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Catholic Roce - Is it an Extinct Ceremony ?
by Anil D'Souza, Halealve

Jul 30, 2009

The response for my last article ‘Catholic Weddings’ was really encouraging and it made me ask my grandmother about other ceremonies like Roce, and Baptism. The comments and suggestions I received helped me get an insight into customs followed throughout Mangalore. Hope it helped it you too J.Many of my friends now ask me when am I getting married for which I found a reply. I simply answer “Almost 90% work is done only 10 % is remaining”. “Oh good. Who is the Girl”? This is the exact question I would be expecting and I drop my bombshell “That’s the 10 % work remaining”. It helps.

In this article I will write about the most happening ceremony in a catholic wedding, ROCE.I wanted to write about Baptism too but then I thought people hardly have time to read an article of 250 words, how and why would they read a lengthy one? So maybe next time I will write about the Post Wedding ceremony of Baptism depending on how fast the couple isJ.Now it’s a minimum of 9 months after the wedding but who knows in future it may be the next day ,same day or maybe before the wedding .You never know.

I will compare the olden days Roce and the present day Roce.First of all, Roce is a small ceremony prior to the wedding day, where coconut milk is applied to the person getting married. The bath after the roce symbolized his/her last bath as a virgin. Roce in olden and golden days was always in the night. But nowadays to accommodate the fast paced current affairs, it is held in the afternoon or sometimes moments before the nuptials.CHANGE.Barak Obama is for it and so are we.

Coming back to the intricacies of Roce: On the day of the roce, the families of the groom/bride offer a mass to the departed souls of their respective families, in a way asking the souls not to disturb the functionJ.The fun of the olden day Roce starts now. Even though my sister got married just before 4 years, I was amazed by some facts I was about to hear from my grandma. Though we tried to follow many of the rituals, somehow we could not follow all. After coming back from the mass, the neighbors used to come to the “happening” home to render their services. Gentlemen used to help put up the tents (MATAV) and ladies used to do what they know the best. No No Not chit chat, but help in the kitchen J.What is happening now? People go only at the time of the roce, just to eat, drink and dance. Community service is a thing of distant past.Anyways back to the roce, ladies made Sāmbhar powder in a “DAANTE” while they sang

“Kiri kiri Daantyaak mandli pity,

Sargar Dhaadlya cheeti hya Ghara roce mun”

I am sure many people don’t know what this DAANTE is. Even I dint know, then my cousin told me “Yar, that’s the machine which Dharmendra used for Chakki Peesing in Sholay”.I have attached some pics of the “chakki peesing machine”. Who said Hindi movies are hopeless huh?


There is one more thing the ladies made:”KARPO”.Karpo is a mixture of grated coconut and onions. Onions and grated coconut are fried, not so finely ground and dried. This would be later used for fish curry and vegetable. The food then was simple: Rice, fish curry cooked with coconut milk, vegetable and most important of all Warn (Paisam).All these were served on banana leaves making people sit in two lines (PANKTHI).Food was served by the relatives and neighbors. Today’s scenario is nowhere near to the old ceremony. Now there will be two counters, with smartly dressed waiters serving PCM (Pork, Chicken and Mutton).Warn is later served in a bowl.


When the bride/groom went for their bath after the roce, people said prayers and believe me it seems a full rosary of   5 mysteries were said. It’s been ages since I said a full 5 mysteries. I also heard that one more mystery is added recently. This holy part has now been replaced by a big dance floor, DJ and an open bar. Dance is the most important part of today’s roce.Even though I am writing this like a saint, I am not one. I remember the roce of my friend’s sister. The music was foot tapping and we danced like never before and in fact the DJ (an old man) reminded us that it was 3 am. As a token of gratitude, we loaded all his instruments back to his Omni. Hope my friends who are now scattered all over the globe, remember this.


A major change in Roce has creeped in off late. Oil and Roce commanded respect then, but now rotten eggs, tomatoes, bone chilled milk and beer act as replacements. Hope in future, oil and roce are not completely out of the ceremony. There would be a never ending JugulBandhi of Vove and Verse in an olden roce.I will not go deep into this, since there are many great books published on Vove and Verse. I have a few friends and relatives who are experts on Vove. I don’t have any problem for my roce J 


Just a few words on what our catholic functions are famous: Liquor. Liquor in olden days was served by only those who could afford. It was served in something called “VEEDR”. My grandma explained how it looked like and promised me that she would show me one and I am very happy that she did. The picture of the Veedr is shown below.Veedr is a small cylindrical glass which has a capacity of say30 to 40 ml.Liquor was served during dinner. Two men of the family poured the “SORO” in the Veedr first, then into the glass and then handed it to those who wanted a drink. Mind you there were only two glasses; hence the Soro had to be gulped down in a second or two. Bottoms UpJ.A maximum of two servings of liquor were served, unlike today where there are open bars and whiskey, beer, vodka, rum and gin just keep flowing.


Can I end this without a mention of the attire the bride/groom wore during roce? When I asked my mom, she said the bride wore Kirgi Baazu and at the time of the application of roce, the bride wore a skirt blouse or a frock. I am still in search of a photo of Kirgi Baazu.If you have please mail me to anilsouza@gmail.com The men wore a Vaishti or a lungi.But now brides and her maids come out in Shorts which are really short. The day is not far when the groom comes out in underwear and the bride in a bikini. Hope not.

At least 4 of my cousins are lined up for marriage in the next couple of years and others who are still considered not ready for marriage ,though we have attained the govt age of marriage have decided to create an unique mixture for their roce.The contents are copyrighted and cannot be disclosed. Of course so called modernism has creeped in our age old ceremony.Roce comes once in a lifetime and it’s our duty to make it a memorable for the groom and the bride Isn’t it? Some want it traditional; many want it with rotten eggs and beer. So be it so far as we don’t forget a plate of roce amidst the beer !!

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

 

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Comments on this article
Simon Lasrado, BangaloreSaturday, December 05, 2015
I want to know whether groom can attend bride's roce ceremony and participate in anointing the Coconut milk to the groom.Now a days many are breaking traditional Mangalorean customes in Roce ceremony in Mangalore
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Melissa, CanadaMonday, August 26, 2013
I was born and grew up in Canada. This August I got married in a destination wedding in Portugal - and we did the Roce ceremony there!
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Anil Dsouza, HalealveMonday, April 22, 2013
Well, according to the tradition, the couple is not allowed to sit together and even meet each other after the roce. They are supposed to meet only at the nuptials
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Chooki, BangaloreTuesday, February 19, 2013
The article made for interesting read, my concern is will it be okay to have ROCE for the couple together if one is not an astute follower of Mangalorean rituals and doesnt know how to conduct one.Can we follow everything to the letter T except having them seat together to allow both to enjoy the ROCE despite one family not knowing how to conduct a Roce???
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Lidwyn, MumbaiFriday, August 03, 2012
Can roce be applied to the Bride (Indian) and groom (Canadian)on the same bench as they do not know any of the customs and want to have the roce.
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Carol Lobo, MangaloreSaturday, September 25, 2010
I remember the roce of your frend's sister..had a wonderful time) I liked this write up. never knew so many of these traditions. For ur roce, there is no dance. its only the 5 mysteries :D
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Pradeep Kumar, MangaloreThursday, July 29, 2010
Good article to know about catholic marriages. But in this article author has just compared 1960's marriage with present. I dont think it is good comparison. I believe it should be further analysed. How did this ceramony come into its existance?. I am 100% sure not from portugal or roman?? How did this tradition mix with west. Why was this thread or culture still attached when all others are indroctrinated to west?. I think more elaboration needed to make other non konkani-catholics well aware.
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Irene Menezes, MumbaiSaturday, October 03, 2009
I recently wrote in to Mangalore Digest to have some background info about ROCE & PORTHOPON. I would welcome suggestions from your readers as to which is the correct way to conduct the above mentioned traditional events keeping in mind of course we do not have access to people who know the traditional songs to be sung at this ceremony. Also would appreciate what things should be borne in mind for the PORTHOPON. For e.g. exchange of gifts between the families etc. Also besides the ROCE followed by the wedding and PORTHOPON is there any other ceremony? What if the bride does not wish to wear the SADO on the wedding day - can she wear it for the PORTHOPON. I would welcome suggestions. Thanks in advance. Irene Menezes - Mumbai
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victoria R Dsouza, pius nagar, kundapurThursday, August 06, 2009
hey Anil really its a nice article.. keep it up.... & all the best
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Moira, Mangalore/USATuesday, August 04, 2009

Hi Anil, I am glad that you have made an attempt to explain what the Roce Ceremony is & trying to continue the the customs of the Konkan Catholics. We have had several Roce ceremonies at our home & we have tried to keep to continue the traditional ceremonies. It is a pity that the youngsters of today make a mockery of this great tradition. I had visited Bangalore about 15 years ago for my nephew''s roce & was shocked to see eggs, sarpathel & curries put on the groom. It is better not to call it Roce & just do what ever you want & call it a party.

Some of the readers have mentioned the Voje that the tennents or family members brought accompanied by a band from the villages a day or two before the wedding. The Kirgi Bazu that the bride wears. The Manh (respect) of passing a Chembu of water & the Pan Podh(beetle leaf & beetle nuts) to invite the guests for the meal.

There are so many wedding traditions that you might want to research from older family members. Good luck in your search! The picture of the grinding stone was quite nostalgic for me. It was used to grind the roasted rice to make Rice Ladoos.

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Alvina Noronha, Manglore/Mumbai`1Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Hi anil nice article dude, hope to see more from your side
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Natasha, Mumbai/DubaiMonday, August 03, 2009
Hi Anil..Thanks a lot for the information..We youngsters just thought that it was food,dance & drinks.And nothing about our customs/traditions..Hope we keep our tradition and customs alive,V look forward for such articles, so our tradition will not be forgotten.Keep updating us about the other customs.Good Luck!!!!
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Loveina Noronha, Mangalore/BangaloreSunday, August 02, 2009
A good write up.The present fast life is moving away from traditional customs.Would appreciate if you could write an article on dressing of a sado & putting up the flowers in a traditional way for a Manglorean wedding.
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ahalya, mangalore/usaSunday, August 02, 2009
Nice write-up Anil....keep them coming!
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alwyn, canadaSaturday, August 01, 2009
keep up the good work!
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Anil, HalealveSaturday, August 01, 2009
Thakns for all your encouraging comments.Many people seem dissappointed with this article.I would like to confess for the shortcomings. The rituals followed in MAngalore gradually change as they move up towards Kundapur and Goa. Fish curry was the main dish in a roce menu here in Kundapur.Good old cutting tools like Adalo, Koithi , KAnthne are still being used even now.As far as the Snaps of the groom and bride,i thought it would not be nice to post some one elses photos on the net. After i get married i would not mind posting our photos.:) Thanks once again and i would surely try to make it up in my next article.
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Jessy, Karkal |Muscat|OmanSaturday, August 01, 2009
Nice article which reminds us our Roce ceremony.Looking forward to read some more mangloreaan traditions so that we can share them with our kids so that traditions will be continued.Good Luck Anil.
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Sunil Dsouza, Mangalore / DelhiSaturday, August 01, 2009
Nice to know that people still remember their tradition.
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Frank D''Souza, Bendore,Mangalore/BangaloreFriday, July 31, 2009
It is really appreciated that Anil has made an effort to revive old Mangalorean customs for the benefit of the modern generation. I have also attempted to do the same in my lately published novel "The Anonymous Birthright" which is available online on http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/frank-s-d-souza/anonymous-birthright/9781935383543.html. It portrays the life and timnes of Mangaloreans during the middle and late 1800s. Frank D''Souza
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Lawrence Mascarenhas, USASaturday, August 01, 2009
Good attempt to bring out the article about the Roce. I don''t want to disappoint the writer, however, the article lacks all the details of roce ceremony. Is it Veedr or eedre? Karpo or Korpo? In Mangalore, no fish was served for roce dinner - just rice, polov, chono suko, thendle sukka and pickle and vorn. Country liquor (Vakath) was served privately until 1969 due to the prohibition. Yes,Mass was offered to departed in the family(Gharchi Alma,) not because of preventing them from disturbing the function, but because out of respect for the departed. Congratulations on your attempt.
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veena Pereira (Dsouza), ganjimutFriday, July 31, 2009
Nice article. Thanks for sharing it with us. Nice word- chakki peesing. AnywayI  liked this article. Good Luck for ur work.
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Jassica fernandes, Mangalore/KulshekarFriday, July 31, 2009
very nice article anil....i really liked it .
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v.b.frank, mandyaFriday, July 31, 2009
Very nice article Anil, all the best for your future articles too
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Melisa , MangaloreFriday, July 31, 2009
Hey Anil! good work! But I think you have skipped a few important points.I would like to mention the VOJEN ( Offering to ease the burden of the host) What about that?  I still witnessed it for my sister''s as well as for my cousins roce!! Good luck next time!
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ALWIN REGO , kARAMBAR BAJPE Saturday, August 01, 2009
Thanks for this nice article. Keep it up. Protect catholic traditions.
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a.v.a, blore Friday, July 31, 2009
Articles like these are wonderful. The culture of the Mangalorean Catholics is fast dying. Underlying significance of all ceremonies is lost. If the nuns and priests contributed in a small part to make people aware of the religious significance in every ceremony would help in making people aware of things or as you said just soro and dance would be our culture sadly.
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anil, mangaloreFriday, July 31, 2009
Nice article
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jacintha, MangaloreFriday, July 31, 2009
Your article makes ROCE more extinct than it is. There are no details or objective narration of the items, but a mockery. What happens in your home, in your friend circle is not universal practice. Daiji, request to you, please verify the contents before publishing something as a cultural article. Mass to the departed souls? Few superstitious people do this, not an essence of ROCE. The beer, eggs and what-not, are all current infiltrants and not the traditional ROCE. For lack of any respect to culture, few crazy, wealthy and half-mangaloreans have started these practices. Don''t write them down as ROCE rituals. Rubbish.
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Prakash Rebello, anagally,Kundapur/ DubaiFriday, July 31, 2009
Nice article but need more effort & knowledge for such articles.Hope for the best in your future articles.. Anil. Goodluck. One thing we can observe in our traditions, there are slightly changes in practice area wise from mangalore towards North Canara because of social local influence especially in marriage issue in food, dress & language.
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jyothi moras, madanthyarThursday, July 30, 2009
hi Anil its superb article. keep it up. i am looking for your next article..............
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Preethi, MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
gud effort anil..regarding kirgi baazu i think it wont be tough to find the snaps....as in mangalore many brides still wear the kirgi for their Roce..its actually supposed to be saari worn with out palown and a shawl covering worn instead of the palown...usually the saari worn will be brides mom''s sado or darma sado....its amazing to see bride in tht attire with her hands folded to take the blessing of the elders....its nice to see that mangaloreans are trying to bring back their almost lost culture (due to so called modernity)
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Arthur Miranda, ValenciaThursday, July 30, 2009
Hey Anil - Did you have the contents of the VEEDR before you wrote this article ? I dont see the VEEDR anywhere. May be the VEEDR looks like a candle afterwards - good article (smile)
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Nelson Dsouza, Karkala/RiyadhThursday, July 30, 2009
Hello Anil, It is really a good effort from yourside, to atleast recollect few rituals day before the marriage. You have refreshed my Memory of those days in April 1997. Yes I was luck to have if not all, many of the "ROCE" rituals..such as "Gownti Band..pepperere...Dum dum...",the Koithi, Chembu, Vodilanche Besanvu, Vovyo by ladies,the two best friends"dhede" sitting besides me,Invitation to all wado, Garnal sound,Very special "Oil to the ears by mother" , The scenes of special "Hot and cold" bath to me by all th elders and my friends,the all vegetable Dinner. The excitement of getting ready next day..so many things. Yes, we need to revive and continue this grate tradition.
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Sudeep Gonsalves, Mangalore/ USAFriday, July 31, 2009
Anil, Humorous Article... I rarely get to read these kinds of article... Which refresh minds with some humor.Nice Article....
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A.D''Cunah Shenoy, MangaluruFriday, July 31, 2009

Hey Anil, Excellent try to revibrate the current folks about Roce. Roce is a tradition and above all a celebration, a solemn occasion and indeed a joyous moment for all. But for the groom amd bride perhaps it is a sad and joy, tears and laugh after hearing the vovyos. Also, as the women folks sing there happens to be a competition/rivalry in singing the meaningful vovyos. Many readers have mentioned about koithi, koytho, matov, etc. another thing is whenever an invitee walks in there is also respecting that individual with offering of Udahk(Water) in a chembu and panpod(beetle leaves, arecanut, etc)

These are traditions and indeed meaningful. Hope you have a nice Roce and wear "Urmal", (head gear) on your weddding day. And dont forget the Dhedo with nice umbrella not for the rain but for the shade of the burning sun while coming from "Rasper" Have also Dukra mass and and sanna and eat on a "pankonth" with banana leaves and make sure kadi and saar does not flow to the floor from the banana leave.

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Virgilia, Bajpe/mloreFriday, July 31, 2009
Hey Anil...this article is simply amazin....waiting to see your  roce....
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Thomas D''Mello, KundapurThursday, July 30, 2009
Anil, I repeat, DON''T GET MARRIED IN UK WHILE U DO YOUR MBA. I NEED TO ATTEND YOUR ROCE IN KUNDAPUR!! A very good humerous article. For Kirgi Baju, there were no household cameras in those days. So no one will be able to produce a picture i suppose.
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wilson moras, madanthyarThursday, July 30, 2009
It is a superb article from Anil, i met Anil once in train. That was wonderful journey with him.
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malita, nekkare / kuwaitThursday, July 30, 2009
amazing..... i really like your writing....
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Raidon , MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
hey anil , raidon here .. too good article .. u dint loose ur charm and PJ s even after engineering .. not to mention i read all ur articles .. good to know that a friend of mine is writing articles with good PJs in Daiji .. be in touch ..
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Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney-AustraliaThursday, July 30, 2009
Pretty ordinary effort by the author. Mention of the so many other related rituals and ceremonies of the Roce are missing. Like, where is the picture of the bridegroom or bride sitting on the bench along with their best men and/or maids when the actual roce is being conducted, where is the picture that surrounds the bridegroom or bride when the `Vovios` are being sung by the ladies, and these days by men as well? Where is the picture and mention of the famous tradition of breaking the coconuts by close relatives before the actual extraction of the coconut milk? The`Gurkar` or in the present days, MC, plays an important role at this function and no mention of it also. Where is the picture of the popular `Vaan` and `Ghatno`, the traditional stone grinder? Other pictures and mention of the good old cutting tools used during the occasion like `Kanthne`, Adalo` Koitho`, Koithi, etc. would have added extra glamour. The tradition of bringing the Vojen as mentioned by Reyan is also coming back and where is the mention of it? All in all, a half-hearted effort. Sorry Anil.
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Lavina , Karkala / MumbaiThursday, July 30, 2009
Amazing article.....I hope the current and the future generation keep up our traditions alive.
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Vineeta, MumbaiThursday, July 30, 2009
Four of your cousins ready for marriage haa ??? :) anyway nice article.. and i have seen the kirgi baazu. One of my relatives had worn it for her roce.
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Prakash, UdupiThursday, July 30, 2009
You can view the photos of old mangalorean marriages v/s present ,by browsing weblink http://sairikzai.com/rccompare.asp
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Rosy D''souza, Bajpe, MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil, It is a very good article. Mostly today's generation dont know all these things about the traditional roce. But I feel there are some facts missing in your article. The country band plays a most important role. Also there is Vojem (like voluntarily bringing in a procession the necessary items like rice, vegetables, coconut, etc.. by the immediate relatives on the previous night of the roce). Also regarding food, instead of fish curry with coconut milk, it is always kuvalyaso polov (a tasty curry made from ash pumpkin) along with pickle, keli sukem (banana sukka) and chane suke (black chana sukka) is a speciality for the function in the village area. Served in banana leaf, the food itself was very tempting. If it is a grooms house, then after the roce and dinner, preparations for the next days wedding lunch starts during the night. Some of the men are helping to slaughter the pig and chicken and to clean it while others trying to sing and dance along with the band to keep them entertaining during the night. The ladies part is to cut all the required vegetable, onions, peel the garlic, grind the masala, etc. By morning, the wedding food was ready. After all it is a totally cheerful atmosphere.
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Eulalia D''Souza, Bijai / MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
Dear Anil, this is a lovely write up. Most of what you have written is correct about Roce of today''s Mangaloreans...!! You know there used to be something called " Vojem " which is like neighbours, wado people n relatives would bring things for roce cooking. Your granma would tell you that too. In today''s roce that has come as added value & professional & you see same people, same " Dukor..!!" being brought as " Vojem" for almost every roce. It is now a business.. You have put in enormous efforts to gather information, many congratulations to you. And I wish you luck to get a Mangalorean Bride ..Hi Hi ...!!
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Arun, bajpe/dubaiThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi anil nice article but you didnt mention about voje(bringing vegetables,fruits,rice mudo,coconut,..in procession by relatives).  It was there in my roce
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Shanthi, Mangalore/CanadaThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi anil, looking forward for your roce to be celebrated in the above mentioned way.
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Juliet Vas, Thursday, July 30, 2009
Its nice article..
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Sheethal, Mangalore / DubaiThursday, July 30, 2009
Nice one Anil.... Keep up the good work... :-)
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Mathias Ivan , Ullal/DohaThursday, July 30, 2009
Nice article, is roce just a symbolic or religious one? If you got Kirgi Baazu photogorgraph please post it in Daijiworld.
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Jossie, mysoreThursday, July 30, 2009
My dear Anil, It is a very good Article to remind the people of their culture and traditions. Keep up the good work and encourage many people to work for upkeeping of the traditions.
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GRACY MASCARENHAS, Muscat, M''LOREThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil! After reading this article,now i am looking forward to c ur Rose,Wedding & then the Baptism.I hope you will be celebrating the same way as published in this article. Good luck!!!
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GRACY MASCARENHAS, Muscat, M''LOREThursday, July 30, 2009
Good Article. Reminds the olden days Roce ceremony. It''s good for the new generation to follow if they have interest. V look forward such articles, so our tradition will not be forgotten.
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judith, mumbaiThursday, July 30, 2009
Dear Anil, Very well written because of this fast and shortcut life we are moving away from our traditional customs. I hope we keep our tradition and customs alive, but I do not know how?
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Jess, MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
Very nice article Anil, all the best for your future articles too.
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Reyan, FarwaniaThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil nice article as usual, but you did not mention about VOJEN.. the different types of vegetables, rice, coconut, acrenut and Pork too!!
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Anil Pinto, Bannur,Puttur/SharjahThursday, July 30, 2009
Dear Anil..this is really good article...u just keep uploading good luck
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Veera Monteiro, Bajpe, Doha/QatarThursday, July 30, 2009
Good article Anil but you could have published in order i.e roce, wedding and then baptism. I am waiting for your next....
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Sharmila, Mangalore.Thursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil,Good One Yaar,,Surely U will get Married soon. All the best.
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Hazel Lobo, Kadri - BombayThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil, As usual your article has taken us down memory lane. Good write up. Looking forward to reading more articles. Good Luck
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Jenifer, MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
No offence Beeduuuu ! You just keep unfolding... and capture us readers into your magic ! Good luck !
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Anil Pinto, Vamanjoor (USA)Thursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil, Really liked your article,are you good at doing MC?I am getting married and hard to find mc...if you are interested then we can celebrate my roce in a olden style..hahaha..let me know.Here is my email anilwpinto79@gmail.com
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Sunil , BahrainThursday, July 30, 2009
Good one!!
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Anil, KundapurThursday, July 30, 2009
Jeniffer, I have the photos of the veedr,which somehow have not been attached. NExt article , whatever I write I will attach the photos.:)
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Jenifer, MangaloreThursday, July 30, 2009
Hi Anil... Nice article, good memories. But, where have you hidden the Veedr ??? Copy right.. ehh ?
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