Magalorean Catholic WeddingThe city of Mangalore is situated in the south western part of India. The city is distinct from others of its kind. Even today, many of its cultures and traditions are endemic and not found anywhere else. The city can be called a melting pot of diverse cultures, oriental and western, that lends to it its basic character. Despite being a result of western influence, the culture of Mangalorean Catholics still retain many of the Indian customs and practices.
A major ingredient of Mangalorean culture is the remnant of the colonial days when the region came under the influence of the Europeans. From the days of Vasco da Gama, the region has seen the assimilation of European culture into its own. The result is an amalgamation of sorts. The region is home to some of India’s most ancient converted Catholics. A large portion of the Mangalorean population consists of Catholic Christians. These are indigenous people who were converted by the European settlers. Their culture has western affinities while at the same time, maintaining the Indianness. The unique character is easily visible at Catholic weddings and other ceremonies. Mangalorean catholic weddings are distinct.
A day before the wedding is scheduled to take place, a customary ceremony is arranged where the groom/the bride takes the last bath. The ceremony is called Roce. The bath is not the usual one as oil, honey, spices and a number of other ingredients are used in the process. Previously, the weddings took place over 10 days. With the passage of time, most weddings now conclude within 2 days. The Roce ceremony takes place on the evening for the bride and on the morning of the day of the wedding for the groom. The yezman initiates the ceremony and the relatives and elders follows in bathing the married man/woman. A staple in Mangalorean catholic weddings is the Voviyo. These are songs that are sung by the womenfolk on the day of the wedding. But the singing may start several days before the actual wedding.
The main wedding can take place in a church or any other place in the presence of a priest. The customs and traditions are similar to those followed in Portugal. The wedding begins and ends with a prayer to the Lord in the presence of guests. Like every other wedding, food, dance and merrymaking are staples in Mangalorean Catholic weddings. The celebrations and feasting begins few days before the wedding. A day after the wedding, a grand feast is arranged.
On this occasion, friends and relatives convey their best wishes to the newlywed couple and gather for a meal. The menu mostly consists of authentic Mangalorean cuisines and sea foods. Most of the dishes also borrow heavily from the Europeans. The wedding comes to a close when the group waves the newlywed couple goodbye. The wedding comes to a close after this but for the couple, their life has just begun. Mangalorean Catholic weddings reflect the rich culture that exists in the Christian community of the city.