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The Ceremony of Roce in Mangalore 

 


The literal meaning of 'Roce' is Juice. ROCE is a traditional ceremony of
anointing the bride and groom with coconut juice and oil, in their
respective 'MOTTOV' - a pendal erected in the yard of the house, out of
materials such as arecanut palms, dried woven coconut palm leaves and
decorated with green 'Inda Talle' - leaves of another type of palm.

'ROCE' is usually conducted on the previous evening of the wedding and
symbolised purification of the person in preparation for the most important
event of his/her life - The Wedding. Therefore, the ceremonial bath that
follows the anointment - supposedly the last bath as a spinster/bachelor -
is also very important part of 'Roce'.

The head of the family, traditionally dressed in a 'Toddop' (dhoto),
'Kutaon (Kurta) and 'Shelo' (Shawl) welcomes the guests (usually relatives,
friends and people of his 'Vaddo' - locality) with the traditional
'Pann-Podd-Udak' (combination of tobacco, lime, Arecanut and paan leaves) -
people used to chew, - arranged in a brass plate along with water, in a
small copper pot - 'Chembu'

The bride wears 'Kirgi' - (mother's 'Sado' - traditional wedding saree -
wrapped around her waist to form a long skirt), 'Bazu' (a blouse) and a
traditional Shawl - 'Vole'.

After prayers are said and the Bride is blessed by all the elders gathered
in the 'Mottov' (in front of the altar), the bride is then escorted to be
seated on a bench along with her bride's maids. Women folk then surround
her and sing 'Vovyos' (traditional couplets) as she is anointed by the
mother and other elders of the family.

These 'Vovyo' invoke God's blessings, remind the bride of the love and
sacrifices of her parents, give advice, and also indulge in some
good-humoured teasing.

When society was rural based, there was also a custom called 'Vojem'.
Just before 'Roce', the uncles of the bride (from both sides - 'Maams' and
'Bappus') used to ceremoniously (in procession accompanied by a brass band)
bring to the 'Mottov' their contribution/offerings 'Vojem' (their share of
the burden - 'Vojem' means burden) - usually meat (live pigs and goats),
fruits, grains and vegetables required for the festivities.

These customs are still being followed in our home town/villages. The
modern day city folk have today incorporated a few of these, in keeping with
these meaningful traditions.