A Peek Inside the Traditional Mangalorean Catholic Wedding

Celebrate Catholics April 6, 2018 No Comments

A Peek Inside the Traditional Mangalorean Catholic Wedding

Indian weddings are fun, grand, and completely awesome; however, nothing rivals the simple beauty and old-world charm of a Catholic wedding. From the solemn wedding ceremony to the post-wedding dance and frolic, Catholic weddings make news for all the right reasons. Let’s take a peek inside a traditional Mangalorean Catholic wedding.

While a typical Roman Catholic wedding includes the Seven Sacraments such as Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony, Mangalorean Catholic weddings are a tad more Indian in traditions and customs. A Mangalorean wedding begins with the ceremony of the “roce” or “ros.”

The ceremony of “roce” generally takes place one day prior to the wedding, and it is arguably the most important traditional custom for Mangalorean Catholics. This ritual celebrates the last day of the virginity of the bride and groom. During this ceremony, both bride and groom are anointed with “roce,” which is a combination of coconut milk and coconut oil. During application of the roce on the heads of the groom and bride, a cross is inscribed on their foreheads. The ceremony concludes after the bride and groom take a hot water bath. Roce is the symbol of purity just like coconut milk, which is white.


Image Source: coconutoilpost

As part of the tradition, Mangalorean brides-to-be adorn a “kirgi,” which is also known as “Khirgi Bhaju,” at the roce ceremony. This kirgi may be the bride’s mother’s own wedding saree (which is also known as the saddo saree) that is wrapped around the waist. A plain cotton blouse, called the “baazu” is also worn. What’s more, beautiful flowers adorn the hair. Typically, the bride-to-be also wears her mother’s jewellery during this ceremony.

In accordance with Mangalorean traditions, the guests who attend the roce ceremony are always welcomed by the hosts at the central entry of the “mattov” or pandal with a plateful of areca nuts and betel leaves. During the ceremony, elders sing traditional Konkani songs, which are also known as “vovios.” At the conclusion of the ceremony, the elders bless the entire jewellery set and collection of flowers to be worn on the wedding day.

Following the arrival of the bride and groom at the church, the best man of the groom opens the door for him, and the bridesmaids perform the same gesture for the bride. Then, the best man warmly welcomes the bride with a hug and gives her the bouquet. Next up is the nuptial mass.

As per traditions, the father walks the bride along the aisle to give her away to the groom. This tradition is symbolic of God giving away Eve to Adam.

Generally, Mangalorean brides wear a white gown on their wedding day and then later adorn a saree called the saddo. This is typical of all Mangalorean weddings.

After the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, both bride and groom arrive at the reception venue accompanied by their families. After this, the toast is raised to the newlyweds, which is an important part of Catholic weddings.

Following this, the floor is opened to the wedded couple for their first dance. The invitees then join the couple waltzing and jiving to popular English and Konkani songs. Then, there is the lavish buffet and departure of the guests upon wishing the newlyweds.

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