TRADITIONS AT A GOAN HINDU WEDDING CELEBRATION

TRADITIONS AT A GOAN HINDU WEDDING CELEBRATION

Traditional Indian weddings are known to be elaborate affairs with a number of rituals. Goan Hindu weddings, too, involve a variety of ceremonies, depending on the community the couple belongs to. Some may choose to avoid certain rituals, while others stick with tradition.

Ahead of the wedding, families usually have a vagdan or sakhar puda. This is an engagement ceremony where rings may be exchanged by the couple to confirm the marriage arrangement between both families. Traditionally, some sugar is given too, but more contemporary celebrations might include an array of sweets and a sari for the bride.

Ganesh puja is an important part of any occasion in Goan Hindu families. As the remover of obstacles, the God of beginnings and granter of protection and success, he is beloved across Goa and invoked before wedding ceremonies as well. The first wedding invitation is offered to him for blessings before the rest are sent out. Most invitations will include an image of Lord Ganesha and a Ganpati mantra as well.

Many families also offer a puja to their family deity or kuldevta as part of the wedding festivities. The main ceremonies at a Goan Hindu wedding are the haldi and reception. As part of these, there are many traditions followed, varying according to community or caste.

Ahead of the haldi ceremony is the chuddo or bangle ceremony, a tradition that has been absorbed by the Goan Christian community as well. Delicate green glass bangles are placed on the bride’s hands, interspersed with gold bangles.

Dielle D'Souza

Dielle D'Souza

BoaGoa

 Payals, earrings and other ornaments are also worn by the bride. Traditionally, the ceremony is led by the bride’s maternal uncle and she may receive gifts from relatives.

These bangles are said to represent married life and many women wear at least one or two bangles throughout their marriage.

The haldi ceremony combines auspiciousness, skincare and fun, all rolled into one. Attended only by family and close friends, it’s a time when the bride and groom can relax, spend quality time with their loved ones and let their hair down before the wedding. The special mixture of haldi, milk and sometimes sandalwood and other ingredients is considered sacred, keeping away the evil eye and ushering in a life of prosperity.

In addition, turmeric is a natural beauty treatment for glowing skin thanks to its exfoliating and cleansing properties. This tradition too has carried over to Goan Christian communities, where they celebrate the ros, with coconut milk instead of turmeric.


Contemporary Goan Hindu weddings often combine the haldi ceremony with the mehendi and sangeet celebrations. Intricate henna designs are drawn on the bride’s hands and those of other female relatives and friends; the deeper the colour, the more auspicious.

 

There’s singing, dancing and merrymaking, with delicious food all around.

The wedding day is designed around the muhurat or the auspicious time, the exact moment when the couple is married. A number of traditions are followed throughout the day. Important ones include a puja of Shiva and Parvati, as a couple the newlyweds should model themselves after. The groom ties a mangalsutra around his bride’s neck, a symbol of the union of their souls and a promise to stay together forever.

During the vivah-home or marriage rite, the couple performs the saptapadi or seven steps during which they make vows to each other, symbolised by the knot tying their garments together. The marriage is thus solemnised and the duo garland each other as unbroken rice grains representing their long future together are showered over them.

It is followed by the reception involving a lavish meal – celebrations in temple precincts are strictly vegetarian, while those at other venues include non-vegetarian food as well. It’s the couple’s first public appearance as husband and wife, and a time to receive gifts, accept wishes from friends and obtain blessings from older guests of both families.

After the celebrations, the couple enters their new home as the bride turns over a small pot of rice grains at the threshold. Some traditional Goan celebrations include a naming ceremony as well, where the bride may take on a new name given by her husband.

Celebrations come to a close on the final day, when the couple returns to the bride’s home with the groom’s family for a meal together.

How To Raise an Awesome Wedding Toast

How To Raise an Awesome Wedding Toast

Being chosen by the bridal couple to raise the toast on their wedding day is a very special honour that fills one with excitement. For some, however, it can be a real nerve-racking prospect once you realise you must deliver a heartfelt speech to a huge crowd; on one of the most important days of their lives.

We at BoaGoa, have come together with some suggestions to make the speech writing and toasting just a little bit easier.

Ashley Dias

Ashley Dias

BoaGoa

Get a Head Start

Start preparing the speech a good 2-3 weeks in advance. This gives you enough time to ensure that you have all your facts in place. For instance, the wedding guests would love to know how the couple first met or how the groom proposed to the bride (or vice versa).

Getting the speech ready early would give you time to practice so that the speech feels natural on the day of the wedding. Do not hesitate to have a few friends proofread the speech and give you any tips or suggestions that they might have. Practice in front of a mirror or on camera, so that you know how to pace out the speech and help you be more confident.

Be Yourself

If you aren’t inherently a person who jokes a lot, avoid attempting multiple jokes. Play to your strengths; the speech could be emotional, funny, sweet or if you are good at singing or composing a poem and it is a talent appreciated by the couple, use those skills to share your feelings with everyone.

As quoted by Roy T Bennett:

“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.”

Content: Start – Middle – End

Structure the content of the speech into three parts so you can cover most of the aspects of a great speech.
A good way to start would be to address the guests and welcome them to be
a part of the celebration. A handy joke would be a good ice breaker before you proceed with an introduction of yourself and your relationship with the couple (remember, this is the couple’s special day, so the guests want to hear more about them rather than your accolades). Express your emotions to be given the honour to raise the toast. If you have a nice story on why you believe you were chosen to raise the toast do share it with the audience.

Focus the next section of the speech on the newlyweds. Let everyone know why you believe they bring out the best in each other and belong together. The stories of how they met, proposed, fell in love and even your fondest memory with the couple are good candidates to showcase why they make a terrific couple.
You can even whip out a humorous joke about a quirky behaviour or habit of the bride/groom or the couple together and how the significant other would cope with it.

Closeout the speech by offering advice and well wishes to the couple. Thank the bridal couple, their parents, siblings, and all the guests in attendance for being a part of the special occasion. Ask that everyone enjoy themselves and share in the bliss of the new bride and groom. If possible, end with a good joke to leave a smile with the married couple and the guests.

Toast to the Couple, Don’t Roast them.

This is the day of the bridal couple, and the guests have come together to celebrate them and to be a part of their happiness. Hence it would be well appreciated to refrain from embarrassing the couple with inappropriate jokes, bringing up past relationships, unnecessarily swearing, and by being drunk. Stay classy and every word you say should be focused on making the couple smile with gratitude and nostalgia.

Keep the speech short and sweet.

The speech should ideally be around 3-4 minutes long. This would give you enough time to engage the audience and take them through the journey about the bridal couple that you want them to experience.

Speak slowly and deliberately; it’s easy to get carried away and go a little too fast for the guests to comprehend. Look directly at the couple when addressing them and don’t forget that you’re speaking to everyone in the vicinity. Make eye contact and smile at the guests as you take them on this journey.

Jot down the notes.

Keep a note of the important points you would like to cover during the speech. It’s always better to have it written on a piece of paper or note cards rather than on the phone, as the phone might ring or need to be unlocked causing an awkward interruption.


The notes should only be used if you draw a blank or forget the next part; try to keep your eyes on the bridal couple or the audience for most of the speech to keep them engaged.

Be Calm and Composed.

It’s always a good approach to talk to the MC before the reception so that you have a good idea of when you are expected to speak. When the moment approaches, take a few deep breaths and remember that you are well-rehearsed and have it under control.

If you believe that a drink or two would help you calm the nerves, feel free to have some. However, refrain from drinking too much before the toast as you want to be in control and focused during the speech. Remember that you do have your notes in case you blank out.

Raise your Glass to Toast to the Wedding

Once you have completed the speech, don’t forget to toast. Clink your glass with the bridal couple and ask everyone to raise their glasses to honour the newlyweds. Cheers!!!