Mangalorean marriage customs and traditions – Vojem


VOJEM gifts



On the eve of the wedding, neighbours, people from the vaddo and close family ‘daijis’ ** brought gifts ‘vojem’ to the family which consisted mainly of various kinds of food required for the roce and wedding dinner like rice, vegetables like pumpkins, gourds, fruits like jackfruits and plantains and plaintain leaves, the latter were used as plates. Those who could not afford food contributed money.

*Wealthy and influential people brought their gifts accompanied by a brass band and group of dancers brandishing swords or wooden staves and this group was called talim. The bearers of the gifts came in a long line and in a solemn manner.  The gifts were received with some solemnity by the master of ceremonies ‘yejmani’ and his wife ‘yejman’.  No widow or widower can act as Yejmani and Yejman and this honor is then given to the closest married elder relative. The family accepting these gifts had to return them in a larger measure when a wedding was celebrated in the donor’s house.

* In the early 20th century most of the konkani roman catholics were temporary cultivating tenants ‘Chalgeni’ and the lanlords used to bestow various privileges on the cultivators. It was necessary to provide presents on important festivals and occasions of birth, marriage, etc., e.g. on a wedding the minimum present from the landlord in addition to various fruit, vegetables, coconuts was; 4 muras of paddy and another 4 muras worth of cash to pay the dowry, 16 yards of cloth, 4 1/2 kudatis (1 kudati = 12 tolas) of coconut oil, 1000 betel leaves, 100 areca nuts and some cash, etc.  It was after the land reform act was passed and introduced that surplus land was re-distributed among poor cultivators and needy landless agricultural labourers that most of the ‘cultivating tenants’ became land owners.

So when a reference to *Wealthy and influential people bringing vojem is made and the symbolic vojem processions we see at present day functions, I would think these wealthy people were the landlords bringing their presents with great pomp and show accompanied by the band.  Hence you see the head of the vojem procession a wealthy man (based on his attire) accompanied by his workers/labourers carrying the vojem.

This video which Mr. John Rodrigues of Johncy Digitals was kind enough to allow me to present, depicts the traditional vojem procession complete with brass band and the traditional music played on this occasion.


The vojem culture, albeit on a limited scale, still continues in our family and I am sure, in many mangalorean families.  Although not in procession, but close family members gift fruit like bunch of bananas, vegetables, coconut oil, coconuts, rice (by relatives from native place), cash, alchohol, etc. but the gifts are made privately.  The vojem is usually given couple of days before the wedding or on the morning of the roce day when the close family members gather to prepare for the evening roce function.

Today’s Roce functions also have the symbolic vojem dance/procession where close family members dressed in traditional attire participate, to enhance the entertainment quotient of the roce celebration. Professional vojem dance and voviyo singing and performing teams are also available, if required.

Dinner for the Deceased


A special dinner was served at noon of the last day before the wedding in remembrance of the deceased of the family.  Prayers were recited for them and dinner served.


The dinner is omitted, but an individual requiem mass is offered for all deceased members of the family and for the souls in purgatory.


Special thanks to Mr. John Rodrigues for sharing the vojem procession video.

Previous Post: Kazara Matov                                               Next Post:  Dot and Denem

** Daijis – The great grandfather (father’s father’s father) is called ponzo and the descendant’s along the male line are one’s daijis.  Literally daiji means one who has share in the daij (ancestral property).  The daijis have a duty to help each other and their presence is important on all ceremonial occasions like weddings etc. and are to be given precedence over others on such occasions.

References: Severine Silva and Stephen Fuc hs & Victor D’sa, S.V.D.: The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India, R.G.Kakade in ‘Depressed classes of South Kanara’ a socio-ecenomic survey, Francis Buchanan Land Reforms of Karnataka, Daijiworld, mangalorean.com, Konkani Roman Catholics of Dakhshina Kannada Chapter III.


Mangalorean marriage customs and traditions – Kazara Matov


Wedding Pandal ‘kazara matov’

matov entrance


In the wedding week or couple of days before the wedding, preparations were made to erect the wedding pandal ‘matov’ both at the bride’s and the bridegroom’s house and it was essential that all weddings took place in the ‘matov’. A special invitation called ‘matvachi voulik’ was given to the neighbours expert in erecting matovs, inviting them to put up the matovs.  Usually two are erected, one for the main wedding function in the front courtyard and the second one at the side for cooking etc. called the rashyo.

The posts of the matovs had to be of an odd number and were made of stems of aerca-beetlenut1 tree madinut trees (madi) and the roof of leaves of coconut tree.  The front arches were of plantain trees with the bunches of plantains hanging down.  The plantain trees tied to the front posts of the matov seems to be a hindu custom carried over by the catholics as the tree is considered auspicious and a sign of fertility and prosperity.

The rashyo had the newly formed hearths for cooking the roce and wedding feasts. A few days before the wedding the women of the house and neighbourhood gathered to prepare the various spices which were first fried and then ground to a powder for the cooking.  This powder was called karpo.

The traditional kitchen equipment used in the rasshyo were the Ghatno/Vaan, the tondor,  adalo, kail, kailatho, kanthne, koitho, koithi, bornis, etc.

Traditional Kitchen Equipments


The Matov culture continues to exist even in modern cities provided the houses or apartments have sufficient place in the compound or the apartments’ terraces especially for the roce and porthapon ceremonies, if conducted at the homes of the bridal couple. Food however is rarely cooked at home and instead catered.  The modern matovs are built with bamboo and cloth/fabric.

Weddings though, take place in banquet halls, which in most cases must be reserved almost a year in advance.  Roce and Porthapon also in most cases take place in banquet halls.


Previous Post: Wedding invitation Voulik                       Next Post:  Vojem, etc.

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


Marriage customs and traditions – Wedding Invitation


Wedding Invitation “Voulik”


Upon finalising the dates of the wedding ceremonies, utmost care was taken and special attention was given to inviting close relatives in person, going from house to house and this form of invitation is called ‘voulik’.  It used to be a verbal invitation. The bridegroom and a near relative of the bride alongwith two elderly men of either party would go to issue the ‘voulik’ by giving details of the ceremonies like time of ros, resper nuptials, jevan wedding banquet, etc.  ‘First’ invitation was made to the parish priest, then the gurkar (head of the Christian community). Then invitations were exchanged between the bride and the groom’s family.  First the bridegroom’s father and some relatives went to the bride’s place for inviting the family to the wedding.  Then the father of the bride with some relatives went to the bridegroom’s place for extending the invitation.

Pan pod

Certain rules had to be observed when going for the voulik. Upon reaching the relatives house, they had to stand outside the main door, greet the owner, enquire about their health and then reveal the purpose of their visit. He would say “Havn voulik sangonk ailam” – I have come to invite you for the wedding. At once the master of the house would welcome them saying ‘dev borem korum, udak ailem’ – God bless you, please, accept this water.  The invitation had to be announced in a particular manner lest it be taken as an insult.  If any invitees were not present at their home at the time of the visit ‘pan-pod’ was left at the entrance of the house to indicate the visit.  This system of invitation may be still be in practise in rural remote villages.



Personal invitations ‘voulik’ are still made alongwith the ‘printed invitation’, but the  bride and the groom’s family go separately for the ‘voulik’, each inviting their own relatives.  Some rules though are customary to be followed.

The first invitation is a symbolic invitation to “The Holy Family” Jesus, Mary & Joseph to seek blessings on the bridal couple and the marriage ceremonies. So an invitation card is placed at the altar at home.  This may have been done in olden days also but have not found any mention of this.

The next invite goes to the bride’s family by the bridegroom’s family and vice-versa. Then the elders of the family are to be invited in person, followed by other relatives and friends according to time and convenience.  Invitations are also sent using postal, courier, electronic services and social media, followed-up by a telephone call if necessary.

e972dc2f889c7fc9650ff6b6b296cff4--wedding-paper-wedding-cardsPrinted invitation cards, Save the date, RSVPs, announcements on social media, etc. have become the norm.  A wedding invite should be kept as simple as possible but as it  provides a glimpse and sets the tone of the events leading to the wedding, the style and contents require some thoughtful planning as it is an important medium in announcing the ‘good news’ to family and friends.

Tips to be followed so that no information is omitted, is to ensure ‘who, what, when, where’ details are provided on the card i.e. who is getting married, date and venue is important to be on the invite.  Any other information should be on separate cards or can be directed to the wedding website if there is one or by word of mouth.  It is also important to add the names of who is hosting the wedding as the wording on the invite would differ if the parents are hosting, bridal couple is hosting or both parents and couple are hosting.

A typical timeline for wedding invitations would be :-

  1. Save the Date invites go out 6 to 8 months before the wedding
  2. Order the wedding invites 6 to 8 months prior to the wedding
  3. Invites are sent 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding
  4. Invites to a destination wedding, 3 to 4 months before the wedding
  5. RSVP requests 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding
  6. Wedding website details should be included on the ‘Save the Date’.
  7. Wedding registry details may be included on the website and not on the wedding invite.  Gift-giving is a ‘blessing’ to the newly married couple to begin the new part of their lives and while it is tempting to include the gift registry with the wedding invitation, etiquette dictates otherwise.

A word on RSVPs.  Guests do tend to take the RSVP request lightly. Out of courtsey to your hosts, do make it a point to reply to RSVPs in time.  As soon as you know you will be attending or not attending, let the the hosts know by email or a call.  A huge amount of effort and costs go into the planning of a wedding and it’s a shame for the hosts to have to pay for guests who don’t make an appearance!

Previous Post : Wedding garments & jewellery                      Next Post : Kazara Matov

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


Marriage Customs and Traditions – Wedding Garments and Jewellery


Mangalorean wedding garments and ornaments

In spite of extensive research to get pictures and illustrations of bridal garments and jewellery worn in the past by the Mangalorean/South Canerese catholics, I have not had much success.  Most of the ornaments were inspired from jewellery worn by mangalorean hindu and Goan jewellery.  Hence, some of the pictures illustrated below are just ‘Indicative’ in my pursuit to obtain the actual wedding ornaments’ pictures and will update as I go along.


Wedding garments

In the early days the traditional wedding dress worn by the bridegroom was a short loin cloth (kachhen or dhoti) with red and gold hem (todop), a shawl to cover his shoulders, a red handkerchief (leis) on the head and a shirt with gold buttons and a coat (kutav). The bridegroom wore a chakrasar-neck chain and a pair of sandals or a pair of socks.  The groom also wore the “Urmbal” (head gear).  The traditional unbrella used was a big umbrella with 10 sticks “Damaskachi Satri” depicted by the red unbrella.


Traditional wedding costume

Bellevision traditional wedding garments

Bellevision.com traditional wedding garments










On making enquires with friends I was told by Lydia Vas that her mother, who married in the year 1939 wore a ‘heavy embroidered skirt’ for her wedding and ‘chinelem‘ for footwear.  While researching on this topic I came across the “pano bhaju” and “chinelos” which is the attire of Goan catholics and quite believe this could have been the dress adopted by some brides in ealier times due to our Goan history.  Her mother-in-law though, wore the kirgi baju.

Goa tourism pano bhaju chinelem

GoaTourism – Pano Bhaju & Chinelem illustration

Kirgi Baju

Traditional Kirgi Baju

kirgi bhaju costume

Traditional Kirgi Baju

In fomer days the bride used to wear a “Kirgi” and a “baju”.  Kirgi is a piece of cloth 4 feet long and 3 feet broad wrapped waist down around the body.  The baju is a long sleeved jacket to cover the upper part of the body and covered with a veil in V shape.




After the wedding ceremony the bride would change into the “Sado” when she gets her pallu “Worl” to symbolise the change from spinster to married.

In today’s day the Kirgi Baju is worn by the bride for her roce and the kirgi is usually made from the bride’s mother’s wedding banarsi saree “sado”. 

In later years the wedding dress gradually changed to the bride wearing a white saree but the bridegroom wore the dhoti and kutav. 

IMG-20180317-WA0009 (1)

Bride in white saree


Then & Now:

The traditional wedding saree worn by the bride is known as Sado and is presented by the groom. The second wedding saree is the dharma-sado  (also referred to as Sado vailem) which ranks second to the sado, also an expensive saree, and is presented to the bride by her mother/family.  The third saree is the “maipano” given by bride’s mother.  For my ‘porthapon’ I wore the dharma-sado and then changed into the maipano at my mother’s house. 

Red Banarsi


Sado veile dharma sado


Sado maipano










It was and still is customary to present sarees to the female members of the family and some female wedding guests, especially by the bridegroom and male family members and children and some guests also received presents of clothes.


Now and in recent years bridegroom wears a suit without hat and the bride wears the white dress. Below are the wedding pictures of my late parents married 63 years ago, my wedding 36 years ago and most recent is my son, but all these weddings took place in Mumbai City hence the western influence however, the tradition of the bride changing into the sado (as in the traditional wedding costume pictures above) was maintained and still continues.

Brides and grooms in Mangalore also have switched to the western style of dress with Sado ceremony.

MaiPapawedd pic

My parents wedding 1955

Rudy Cecilia wedd (1)

My wedding 1982


My son’s wedding 2011











Wedding Ornaments

It was common practice to call the goldsmiths to the house to prepare the ornaments.  The traditional gold ornaments worn by the bride were:

  1. Pirduk-gold chain with black glass beads with a pendant also called mangalsutra which used to be tied by the mother-in-law. Another form of pirduk was a pendant with a cross studded with precious stones. To the top of the cross was a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit minin” and sorpoli worn on a gold chain (without beads).

    Pirduk – Mangalsutra/Karimani


Sorpoli with minin


2. Kanti-necklace of gold beads or red coral and gold beads, various types as shown below.  Understand these are nowadays usually worn by senior married women.

Pouli corals

Coral Kanti

Coral and gold beads necklace

Coral Kanti


Gold oval beads Kanti strung on gold chain

GLAcharya Jewellers updated

Necklaces usually worn by elderly married women


3. Chakrasar– Neck chain worn by men and chain of small round gold plates woven one into the other and forming a long chain, worn by women (also worn by Hindus).


Chakrasar – neck chain worn by men

Chakrasar Bride

Chakrasar – Bride

Gold Bead chain

Lakshmi Sara – Bride







4. Fugador – Necklace of large green stones mounted on gold,




5. Kap – Round disc ear ornament inserted into the lobe of the ear. It is still the typical ear ornament for married women in Canara. But in later years the Kudkan became more common, which is a round gold disk surrounded by precious stones.

Earing discs ancient

Kap – Indicative

vajra_kutka_diamond earings


Diamond ear studs







6. Karap – Inserted in the middle ear with a thin gold chain attached to the hair,


Karap – Indicative

7. Mugud – Worn on the top of ear, a gold disk surrounded by pearls and attached to the hair by a chain,

8. Kanto – Gold or silver pin with a gold head stuck through a bun at the back of the head.


Kanto – Indicative

Gold hair pin with gold head

Kanto – Indicative







9. Dantoni – Two ordinary pair of combs with the top plated in gold and worn in the head on both sides above her ears.

Antique silver hair combs southerbellekari

Dantoni  – Indicative

10. Masli-two more combs with a figure of fish in gold inserted in each comb,

11. Bang-gold chain with pendant in the centre of the forehead and hair parting,


Bang (Maang Tikka)

Maang Tikka Traditional

Maang Tikka with chain

Bang Bride

Mangalorean Catholic bride wearing Bang with chain











12. Rings – on her hands several rings

13. Bangles – Three sets of gold bangles


14. Red Glass Bangles – plus some red glass bangles which are worn with sado.

red bangles lastbustovasco


Wedding Garments

Sado, dharma-sado and maipano and additional sarees may be purchased and as tradition dictates some close family female wedding guests are also presented sarees and male guests also receive presents of clothes. For the nuptials a white dress or saree are worn and the changing into the Sado is done mid-way at the wedding reception.

Wedding Ornaments

The basic jewellery is now a modern necklace, gold chain with pendant and bangles, mush less jewellery than in the past. The mangalsutra is paid for by the bridegroom which he puts on the bride.  The mangalsutra though is simply a symbol of the married state adopted from old hindu traditions and is part of a social custom.  The Catholic Church recognises only the wedding bands” that are exchanged in the church and therefore only the wedding rings are blessed and witnesses testify to having witnessed the exchange of the rings.

Gold wedding bands

Wedding Bands


As explained in “Finalising the alliance – Sairik” the concept of Dowry has now changed from “cash” to “kind” – Gold what the Bride brings with her (based on her financial status) and 50% share of the wedding expenses.

Modern bridal jewellery

Modern jewellery


Modern Mangalsutra

Latest southindian Gold-bridal-jewellery-collections-2016

Modern necklaces








Usually the parents of the bride and groom and some elders from both families go together to pick the bridal sarees and jewellery, an event which would take almost the entire day and also provides a good opportunity to bond with the new relatives.

The brides’ jewellery and the wedding sado (although purchased by the groom is given to the bride for having the blouse etc. tailored) are to be taken to the grooms house by a couple of elders of the brides’ family a day or two before the wedding as “denem“.  The denem articles are displayed by the grooms mother to her family and guests and is brought to the church wrapped in a red velvet or satin fabric as these are to be carried to the church alongwith the Jasmine and Aboli (Crossandra) flowers by the bridegrooms family so that they can be blessed during the general blessing at the nuptials and then taken to the reception. The bridegrooms family is responsible for dressing the bride in the sado, flowers and ornaments.


Jasmine mangalore flowers


Aboli flowers








Special thanks to Mrs. Lydia Vas for her valuable input and for sharing some jewellery pictures and Mrs. Diana D’souza for the picture of the bride in white saree.  Truly appreciate your efforts.


Previous Post:Bachelor Bachelorette Party Bridal Showers

Next Post : Wedding Invitation “Voulik”


References: Severine Silva and Stephen Fuchs & Victor D’sa, S.V.D.: The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India, wikipedia, Bellevision, Goa Tourism, Konkani State Vishal Gomantak



Marriage customs and traditions – Bachelor Bachelorette Party Bridal Showers


Then:  Pre-Marriage Lunch/Dinner invitations

Upon conclusion of the formal engagement and a wedding date fixed, the soon to be bride and groom would be invited for lunch or dinner by their respective friends, relatives and neighbours, not together but separately.

18202163-beautiful-girl-with-flowers-in-hairThe girl was dressed up nicely for the occasion and put red flowers in her hair and was sometimes invited by her hosts to stay overnight and a bath was prepared for her. These invitations expressed the loving sentiments and respect the hosts had for the girl and her family.   Close family relatives could not easily excuse themselves from these invitations, which were expected to be returned when a wedding was to take place in the family of the hosts.

Family dinnerI do recall my elder sister who got married 39 years ago, being invited for a meal hosted by our Aunt and I had accompanied her as I was her brides-maid. Some of our other relatives and neighbours too may have also invited us but can’t recall.


Not sure if the above mentioned beautiful and sentimental custom is being followed due to present day busy lifestyle.

downloadThe custom now though is the Bachelor/Bachelorette also called hen-do-clipart-17‘Hen’ parties or ‘Bridal Shower’ hosted by the bridesmaid and groomsmen or close friends which signifies a farewell to his bachelor days and her spinster days.  These parties are based on Western traditions and are to some extent ‘wild’ parties giving the guests an opportunity to let their hair down, so to say, especially the bride and groom to celebrate for the last time their spinsterhood/bachelorhood.

However, in order to throw some light on these western inspired customs, the origin of the Bachelor party was in actual fact a black-tie images (4)event hosted by the groom’s father to raise a toast in honor of the groom and his bride.

Bachelor party is also known as Stag Party, Stag Night, Stag Weekend and takes place shortly before he enters marriage.

Bride-Image-900x675Equivalent to the Bachelor is the Bacholerette party for the bride which is also called Hen’s Night (Europe), Stagette (Canada).


To keep celebrations ‘sober’ and trim costs, it is becoming increasingly common to have “Stag & Doe”, Jack & Jill, or Stag & Hen parties, i.e. a joint Bachelor/Bachelorette party.

Hen & Stag Party

images (3)






Bridal Shower (celebrated mainly in U.S. & Canada) is as the name suggests, a gift-giving party for the bride to shower her with gifts.  It is said that bridal shower originated out of earlier dowry practices in Europe (and I thought dowry system existed only in India) when a woman’s family could not provide a dowry or if the father did not approve of the marriage, the friends of the woman got together to bring gifts and provide financial assistance so she could marry.  Bridal Showers are bridal-shower-300x300held 2 to 6 weeks before the wedding and traditional gifts are for bedroom or kitchen to help the bride start her new home, but nowadays the usual gifts are personal items for the bride, like sexy lingerie or sleep wear.

Bridal Showers usually take place in the afternoon (lunch) or evening (if only snacks are served) and all invitees are expected to bring a small gift for the bride and hosting is done by a close friend or one or more bridesmaid/s or the maid of honour.  Guests would typically be the bride’s close female friends and family members. In general, those who are invited to the bridal shower would also be invited to the wedding.  Opening of the gifts is done with some pomp, either before the meal or after and not during the meal.


There is nothing wrong in having both a Bridal Shower (2 to 6 weeks ahead of the wedding) and a Bachelorette (couple of days before the wedding). Much planning goes into these parties today so that the bride and the guests have a great time playing games, dancing etc. and there are numerable ideas and themes available on the world wide web.


Previous Post: Reading of Banns                   Next Post: Wedding Garments & Jewellery

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

Marriage Customs and Traditions – Reading of Banns – Chiti Vaschyo





The word “Banns” is simply a “proclamation” traditionally announced and published in the home parishes of both the girl and the boy on three Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation before the marriage.  This law was decreed in 1215  and is commonly associated with the Catholic Church and the Church of England. The purpose of announcing the ‘Banns’ was to enable anyone to raise a canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage so as to prevent invalid marriages.  Impediments vary but would normally include a pre-existing marriage that has been neither dissolved nor annulled, vow of celibacy, lack of consent or the couple being related within the prohibition degree of kinship. This act was meant to prohibit clandestine marriages and elopements by the underage. Reading of marriage banns was an important rite without which a marriage was considered null and void, unless a marriage licence was obtained instead.

marriage-licenseMarriage Licences began to be issued by a Church or a State Authority in the 14th century, to permit a marriage which would otherwise be illegal. There were always people who were in a hurry to marry for various reasons and didn’t wish to wait for the usual period for the three banns to be read; in such cases and with special approval and payment of a higher fee a marriage licence was issued giving the couple the necessary permission to be married.

In early days most of the people shared personal bonds with their neighbours, their communities and members of their parish and knew anyone and everyone in their neighbourhood but in later years with people becoming increasingly mobile, changing their domicile and emigrating to newer lands for jobs or other purposes, it became increasingly difficult to “know” all the people living around you or to be acquainted with all the people belonging to the same parish. Therefore, in 1983 the requirement of reading the banns was abolished by the Church as it’s usefulness in determining whether there were impediments to a marriage became limited for reasons stated. But many parishes still continue to publish marriage banns and it is still one of the requirements for marriage.


Before the Mudi  both parents of the bridegroom and bride would have approached the priest and informed him of their mutual intention to marry and would then fix the marriage date with the priest who records the names and details of the bride and groom and instructs the young couple in the duties of married life and tests their knowledge of the Christian faith and the prayers. The fee given to the priest was a banana bunch, a cock and some money.  Reading of the banns is an important rite following the engagement. The banns are read on three consecutive Sundays before the wedding date and the two persons concerned are present when the banns are read out. It is a matter of pride for the couple and their families.  If the wedding is to take place in an emergency an exception was made and the banns were read on one Sunday only.  Of course this required special permission from the priest or bishop and also higher fees!!

The formula for reading the banns :-

Devache Kurpen kazar zata puth avnkar Gregory, Balthuzar Saldanhanaso and dhu Juliana, Juze Almeida d’ Sachi Hi zavnasa (poli, dusri, thisri) chit. Konichi adkol asa pirge-jecha vodilank tilsunk.


By the grace of God, the bachelor son, Gregory, of Mr. Balthuzar Saldanha, is going to marry the daughter, Juliana, of Mr. Joseph Almeida. This is the (first, second, third) reading of the banns. In case anyone has any objection to this marriage he had the obligation of informing the ecclesiastical authorities.



Once the couple informs the priest of their mutual INTENT to marry, they must register and attend the marriage preparation course and prepare the required documents which are sent to the respective parishes.  Gone are the days when a church wedding could be performed within a week of the girl and boy meeting and accepting each other. These quick weddings used to be quite common prior to the 80’s and mostly between a foreign returned boy and local girl in India.

Curch notice board bannsBanns now are read/published on one Sunday only.  In Kuwait the banns are just put up on the church notice board for a week or two without any formal announcement during mass.


Today, the procedure from registering of INTENT to marry until the marriage dossier is complete, is a protracted and lengthy one between both the parishes of the couple. If the marriage is to take place in a church other than the parish then that Church too is to be involved in the required procedures. A minimum of three months to a maximum of one year is required depending on the rules of the respective Churches  involved, to complete all formalities and necessary paperwork like Registration, NOC, Marriage preparation course certificate, Proclamation of banns certificate, etc.

07-3004banns-6Once the banns are published and the results of the banns obtained, the Banns Certificate is issued to proceed.



In that it is worthwhile accessing the respective church website and checking out the marriage FAQs and procedures before approaching the church. The basic documents required to register are:-

  1. Baptism certificate (not older than six months)
  2. Your Passport copy or photo ID
  3. 2 Witnesses
  4. Boy must be not less than 21 years and girl not less than 18 years of age.

It is interesting to note how the wording on the Banns have evolved over time:

  1. 16th & 17th Century, only the names of the couple and the parish were mentioned.

2. 18th Century, fathers names were included (but not the mother as all women were considered fathers’ property even if they were married).

Example of the wording was as follows:-

  • By the grace of God, the bachelor son, Gregory, of Mr. Balthuzar Saldanha, is going to marry the daughter, Juliana, of Mr. Joseph Almeida. This is the (first, second, third) reading of the banns. In case anyone has any objection to this marriage he had the obligation of informing the ecclesiastical authorities.

3. In today’s time, names of both parents are stated.

Banns RaoulCharm







Reading of Banns is therefore an important rite and does not apply to mangalorean catholics alone but to all communities that follow the catholic or christian faith.

Previous Post : Engagement Mudi                      Next Post: Bachelor/Bachelorette Party


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


Mangalorean Marriage Customs and Traditions – Engagement Mudi


While, “finalising of the “Sairik” is the formal acceptance of the promise made by the bride’s father to the groom’s father that he will give his daughter in marriage; the Engagement or the Ring ceremony i.e. “Mudi” is a mutual promise of later marriage and is a solemn and religious ritual. The Engagment may take place months, weeks or days ahead of the marriage. In some cases the engagement period may also last for a year or more.


Engagement “Mudi”


The bridegroom would go to the girl’s house with his parents and close relatives on the engagement day. The priest would bless the engagement ring in the church or in the bride’s house and the bridegroom would put the ring “mudi” on the bride’s left ring finger symbolizing his claim on her.

He then presents some gifts like rosary, handkerchiefs, prayer book, perfume, cosmetics, etc. to the bride.

The bride then shows the gifts to all the guests. After the engagement the groom takes the bride to his house to acquaint her with his relatives and to show her his property. When such an engagement breaks, the mudi has to be returned to the bridegroom but the presents are not returned.


Engagements are optional but more formal if it must take place. Invitations are sent mostly through social media. The ceremony takes place either at the house of the bride or at a party venue officiated by a priest who blesses the mudi (rings) followed by cake cutting, raising of the toast.


Gifts given to the bride are jewellery and saree which the bride changes into during the function and sometimes the boy also changes his attire.  March-past, dancing, dinner, etc. in short a mini-wedding! Guests would be only close family and friends and all expenses are borne by the brides’ family.

My son Raoul’s engagement was at a hotel venue hosted by my daughter-in-law Charmaine’s parents and officiated by Rev. Fr. Jerome Pinto, Charmaine’s maternal grandfather’s brother.



The gorgeous engagement cake was made by my sister Zenia “Julianz.in”.

Nowadays engagement function is optional and replaced with a formal “proposal” especially in love-marriages where the boy throws a surprise for the girl (with just the two of them) and “proposes” with a ring (usually diamond!) at an exotic location, etc.

My son Rohan opted for the western style of proposing and took my daughter-in-law Valencia to Dubai to the Burj Al Arab’s “Atmosphere” restaurant on the 123rd floor to pop the question!



CIVIL Marriage or registered marriage is now compulsory effective 12 April 2012. This registered marriage is an important proof of marriage and also gives it a legal status. Civil marriage can be registered at a Marriage Court any time before or after the formal wedding.

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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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