Rites and rituals of a traditional Goan wedding
Konkani novelist Bonaventure D’Pietro had his first docu-novel translated into English. The book, titled ‘Forever Yours’, explores the traditions surrounding a Catholic wedding. Through his writings, Bonaventure paints a vivid picture of the days of yore
A Goan Catholic weddingin all its traditional glory is interlaced with rituals, right from the moment a couple decides to wed to the time the families are united as one. In earlier times, every ritual involved was carried out with utmost care and belief; nowadays, even if certain rituals are followed, not many know the true meaning and intent behind them. Bonaventure Peter Fernandes, popularly known as Bonaventure D'Pietro in the world of Konkani literature, music and theatre, had earlier written the Konkani novel ‘Sankoll’ (2013, Publisher: Dalgado Konknni Akademi), which brought together the different traditions a wedding of yore entailed. That book has now been translated to English by Willy Goes. ‘Forever Yours’, as it is now called, has been published by Goa 1556 in association with My Village Anjuna.
‘Forever Yours’ revolves around the family life of Joao Mestri, his four daughters and one son as they get married and settle down in life. A docu-novel, the book takes you back to the days when the bullock cart was the only form of transportation and numerous social customs were an intricate part of every Goan wedding. D'Pietro puts forward the history of the traditional Goan Catholic wedding and its gradual transformation to the modern day wedding.
"In earlier days, weddings in Goa were grand; preparations would start a month in advance. Now it is just a three-day event. This book will give youngsters some insight into what they are missing. It is because ‘Sankoll’ received such a great response that I decided to translate it into English with Willy Goes. It took me three years to complete my research for this book and I have covered the traditions of seven talukas of Goa in it,” says Bonaventure, from Anjuna.
Born in 1942, Bonaventureis the first Catholic writer to win the Konkani Bhasha Mandal Award, which he did in 1972 for his novel 'Kallea Vistidachi Choli'. He is an admirer of Reginald Fernandes’s works and Perry Mason detective fiction. His first novelette, 'Soitanacho Ghutt' (1958) was penned by him when he was just 15. He was titled the 'Goan James Hadley Chase' of Roman Konkani by the late Alfred Rose for his style of writing suspense thriller novels in the late 70s. In a span of almost six decades, he has written award winning novels and countless articles for various Roman Konkani magazines.
Wilfred Eusebio Goes, the translator, works as an Assistant Professor, Applied Arts,Goa College of Art, Panjim and has written seven Konkani books and one English book till date. He is also a recipient of several literary awards. ‘Forever Yours’ is very easy to understand and the Konkani phrases and words have been retained to explain the true meaning of various traditions. “An important part of the wedding were the ‘Zoti’ or traditional ‘vers’ or songs that were sung during the wedding rituals. We’ve recorded these songs on the CD which is available with the book,” says Bonaventure, who is the father of three musicians.
The CD has songs that are sung for ‘Vodde Bhaztana’, ‘Chuddo Ghaltana’, ‘Ros Laitana’, ‘Udok nhanoitana’, ‘Nouro vokol nhestana’, ‘Vor ghuen vetana’, ‘Vor gharan pautoch’, ‘Te Deum’, ‘Xim Palltana’ and ‘Kazarachi Saud’. Very minute details about each tradition have been documented in the book for those who missed out on learning these from their grandparents.
Bonaventure has already started working on his autobiography, ‘Vattleachea Avazan…’. “I was the youngest in the family, after four sisters, and my father couldn’t believe that he finally had a son. When he saw me, he didn’t know how to express his joy. He wanted to burst crackers but since the store was far away, he rattled a silver spoon against a copper plate to convey the good news. That is the title of the book,” says Bonaventure.
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