The Roce Ceremony

In India, there are various traditions celebrated before the wedding day. In this post I will be explaining about one such tradition celebrated in the Mangalorean/Goan Catholic Community.

Roce Ceremony

Before we begin, I would like to give a short description about the Mangalorean Catholics and Goan Catholics.

Mangalorean Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Roman Catholics following the Latin Rite from the Mangalore Diocese (erstwhile South Canara district) on the southwestern coast of Karnataka, India. They are a Konkani people and speak the Konkani language. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Mangalorean Bride & Groom

The Goan Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Roman Catholics and their descendants from the state of Goa, located on the west coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language. Portuguese seafarers arrived in Goa in 1510, and Catholic missionary activities soon followed, as Pope Nicholas V had enacted the Papal bull Romanus Pontifex in 1455, which granted the patronage of the propagation of the Christian faith in Asia. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Goan Weddings

Now back to the Roce Ceremony. It is the most important ceremony before the wedding.

Roce (also spelled as Ros) actually means juice. In this ceremony coconut milk is used. ROCE is a traditional ceremony of anointing the bride and groom with coconut juice and oil and thereafter giving them a hot water bath. Roce symbolizes purity, just like the white coconut milk. Roce ceremony symbolises the last day of the bride/groom as a single/unmarried person. This signifies the last bath that the bride or the groom will be taking in their bachelorhood/spinsterhood. It signifies a shift or change to married life.

Roce ceremony is usually held at the respective bride/the groom’s house. It is conducted the previous evening of the wedding. With the ceremony of ’roce’ the wedding celebration really begins. Roce ceremony is usually followed by lunch or dinner which is also called as “Rosache Jevon” (Jevon means lunch/dinner).

Roce Ceremony
People Getting Ready For The Rosache Jevon After The Roce Ceremony

In the city, people usually have this ceremony on their building or house terrace or in some community halls. Only some close family members and friends are invited for this ceremony depending on the place and how much crowd it can accomodate. Mostly all the customs are not followed in the city. But in Mangalore and Goa all the traditional customs are followed.

On the day of the roce, the families of the groom/bride offer a mass to the departed souls of their respective families. Some say this is to remember and honour the souls whereas others say it is a way asking the souls not to disturb the function.
The Coconut Milk Getting Ready For The Ceremony

The mass is offered usually in the morning. After the mass, the neighbours and some other relatives come to the brides/grooms house to render their services. Gentlemen used to help put up the tents (MATTOV) and ladies used to help out in the kitchen or in cleaning and decorating the house. This happens in Mangalore and Goa. Whereas in the cities, people usually call up or hire decorators and caterers for this event and the relatives and guests usually turn up at the time of the roce.

The house is decorated and a mattov is built. A mattov is 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 Ceremony
This Is How A "Mattov" Looks Like From Outside
Mattov From Inside

The ladies prepare Sāmbhar powder in a “DAATNE” (a traditional Indian machine used to powder grains) and “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).

Roce Ceremony

The head of the family, traditionally dressed in a 'Toddop' (dhoto), 'Kutaon (Kurta) and 'Shelo' (Shawl) welcomes the guests. The guests who come for the roce are warmly welcomed by the hosts (usually the parents) “Yezman” (male host) and “Yezmani” (female host) at the main entrance of the ‘mattov’ (Pendal) saying ‘paan-pod udak ailem' ('receive this plate of areca-nut, betel leaves, etc., and pot of water’). The guests acknowledge the welcome and reply : ‘Dev Borem Korum, yezmanya” (May God bless you). Among the guests, those who are in the habit of eating ‘paan-pod’ (betel leaves and areca nut) take the plate in their hands and chew paan-pod.
Paan Pod

When society was rural based, there was also a custom called 'Vojem'. Just before 'Roce', the uncles of the bride/groom (from both sides - mother's and father's) used to ceremoniously (in procession accompanied by a brass band) bring to the 'Mattov' 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.


Before the Roce ceremony begins, Goans have a special bangle-wearing ceremony for girls called ‘chuddo’, which consists of a set of fifteen bangles of green, brown and yellow colours on each wrist.
In Mangaloreans, the chuddo is put on the wedding day during the "Sado (Red Saree) Ceremony" at the reception.
Goan Chuddo

Before the Roce ceremony begins, the head of the family or any chief guest (usually the priest) starts praying the rosary. Usually only one or two mysteries are prayed followed by the Word of God and reflection to the Word of God.

Roce Ceremony
The Priest Giving A Reflection On The Word of God

After the prayers, the women of the household go into the kitchen and start preparing the roce. Usually all the aunties and sisters of the bride/groom do this thing. The coconut is grated and kept ready before hand by the men of the house. While the ladies are preparing the roce, snacks and cold drinks are served to the guests. For the roce ceremony, usually the groom (at his residence )can be seen moving outside in the matov, but the bride usually remains inside her house and will be asked to come out and be seated for the roce ceremony only when it actually begins

Roce Ceremony
Squeezing the Grated Coconut To Prepare Roce

The groom/Bride gets ready along with their bridesmaids/bestmen for the roce. They usually wear comfortable clothes like a tank top/t-shirt and shorts for the roce ceremony. The Bride/Groom is blessed by all the elders gathered in the 'Mattov' (in front of the altar), the bride/groom is then escorted to be seated on a bench along with her bride's maids/ Best men. Some people wear new clothes for the blessing ceremony and then change into comfortable clothes for the roce.

Roce Ceremony
Blessings Before Roce

Traditionally, the brides used to wear a skirt and blouse ( called ‘Khirgi bhaju’) and so will be the bride’s maids, usually a couple of young girls. The groom (voreth or novro) will be wearing a loin cloth called ‘pudvem’ or a half pant or a ‘lungi’ and the upper body may or may not be covered with a half sleeved singlet. The same dress code goes for his ‘dhedes ‘too.
Khirgi bhaju

After receiving the blessings, the bride/groom sits down on the chairs along with their bridesmaids/best men. The mother, sister's, grandmother's get the bowls with the coconut milk and a bowl having oil and place it on the table before the groom/bride.

Roce Ceremony
Women Carrying The Roce

After this , the roce ceremony begins.  Firstly, the  mother dabs  her thumb in the oil and makes a sign of the cross on the forehead of the groom/bride,  followed by each of the bridesmaid/best man ‘ sitting beside him/her. These actions will be commenced with the singing of appropriate ‘VOVIYOS’ (traditional songs). Then,  she will dip the spoon in the oil and drops oil in each of his/her ears  (the groom/bride will have to tilt his head each side for this)  and then puts 5 drops of oil on his/her head and rubs oil into his/her hair. Then she will do the same to others as well.  Once this ritual  is completed,  she hands the oil container to one of her aids and then comes in front of the groom/bride and by cupping her hands, scoops roce from the bowl and pours oh the grooms/brides head, rubs, then pours roce on her/his face, hands and even legs and rubs it gently. This process she will continue to the rest of the bridesmaid/bestman seated along with the bride/groom.

The roce is applied on the groom and the bride right from the crown of his/her head to the sole of his/her feet, while chanting some short verses known as voviyo's in Konkani. After the mother, the rest of the members of the family (big and small) and all the other guests come forward one by one and put roce on the bride/groom and their bridesmaids/best men.

Roce Ceremony
Mother Putting Oil

Roce Ceremony
Mother Putting Roce

Sometimes some people break eggs on the bride/groom, some put watermelon juice, tomatoes, bone chilled milk and beer etc for fun. The 'Vovyo' invoke God's blessings, remind the bride/groom of the love and sacrifices of her/his parents, give advice, and also indulge in some good-humored teasing.

Roce Ceremony
The guests applying Roce

Soon after the completion of the roce ceremony, the groom/bride is taken by hand and led to the bathroom. One mug of Hot water is poured on the groom/brides head by the parents, grandparents and siblings each for traditional purpose. While the bride/groom is taking the bath, preparation for the serving of the roce dinner is being made and drinks are served at this time.  Once the bride/groom and his/her companions have returned, a short prayer usually graces is said and then the dinner is served.  

The dinner,  if traditional, will be rice, bottle gourd vegetable with mutton or with dried baby shrimp called ‘galmbo’ and a variety of dry vegetable dishes like  ‘tendlim’(girkins) with cashew nuts,  chonno sukho (gram) or Khelen sukhen (banana),  and the sweet, ‘vorn’ will be served  after the dinner.
Sweet vorn/ payasam

After dinner/lunch, the married ladies (no widows) of the groom bless the saado and the jewelry that will be offered to the bride on the wedding day. This is followed by the elders and guests singing a Latin song Laudate Dominum which goes like this:-

Roce Ceremony
Sadoo (red saree) and the wedding jewelry

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes
Laudate eum, omnes populi
Quoniam confirmata est
Super nos misericordia eius,
Et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum.

Which means:- 
Praise the Lord, all nations;
Praise Him, all people.
For He has bestowed
His mercy upon us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever,
and for generations of generations.

With this the Roce ceremony ends. There is dance and music played by the DJ after the ceremony. According to the traditions, the bride and the groom is not allowed to sit together and even meet each other after the roce. They are supposed to meet only at the nuptials where the groom see's the bride walking down the aisle. Otherwise it is considered as bad luck. 

Roce is a wonderful and meaningful ceremony but in the modern times it is losing it's real meaning. I hope as the years pass people keep this tradition alive and follow it.

I have tried my best to cover the whole ceremony. Sorry for the long post. Hope you liked this post. Do share it with others. 


The Roce Ceremony The Roce Ceremony Reviewed by Felicia on 12:47:00 AM Rating: 5


  1. Really informative post about roce ceremony

  2. Good narration. Beautifully documented

  3. Thank you for the information now I can perform this ceremony in our house full traditionally

  4. Amazing post. Just one question.
    Wanted to know what is the importance of oil.. what is the significance behind putting oil in the ears and on the head?

  5. This is a very good information which I didn't knew.Thanks for the post because it helped me to do my project. And can you help me in any rituals performed in birth of the child and of death rituals

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Any good emcee for mangalorean roce ceremony ?

    1. If you are based in Mumbai you can check out for emcee's and event organizers. If you are based out of Mumbai, local church leaders or church magazines have various ads about event organizers or emcee's.

  8. Super information, thanks. Any links for an event manager who will organise the entire program?

    1. Thanks. If you are based in Mumbai you can check out for emcee's and event organisers. If you are based out of Mumbai, local church leaders or church magazines have various ads about event organizers.

  9. This is more manglorean than Goan

  10. In my city our brother very popular in event management. Lot of decoration and light works in perfect manner. The work man using for boom lift & Aluminium Scaffolding Rental for few days to finished the work. Whats you do in decoration work.

  11. Just been in my brother in law's wedding in Mangalore. His Roce ceremony was hilarious. Nice article.😎👍

  12. Our son is getting married to a Mangalorean. They have invited us to The Roce ceremony. Is there something as the grooms parents need to do as guests of honor?

  13. Good information about our traditional Roce.


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