by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas
As in other parts of Bardez, April-May is the month of feasts and
weddings in Saligao. I will dwell to-day on the bangle-wearing ceremony among Christians and Hindus.
The custom in olden times in Saligao demanded that the girl wear the
best bangles possible from the usual bangle-seller in the native village
known as " "Voar"(volar) or " Kankonkar" with a choice of her favourite
But a special bangle-wearing ceremony that is held only once in her life time for the bride is called CHUDDO. The bangle symbolises married life for the bride, as they are broken only on her dead husband's coffin.
This " Chuddo" among some Saligao Christians consists of a set of
fifteen glass bangles of green, brown and yellow colours on each wrist. These are specially in some villages of Bardez. In Moira it is 13 or 15 bangles and the colour is the same as in Saligao.
Among others, the bangles are of seven colours of the rainbow. This ceremony is performed on the eve of the marriage or a day or two before it.
The Chuddo is performed at the house of the maternal uncle of the bride in the normal course.
The bride-to-be is bedecked in flowers and these bangles are put on her by hthe bangle-seller. Other relatives and those present at the ceremony are also given by him a pair or more of their choice, in the house. There aare songs sung during this time, which are typical of and appropriate to the occasion and offering of money in token of blessings are put in a tray placed before the bangle seller.The money collected thus is taken by him over and above the payment that he gets for the work done.
There are women who are experts in the art of extemporisation in the
matter of songs. They engage themselves in singing in parables and pointed metephor in the form of ' Zotis', the virtues of the bride and the future groom as well as throwing an aside or taunt to them and other home people, vis-a-vis relatives and would be relatives. There is competition in song like the "Chand" of the Punjabis, or like "Qawali" in Urdu, one woman vying with the other to pay tributes in vivid metephor or taunt in crisp, devastating phrases sung in rhythm, the nearest relatives of the bride or the groom.
In some villages there is the following custom which we don't see in Saligao, but for curiosity sake let us hear.
After the ceremony at the maternal uncle's, the said uncle sends his niece home with a 'vojem'( a parcel of sweet-meats in a big special-type of bamboo-woven basket) containing sweetmeats, bananas, bread, twelve each in number. This system is known as " parkund", which means food bedecked with flowers, as she has a banquet-type food at his house also, with flowers worn in her hair by the bride- to- be and the relatives as a sign of rejoicing.
The " piece-de-resistance" of this function is a lunch or dinner on the day of the first banns normally, at her maternal uncle's place.
Later, similar " porkund" calls without the festive bangle-wearing are made when other relatives invite her at their place for lunch or dinner of farewell. She receives a special bunch of flowers from her uncle and others on this occasion.
Even if the parents of the bride do not happen to be on speaking terms with the said uncle or relatives, she has to go and get at least water from their well. If they have no well or it is not possible to get water from there, then some water at least has to be taken from their house by the bride.
Meanwhile, relatives visit the two houses, of the bride and of the groom, with flowers etc. Special" Khole",( as they say in Salcete) cakes made of rice-flour stuffed with shredded coconut mixed with jaggery, cupped into a wrapping of jack-fruit-tree leaves and pinned by a thin stick-pin, baked whole( Pudde, in Saligao), are served at the maternal uncle's. Or it may be " mankeo", something like dosas stuffed with coconut-shredding and jaggery.
Now-a-days the bride- to- be is taken to Mapuca to the bangles'- seller
where he is paid his sum after the wearing of bangle ceremony is done. Another information I got is that the bangle- wearing ceremony is now held in the home of the bride itself. And there are those who do not have this ceremony at all.
After a certain period has elapsed after the nuptials, the bangles, in Saligao, are then tied and kept at the foot of the image of Mae de Deus in the nave of the Church.
There is also a" Chuddo" ceremony among Hindus of Goa and Saligao is no exception. It is performed at the bride's place though conducted by the maternal uncle like the practice among the Christians.In the old days it was done in a big " matov"( pandal or pavillion)set up in front of the bride's house. On this day the bride receives gifts from relatives. She gets the ceremonial bangles, 8 to 9 in number on her right wrist and 7 to 8 in number on her left wrist. The glass bangles are in green colours among some, like the Christians, and of rainbow colours among others.
Photos: The myriad bangles, a set of 17 on each wrist - the bangle-seller (in pix) said - are to be worn by the bride-to-be in the same sequence two days before the marriage. The set of red bangles, 6 on each wrist, are worn by the bride after her wedding day. Blue bangles are not worn. All photos taken at the shop of the bangle-seller, Vasco-da-Gama market, Goa.
References; GOMES, Olivinho J.F., in "Village Goa" pp. 135-137 ; BRAGANZA, Alfred, " The Discovery Of Goa", p.43 ; Curchorcar, Chandracanta & Mother, Courtesy of, Chandor , in Gomes, Olivinho, J.F. " Village life" Op. Cit.,p. 137. From [Goanet] Old Wedding Customs in Saligao - Chuddo, Sat, 20 Apr 2002.