Socializing In Goa
Most of Goa's Hindus are theists and
generally observe family customs and religious ceremonies. The life of
the Hindu centers round customary rituals and ceremonies or sacrament (samskaras).
Perhaps the prominent of these customary rituals relate to: Birth,
thread-girding, marriage, pregnancy and death.
It is considered a privilege of the newly married wife to go her
parents' house for her first confinement and expenses are borne by her
parents. The first ritual in an infant's life takes place on the night
of the 6th day when a feast is organized: it is believed that the
Goddess of Fate comes to the child and writes its fate on its forehead
on that day. The naming ceremony or 'Barse' is on the 12th day if a girl
or the 13th day if a boy. The first hair-cutting ceremony is known as
the 'Chaula'. However, in the case of the Brahmins, this ritual is
combined with the 'Upanayana', (thread-girding), ceremony.
The death ceremonies among Hindus irrespective of caste are almost the
same. The dead are invariably cremated but dead children under 8 years
of age who are buried. All members of the household take purificatory
baths on the 10th day after death; there are other ceremonies on the
11th., 12th and 13th day after death the last of which after a 'shraddha'
is performed in the name of the dead, relatives and friends are invited
for a meal. Generally speaking the Hindu Goan is a religious person who
is keen on observing his religious duties especially in the case of the
orthodox Brahmin families. Like in other Parts of India especially in
the south astrologers are consulted before taking up any important work,
marriage alliances etc.
the case of the Christians,-their religious rites are governed by the
Canon and Liturgical Laws of the Roman Catholic Church on a worldwide
basis. In Goa, the administrative powers are vested in the Apostolic
Administrator of Goa who has his headquarters in Panaji. Under him is
the Vicar General who, in turn, is assisted by priests who look after
parish churches and chapels. The Apostolic administrator of Goa reports
directly to the Pope in Rome, Italy.
Until the middle of the 19 th century, Roman Catholic priests from Goa
belonged to the Brahmin and Charddo Christians but during subsequent
years, this practice started to decline. The Christians have seven major
sacraments viz.: Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Eucharist,
Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, Matrimony.
Among these seven, the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony are
considered important among all the Christians. Christians bury their
dead and are very concerned about the presence of priest in the case of
a person who may be in danger of imminent death: evidently, the purpose
of this is try and get the dying a person to confess to the priest all
his sins committed during his life time so that the priest- using the
powers given to him by Christ gives the dying person absolution and
forgives him, in the name of God. For persons unable. to make this
confession say, due to unconsciousness the priest performs the Sacrement
of Extreme Unction: this sacrament involves the priest annointing the
vital senses of the dying man with a specially blessed oil and prays to
God to forgive the dying man for all his sins that may have been
committed during his lifetime. During the burial ceremony, also, the
priest is present and performs religious ceremonies; traditionally,
black clothes are worn as a mark of mourning for the departed soul.
Goan Hindus, like Hindus in other parts of India, followed the Joint
Family System which, during the closing stages of the 20th century seems
to be breaking away. In the case of Goa, this breaking-away could be due
to several young persons migrating to other places like Bombay. This
joint family system was also prevalent among the Catholics, especially
in days gone by. However, separation took place when young married
couples choose to do so.
Under the Portuguese Civil Code, monogamy applied to everyone
irrespective of religion (Hindus, Christians, Muslims, etc.).
to Liberation, inter-caste and inter-religious marriages tended to be
low but with better educational facilities, greater job opportunities
for women and cultural meets — after Liberation — brought in a tendency
for young people to select their respective life-partners. However, this
does not mean that parental selection of brides and bridegrooms has been
given discarded since in several families (Christian and Hindus alike),
especially in the rural areas and even the tradition-bound ones, parents
still do make the final selection and "arrange" marriage alliances.
Widow remarriage is permitted in Goa society but generally speaking
widows in the past had been looked down upon with contempt if they
remarried and widows of this type were considered as a 'Kapad nesleti
In respect of divorce, both males and females had the right to divorce
under the Common Law made applicable to all Goans during the Portuguese
regime. However, except in the case of mental illness, leprosy etc.,
divorce was rarely resorted to. Also, it was only in very rare cases
that a wife sought a divorce on grounds of infidelity of husband.
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