1.Match-Making “Sairik”

2.Finalising the Alliance “Sairik

3.Engagement “Mudi”

4.Reading Of Banns “Chiti Vaschyo”

5.Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

6.Wedding Garments/Jewellery “Sado” ETC.

7.Wedding Invitation “Voulik”

8.Wedding Pandal/Gifts of Food Etc. ” Kazara Matov”

9. “Vojem” etc.

10.Dot and Denem

11.Roce Ceremony

Laudate Psalm


Wedding Songs

12.Nuptial Blessing “Resper”

13.Wedding Reception “Kazara Jevon”

14. Mother-In-Law’s Gift of Ring to Son-In-Law “Maain Mudi Shivnchem”

15. Solemn transferment of Bride to Bridegrooms’s family “Opsun Divnchem”

16. Return Dinner “Porthapon”

17. Conclusion & Post wedding ceremonies

N.B.: I am open to accepting research projects on Culture and Traditions. Please email me with your requests at

Thank you.


Contribution towards research and development of Mangalorean Culture and Traditions

If you find my research and posts on The Mangalorean Culture and Traditions useful and worthy and would like to participate towards improving and enhancing my website and my research, please contribute how you see fit.


Continued………………. 1. Match-Making “Sairik”

References: Severine Silva and Stephen Fuchs & Victor D’sa, S.V.D.: The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India

Traditional Baby Shower

Traditional Baby Shower also known as “Gurwari Jevan” or “Phulam Malche” in Konkani.

Pursuant to my last post on Postpartum Care – Foods for lactating mothers it is not only the new mother who is celebrated but also the pregnancy is celebrated with a baby shower.

There are several traditions and much focus on baby showers, especially the modern ones which are themed and color coordinated in keeping with the expected baby’s gender, etc.  The World Wide Web abounds with information on such showers, but lacks sufficient information on traditional ones. The traditional baby showers therefore seem to be losing their appeal as people are not very well aware of the customs and rituals or simply don’t wish to follow their culture and traditions anymore.  I love traditions and I think it is important that ‘culture’ (social structures/society we grew-up in) should be preserved as it is an important link to our past and our future which reinforces social cohesion.

Upon enquiring with several family and friends and with specific input from Mrs. Gracy Rodrigues, I was able to plan the so-called traditional baby shower or Gurwari Jevan as it is called in the Mangalorean community.

The rationale for a traditional baby shower is for the pregnant woman to seek the blessings of the elders of the family, relatives and friends for a safe delivery and for the birthing of a normal & healthy baby.

Secondly, as custom dictates, the first delivery is usually at her mother’s “kulara” and for this purpose she goes to her mother’s home “kular”  in her seventh or ninth month and the ‘Gurwari Jevan’ is held to celebrate this occasion as her parents and relatives would come to the in-laws’ ‘mavado’ to take her home to her “kulara”.

It also celebrates the fertility of the woman and all her desires are to be fulfilled by her family on this day.  The menu then incorporates her favorite dishes and she is bedecked with traditional flowers i.e. jasmine or mogra in her hair, jewellery, and new traditional attire (saree), for the ceremony.

Tradition dictates the following rituals which usually takes place at Lunch time and ideally for ‘women-only’ guests:-

  1. The mother-to-be is presented with a saree by her mother-in-law  which should typically be of any shade of green, as green signifies fertility.
  2. She then changes into this saree.
  3. The women will help her dress and put flowers in her hair and bangles (usually red and green color) on her wrist.  The jingling sound of the bangles produce pleasing sounds so that the baby comes into a world of positive vibrations.
  4. The ceremony begins with prayers for the well-being of the mother-to-be and that of the baby invoking blessings of the Almighty.
  5. After prayers, she takes blessings from all the elders and good wishes from the rest of the family and guests.
  6. She is then presented with fruit and sweets which she takes to her mother’s home. Various fruit like bananas, apples, oranges and sweets can be given. The sweets must be fried sweets like, jalebi, malpua, boondi laddoo, balushahi, mysore pak…etc. The total number of fruit/sweet platters must be in odd number i.e 1, 3, 5, 7 etc. and each platter must also contain an odd number of the specific fruit/sweet.  These are then to be distributed to the family and friends at her mother’s home.
  7. All her favorite dishes are cooked to ensure her desires are satisfied and as in the Mangalorean custom always rounded off with the traditional ‘Vorn’ as dessert which is a universal favorite.
  8. Her mother also brings to the in-laws, fruit/sweets as a gesture of good-will.
  9. Lunch is then served and the mother-to-be and her husband are invited to first partake of the feast and is served by her mother-in-law. A typical menu would include Pork, Mutton Roce curry, Chicken Sukha, Chana Bhaji, Pulao/Steamed Rice, Salad, Pickle, Sannas and Vorn although not limited to these alone. All these recipes can be found in the book “Mais Recipes“.
  10. When she is ready to depart to her mother’s home ‘kulara’, a few members from her ‘mavado’ husband’s family also accompany her to reach her to her ‘kular’ her mother’s home.

This ceremony is performed in the 7th or 9th month of pregnancy and for the first pregnancy only.

It is said that it is also performed for the 13th pregnancy, provided all twelve children of the woman are living! Hmm… interesting. 

Our traditional baby shower was in November, 2015 and the ceremony we had for my elder daughter-in-law Charmaine, was a mix of the traditional and modern.  We invited the entire family i.e. women, men and children for the ‘Guwari Jevan’.  We had the traditional prayers lead by my sister-in-law Diana, blessing, and other rituals as stated above but also some baby shower games, conducted by my younger daughter-in-law Valencia, to keep the guests engaged and entertained.



Since my son and daughter-in-law were aware of the baby’s gender, we also had the gender-reveal game where the guests were asked to pick their choice of pink or blue button-holes upon arrival, which they were required to wear during the party. In keeping with our custom, flowers (jasmine) were also distributed to the female guests.

Traditional Baby Shower button hole

The cake was then cut to reveal the gender and this video says it all……………..

Charms Baby shower favors (22)

At the end of the party, home-made baby shower favors i.e. chocolate babies and coffee mugs filled with assorted chocolates were distributed to kids and edible favors made of marzipan and chocolate were distributed to families. A key-chain, with a picture of Charmaine and Raoul with a thank-you message was also distributed courtesy Charmaine’s parents which her father personally arranged.

Charms Baby Shower Key Chain

Home-made edible party favors, presentation:-


Postpartum Care – Foods for lactating mothers

For details on Traditional Baby Shower click the link or the image below-

Published 18th January, 2016

Thiklem Sukho Randho (7)
Thiklem (Sukho Randho)

I became a grandmother this January the 10th and I cannot express how elated me and my family are on the birth of our first grandson, a son to my eldest son. I thought it opportune to write a post on Postpartum care dedicated to the new mother, my daughter-in-law, which I hope will also benefit all new mothers.

Postnatal or postpartum care refers to the confinement period immediately post delivery when physical changes that occurred in the body during the nine months preceding delivery, begin the healing process and getting back to its original state. As the new mother would be breastfeeding and also due to the loss of blood during delivery, it is necessary that high quality of nutrition must be provided in this period.

Culture plays a major role in postnatal care and beliefs. Much of the woman’s lifestyle and care during the postpartum period is strongly influenced by her culture. Every society has its own traditional beliefs and practices related to pregnancy and health care. Postpartum maternal health care greatly influences the health of both the mother and child. Like prenatal care, the postpartum health care that is typically provided during the six-week period after childbirth is very important to the mothers’ health. Effective postpartum care is essential to maximize the health of the mother and the new-born regardless of where a woman delivers. India, being a land of diverse cultures and traditions, postpartum care and diet varies, based on topography of the region, culture, tradition and religious practices.

Here I will outline some of the manglorean catholic practices. It is a common belief that the new mother’s internal organs are ‘fresh’ from childbirth and so it is important to consume foods that will provide heat and warmth to the body to accelerate the healing of the internal organs especially the reproductive organs. Nonetheless, it is imperative to have a balanced diet which includes, but not limted to, pure ghee, fenugreek seeds, fenugreek leaves, fennel seeds (saunf), garlic, ginger, carom seeds (ajwain) oats, green vegetables, dried fruits, seeds, etc. The mother must have a bowl of hot soup daily, either vegetable soup or tender fresh chicken soup. She should eat fish like, Pomfret, lady fish Kaane (Lady Fish) Curry, Raouns (Rawas/Indian Salmon), Hamour (Grouper) and avoid Mackerels, Sardines, King fish, shrimps, shell fish, etc. She must also avoid having pulses, starchy and root vegetables and meats like beef, to avoid bloating, indigestion and flatulence as this could adversely affect the nursing baby. Lots of green leafy vegetables and Yam is recommended in addition to carrots and beetroot as they are high in beta carotene and help boost liver health and are a good source of iron to alleviate post-pregnancy anemia.

Recipes for some of the typical medicinal foods namely, Methi Paez (Fenugreek seed porridge), Garlic & Ginger which are ground to a paste and cooked with jaggery and pure ghee to a jam consistency, Ajwain Paez (Carom seed porridge), Gulianchi Kheer (Rice, jaggery and coconut milk pudding with rice dumplings) and Nivol (medium thick curry made using coconut, peppercorns, carom seeds and kokum i.e.dried mangosteen/red mango) to be consumed by lactating mothers is given below. These are my Late mother’s recipes from her book Mai’s Recipes. Mai’s Recipes Contact details.

I remember my mother saying that it is advisable to give the new mother methi paez and nivol on alternate days. Then a tablespoon of the ginger or garlic can be taken daily with breakfast or in between. Ajwain paez can be taken on some days and gulianchi kheer on some days i.e. all these foods are not to be taken everyday but spread over the confinement period so as to gain the maximum benefit from these nourishing ingredients.

Fenugreek Ajwain water should be taken by the mother instead of normal water.  This can be prepared by adding a teaspoon each of Fenugreek, Ajwain (Caron seeds), Cumin and Fennel (Badishep) seeds to one litre or 1.5 litres of water, bring to a boil, switch off flame, cover and let it infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve, to be taken by the mother, preferably warm, throughout the day instead of normal water.

The other important lactating and strengthening food is ‘Randho’ which is a mixture of spices and various nuts and ‘Thiklem‘ a dry form of Randho which is also a mixture of spices and various nuts, onions etc. deep fried to golden brown with pure ghee. It is recommended to take a tablespoon at breakfast.

Click on the title for links to the recipe.

Thiklem (Sukho Randho)
141 Nivol[0]

The postpartum practices are many, but I will list those that are important to both the baby’s and mother’s health for the first 40 days i.e. 6 weeks of confinement and commonly practiced by us:-
For Mother:-

  1. The daily oil massage and bath, ideally given by ‘Elderly lady who looks after the new mother’ (balnti posteli) experienced in bath and massage for new born baby and mother.
  2. Postpartum belt (usually an old cotton saree/cloth is used) tied over the tummy and waist of the mother to support the back and get rid of the baby pouch. As they say it also helps squeeze out the impure blood and other impurities from the uterus which are the remanants from the delivery.
  3. Restricted from using cold water for washing hands, taking bath, toilet use and drinking purpose. Only warm or hot water is recommended.
  4. Mother is advised to lie down most of the time and preferably with legs crossed to avoid air entering the body.
  5. Drinking kaljira kasai (black cumin decoction) for first three days after delivery.
  6. Consume special food (home medicine) to increase breast milk and strengthen the bones and muscles during postnatal period.
  7. Refrain from sex for 40 days mainly from a medical perspective as it would allow for the episiotomy wound to be healed and avoid any infections.
  8. It is also said that usually one peg of alcohol (brandy) may be given to mother to prevent her from catching cold and also helps her get good sleep.

In conclusion: Generally, women and their newborn are secluded from the rest of the household to limit contamination from the polluting powers of ‘after-birth’. These are widely practiced across India, and form an intrinsic part of women’s daily lives in traditional societies.

For Baby:-

  1. Daily Oil massage and bath.
  2. Practice of exposing the baby to the dhoonp (incense) smoke after bath to protect the baby from evil spirit.
  3. Application of Kajal on the baby’s forehead or eyes to ward of evil eye. A small dot may be applied near the hairline if you are not too happy with using kajal.
  4. Use of black thread on wrists/waist/neck to prevent evil eye.
  5. To clean coated tongue by using a cloth/gauze dipped in glycerine.
  6. Advised not to cut baby’s nails with nail-cutter but rather the mother should bite the nails to make them shorter or keep baby’s hands covered in mittens to avoid them scratching themselves.
  7. Practice of feeding the first milk (colostrum).
  8. Utmost care to umbilical cord, to be kept dry using boric powder or clean with antiseptic swabs and to bury the umbilical cord when it dries and falls.
  9. Baby is given sun-bath, usually early morning between 7:30 am and 8:30 am to prevent and cure baby jaundice if detected. During such sun-bath, baby’s eyes are to be protected from direct contact to sun.

Although modern medicine does not necessarily advocate these customs and beliefs, they have been followed by generations and we have not seen or heard of any adverse effects because of these practices but certainly know that they do have their own benefits.

The new mother then should just allow herself to be thoroughly pampered with ample rest, massages, nutritious food etc. that she is showered upon during this period.

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