(Please note: This is my weekly column that was published in The Goan on Saturday)
The month of May is not quite different from December. The first variation you find is in the weather. While December brings with it the chill, May does just the opposite. Both months have 31 days and are regarded as vacation season. Schools pull down shutters, there’s a hike in travel fares, and celebrations take centre stage. One such celebration is weddings, and Goan weddings are a perfect example of an occasion where the enjoyment begins well in advance and the excitement does not subside even after the wedding is over.
Even though Mumbai houses a lot of Goans, the wedding here are not as exciting as they’re back in Goa. The ros ceremony – anointing the bride and the groom with a mixture of coconut juice and coconut oil by family and friends is quite popular. But it doesn’t have the same charm of singing Konkani songs, mandos or dulpods. This either happens one or two days before the wedding.
Bhium Jevon (a ritual meal) or Bikarian Jevon (food for the poor) is another popular tradition followed by Goans. The Bridal trousseau is sent to the bride’s house on this day by the groom’s family; again, not something popular in the metropolitan city. This is usually replaced by a bachelor and bachelorette party where friends of the bride and groom come together respectively to celebrate before the couple ties the knot.
There are not many alterations in the Nuptial ceremony except that, in Mumbai, the Resper takes place at the bride’s parish, and in Goa, it’s at the groom’s parish. The Kazar (Wedding) is the most loved segment during Goan weddings. Isn’t it? Once the couple walks down the aisle and are announced man and wife, everyone proceeds to what we call “hall”. If the wedding is during the monsoons, it’s in a hall. Otherwise, it’s open air. Readers in Goa will totally agree. But the celebration is way different.
A live band plays a very important role, but in Mumbai, live bands do not go beyond cafes and clubs. At weddings, a DJ mixes numbers – Ballroom dancing is associated with Goan Catholics. Everyone jives, and if you don’t, heaven save you! In Goa, we play safe and dance a waltz. After a couple of dance numbers start the Konkani masala. That’s the best way to distinguish a Goan wedding from any other community wedding in Mumbai.
Come to a Goan wedding, and you know you’re in for a sumptuous treat! Food and drinks are always the highlight. Initially, food used to be cooked by the family. Gone are those days when the village came together to put together a meal for the guests. Today, it’s a caterer who’s given the task to feed everyone at a wedding.
The last and final tradition is the Porthepon (invitation to the bride’s house). I remember how the entire village would squeeze into a bus that was going to be our ride to the bride’s house. Everyone ate, drank, danced and returned home. However, this is not something you will experience in this city. Once the wedding is done, it’s done. Thanks for coming!