Goan Catholics (Konkani: Goenche Katholik) are an ethno-religious
Roman Catholics and their descendants from the state of
Goa, located on the west coast of India. They are people of the Konkan
Coast 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
Romanus Pontifex in 1455, which
granted the patronage of the propagation of the Christian faith in
Asia to the Portuguese.
The Edict of the
Goa Inquisition and the Portuguese–Maratha wars are
notable events in their history which led to the migration of many
Goan Catholics to neighboring regions, especially Mangalore.
Velliapura family of Velim,
Nasrani sect welcomed the
Salcete 'Shasti' and reconverted, most
in their homeland and converted to Christianity.
Their Feni, a native liquor, distinct Portuguese-Goan cuisine and
various contributions to music as well as literature are
Goan Catholics have also served many top ranking
government institutions across the world, three of the notable being
the current Prime Minister of Portugal,
António Costa and the British
Keith Vaz and Valerie Vaz. The culture of the
Goan Catholics is
a blend of Indian-
Hindu and Portuguese-Christian cultures, with the
latter having a more dominant role due to
Goa being a part of Portugal
for over 450 years. The notion of Goan identity as a distinct culture
Luso-Indian cultures was forged into India
after the annexation of
Goa in 1961. However, contemporary
Catholic culture can be best described as an increasingly
Anglicized Indo-Latin culture and is widely seen as distinct, both in
India and the rest of the world. The Goan
Catholic diaspora is
concentrated in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the Lusophone
world, especially Portugal, and the
Anglophone world, especially
United Kingdom, Canada,
Australia and the United States. Many Goan
Catholics speak English as their first language and their ability to
easily integrate and absord other cultures is widely appreciated.
Music is an integral part of their lifestyles and
Goa has produced
famed musicians like
Lorna Cordeiro and Remo Fernandes.
1 Ethnic identity
2.1 Pre-Portuguese era
2.2 Portuguese era
2.3 Modern era
3 Geographical distribution
4.3 Names and surnames
4.4 Language and literature
4.5 Traditions and festivals
4.6 Costumes and ornaments
4.8 Performing arts
6 In popular culture
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Roman Catholics who originate from the present state of Goa, a
region on the west coast of India, and their descendants are generally
referred to as Goan Catholics. After the Portuguese possession of Goa
in 1510, the Portuguese consolidated their power by imposing their own
government and cultural traditions some of which are still retained in
Goa. Many pre-Portuguese
Hindu (and some Islamic) traditions were
adapted or retained by the Goan Catholics. This often includes the
Hindu caste system although it is not widely practiced. Throughout the
Portuguese Empire a large part of civic administration (e.g.
registration of birth, marriage and death, schools, hospitals,
orphanages, etc.) was initially maintained by the religious orders and
it is still possible to find these records with the
Catholic church in
Goans born before 1961 were Portuguese citizens by birth and
Goans and their descendants are reclaiming their
During the late 1800s, there began a large-scale emigration of Goan
Catholics to Bombay, in search of employment opportunities. The
British saw them as Portuguese and favored them in administration due
to their ease in the use of English and predominantly western culture.
At this time
Bombay was part of the British Empire and there existed
Luso-Indian community; the East Indian Catholics,
who were former residents of Portuguese
Bombay prior to being granted
to the English East
India Company in the seventeenth century. Because
the Goan and East-Indian communities were converted to
the Portuguese, the British referred to them as "Portuguese
Christians." They share the same churches, attend many of the same
religious functions and shared Portuguese surnames and culture
(specifically the Goans). The naming customs specifically in
regards to surnames is still Portuguese, however, anglicized first
names are more prominently used today.
On 3 February 1951, to avert international criticism,
her Constitution to declare
Goa as an overseas province of
Goa was merged into the
Indian Union in 1961,
Goan Catholics continued to distinguish themselves as "Goan" as they
found it hard to adapt to the term "Indian". Under Portuguese
Goans born before 1961 in the then Portuguese
Goa are entitled to Portuguese citizenship. As per the
Portugal this is extended up to 2 generations, that is to their
children and grandchildren. All naturalised citizens from Goa
receive their citizenship through descent (Jus solis) from Portuguese
parents or grandparents.
Portugal after the seventeenth century Goans, like the
people of Macão and Timor,
Goans had been left much to their own
affairs with a higher degree of independence, although still a part of
Goans moved considerably to other parts of the Portuguese
Empire, and metropolitan
Portugal and it is possible to find Goans
with roots in America, Africa, Europe as well as Asia. After 450 years
of being a part of Portugal, during the first post-Liberation years,
Goans found it difficult to embrace their new status as part of India
and many emigrated to other nations (predominately western), a trend
that often continues to date. However, Goan-Catholics in India
today are proud of their Portuguese-Indian
Catholic culture, their
Konkani language and their role in modern multi-religious India.
However many aspects of their social and religious life are deeply
enshrined in their exquisite western heritage. For instance they
Carnival (western practice) before lent and their religious
Catholic church) is only written and conducted in the Latin
script. Even their language takes a lot from Portuguese in terms of
syntax or loan words.
Main article: History of Goan Catholics
Pre-colonial Goan history includes Hindu, Buddhists and Islamic
religious phases. It was believed till recently that there was no
concrete evidence that
Christianity prevailed in
Goa before the
Portuguese arrived, but it was believed that St. Bartholomew, one of
Jesus Christ, brought the Gospel and spread it
in Konkan, including Goa, just as St. Thomas had done in
Tamil Nadu, in Southern India.
However, the work of the historian Jose Cosme Costa, Apostolic
Goa and in the West Coast (Pilar, Goa: Xavierian
Publication Society, 2009), makes a case for the existence of
Goa before the arrival of the Portuguese. He speaks of
Goa as a trading centre with the Middle East and with Rome). He
suggests that the Apostle Thomas might have made his way over land
India to Kerala. He also examines the evidence of the
Apostle Bartholomew having done more or less the same thing. Ch. 6 is
dedicated to the examination of Pre-Portuguese references to
Christianity in Goa. Ch. 7 examines the vestiges of Pre-Portuguese
Christian Customs in
Goa and the Konkan. Ch. 8 concludes the book with
the "latest archaeological discovery": a "Thomas Cross" hidden in a
smallish monument, surmounted by a Latin Cross, near the old Goa
harbor. The Thomas Cross bears an inscription in Pahlavi, which, Costa
reports, was the liturgical language of the church associated with the
Metropolitan of Fars. Costa also suggests that the 'Betal'
worshipped quite commonly in
Goa is a corruption of 'Bartholomew'. Fr
H.O. Mascarenhas, reports Costa, even proposed that there were
Christian temples dedicated to the persons of the Trinity: Abanath /
Bhutnath (Father Lord), Ravalnath (from Rabboni –
Rabulna – Rabulnath) / Bhai rav (Brother Lord), and Atman /
Bhavka Devta, Santeri, Ajadevi (Spirit). What then happened to
this early Christianity, if it did exist? Costa proposes that the
Portuguese destroyed the vestiges and forcibly assimilated these
Christians to their own form of Christianity. Those who resisted were
among those who fled Goa, he says. It could also be when the zealous
Bahmani Muslim empire ruled over Goa.
Main article: Christianisation of Goa
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque was the first Portuguese explorer who landed in
Goa on 25 January 1510.
The Portuguese came to
India with the ambition of capturing the Asian
trade to Europe through the
Arab world and by-passing the traditional
Silk Route from China to Europe. They also hoped to create an empire
and propagate Christianity. The Portuguese first reached the west
India in 1498 when
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut. On 25
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque conquered
Goa from the Sultan of
Bijapur and made it their headquarters since 1530. By 1544 the
Portuguese conquered the districts of Bardez, Tiswadi, and
Salcette. Around the same time
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V enacted the Papal
bull Romanus Pontifex. This bull granted the patronage ("Padroado") of
the propagation of the Christian faith in
Asia to the Portuguese and
rewarded them a trade monopoly in newly discovered areas. Trade
was initiated shortly after
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama arrived in
India in 1498,
but the Portuguese were initially not interested in converting the
Catholic Church was granted the responsibility of
missionising in Asia, and all missionaries had to call at lisbon
before departing for Asia. In
Goa different orders were designated
different areas, with the internationally powerful
Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus or
Jesuits granted to Salsette province in the South, and the Franciscans
granted the northern province of Bardez. Carmelites, Dominicans, and
Augustinians were also present in Portuguese Goa.
The Sé Cathedral dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, in Old
Goa, was built by the Portuguese in 1510. It is one of the oldest
Goa and one of the largest in Asia. It also holds a
miraculous cross that is venerated to date.
In 1534 the Diocese of
Goa was created from the
Diocese of Funchal
Diocese of Funchal to
serve as a common diocese for the western coast of India, including
Goa and the area in and around Bombay. Missionaries of the newly
Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus were sent to Goa; the Portuguese colonial
government supported the
Catholic mission with incentives for baptised
Christians. They offered rice donations for the poor, good positions
in the Portuguese colonies for the middle class, and military support
for local rulers. Many Indians were converted opportunistic Rice
Christians who continued to practise their old religion. The
Portuguese, in their efforts to keep Christian purity, insisted the
converts should avoid anything Hindu. Portuguese rulers insisted the
natives should adopt foreign food habits and dress. They also gave
European names to the natives. But Konkani Christians wanted to
preserve their language, culture and manners. At the same time the
Portuguese colonizers in
Goa imposed excessive taxes on the native
Christians. The taxes were so huge that in 1642 some native
a memorandum to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
St. Francis Xavier
St. Francis Xavier of the
Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus arrived in Goa
and noticed the newly converted Christians were practising their old
(often pagan) customs and traditions.
The Portuguese built various churches; the most notable are Basilica
Jesus (Basílica of Child Jesus) built during the sixteenth
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site dedicated to the Infant
Jesus—and the Se Cathedral, the largest church in
to St. Catherine of Alexandria, the construction of which was started
in 1562 during the reign of King
Dom Sebastião and completed in 1619.
It was consecrated in 1640. The Our Lady of the Immaculate
Conception Church (Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceição Igreja) was
built in 1540. The Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi (Igreja
e Convento de São
Francisco de Assis), Church of Lady of Rosary
(Igreja da Senhora do Rosário), Church of St. Augustine (Igreja de
Santo Agostinho), and
St. Michael's Church, Anjuna (Igreja São Miguel
em Anjuna), built in 1613, were also erected during the Portuguese
Main article: Indian annexation of Goa
In 1787, inspired by the French Revolution, several Goan Catholic
priests, unhappy with the process of promotion within the Church and
other discriminatory practices of the Portuguese, organised the Pinto
Revolt against the Portuguese. This unsuccessful action was the first
open revolt against the Portuguese from within Goa. Britain gained
Goa twice, the first time in 1797–1798 and the second
time from 1802 to 1813. In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim and by
the mid 18th century the area under occupation by the Portuguese
expanded to Goa's present-day limits.
In 1900 there were 262,648
Goan Catholics in
Goa and 200,144
By 1921 it was estimated that 200,000 out of 670,000 Goans, mostly
Christian, resided outside Goa.
On 1 May 1928 the Diocese of
Goa was renamed and was promoted to the
Metropolitan Archdiocese of
Goa and Daman (
Goa e Damão). It is the
oldest diocese in terms of activity in the East, with its origins
linked to the arrival of the Portuguese on the Malabar Coast. The
Goa and Daman also uses the title of
Primate of the Indies or
Primate of the East
Primate of the East and honorifically
receives the title of
Patriarch of the East Indies.
By this time the
Portuguese Empire had started declining and further
resistance to their occupation in
Goa started gaining momentum. When
the rest of
India gained independence in 1947,
Portugal refused to
relinquish control of Goa. On 18 December 1961
India moved in with
troops and after hostilities that lasted 36 hours the Portuguese
administration was forced to surrender. On 30 May 1987
elevated as India's 25th state.
Goan Catholics accounted for 224,617 (36 percent) of the total
population in Goa. During the early 20th century, they started
migrating to other parts of India, especially to Mumbai and
Bangalore in the 1920s and 1930s. They also started migrating to
Portuguese territories, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Goan Catholics form 30 percent of Goa's total population.
During the 1970's coastal communication increased between
Goa, after introduction of ships by the London-based trade firm
Shepherd. These ships facilitated the entry of
Goan Catholics to
Goan Catholics in India
According to the 2001 census there were around 359,568 Christians in
Goa, and most of them are
Roman Catholics following the Latin
Rite. Many
Goan Catholics live in
Bangalore. In the 1960s there were around 100,000
Goan Catholics in
Bombay, of which 90,000 were in urban Bombay, and 10,000 in suburban
Bombay. Other regions of
India which have a small proportion of
Goan Catholics are Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Pune, Ahmednagar,
Hyderabad, Nagpur, Nasik, and Ranchi.
Goan Catholics are also found abroad, either as Non-resident Indian
and Person of Indian Origin (NRIs), with some people born abroad.
They are found in
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the Middle East,
including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
Some have migrated to the
Anglophone world, including the United
States, United Kingdom, Canada, the USA,
Australia and New
Zealand. In 1954 there were around 1,000,000
Goan Catholics in India
Goan Catholics outside Goa. Before the First Gulf War
(1990–1991) there were probably around 150,000
India. There are 100,000
Goan Catholics in Portugal. A large
number are found in Karachi, Pakistan. Recent emigrants are found
in Germany and Austria.
In 1999 the Goan Overseas Association, the Canorient Christian
Association, and other Goan associations estimated that there were
Goan Catholics in Canada, out of which 13,000 were in
Ontario. During 1954 it was estimated that there were 20,000 Goan
Catholics in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, while 30,000 were
living in Pakistan, out of which 10,000 were settled in Karachi. In
1931 it was estimated that there were around 1,772
Goan Catholics in
Tanzania of which 700 were in Dar es Salaam. In
1931, there were around 1,124 Goan Catholics, out of which 500 were
settled in its capital of Kampala.
Prior to the 1960s it was
estimated that there were around 5,000
Goan Catholics in Nairobi,
Kenya. By the 20th century there were around 6,000 Goan Catholics
in London, while in 2001, 9,000 were present in Swindon, United
Main article: Culture of Goan Catholics
Main article: Architecture of Goan Catholics
A traditional Portuguese-influenced villa of a Goan
Goan Architecture is heavily influenced by Portuguese styles, a result
of being a territory of
Portugal for over 450 years. Houses influenced
Indian architecture were inward-looking with small windows and
Mangalore tile. Houses were constructed with walls of
wooden planks, mud, laterite brick, or stone. Most of these houses
were rebuilt or refurbished from the mid-18th to the 20th century, and
replaced by buildings with a mix of neo-Classic and neo-Gothic styles.
Contemporary urban and rural housing display a strong Portuguese
influence. It shows a variety of laterite brick structures and
Mangalore tiled-roofed houses with steeply sloped roofs, design
features common to houses in Portugal. Sometimes the walls are made of
wooden planks, mud, or brick and stone. Inside the house a spacious
hall is present, while outside there is a large porch in front. A
plinth that indicates the owner of the house is present in front of
the house. Courtyards are present in front of the houses, consisting
of a grotto of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary and a Holy Cross made of hard
Main article: Goan
Coconut, coconut oil, and are common ingredients in most curries.
Sorpotel—meat cooked in a spicy sauce—is one of the most popular
dishes of the Goan
Catholic community. Other popular meat preparations
include beef Xacuti, Chouriço (pork sausages), Vindaloo, Pork Indad,
and Assado de Leitoã (roasted pork). Canja de galinha and Chicken
Cafreal are well-known chicken dishes. Fish curry and rice form
the staple diet of Goan Catholics. Par-boiled rice, also known as
red rice (Ukdem in Konkani), is the traditional rice eaten and
preferred over raw rice. Feni, a country liquor made from cashew
apples, is a popular alcoholic beverage.
'Patoleo' are the pièce de résistance of the Assumption feast
Patoleo (sweet rice cakes steamed in turmeric leaves consisting of a
filling of coconut and palm jaggery) are prepared on the Feasts of the
Assumption of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary on 15 August, São João
(Nativity of Saint John the Baptist) on 24 June and Konsâcheñ fest
(harvest festival) which occurs across
Goa during the month of
Kuswad is a term used for the sweet delicacies prepared
during Christmas which include Kulkuls, Neuries and Perada.
Names and surnames
Main article: Goan
Catholic names and surnames
Bilingual names, having variants in both Konkani and English, like
Mingel (Michael) and Magdu (Magdalene) are common among Goan
Catholics. Portuguese surnames like D'Souza, Rodrigues, Fernandes
and Pinto, are common among Goan Catholics.
Goan Catholics use the
native language Konkani forms of their surnames in Konkani-language
contexts, along with their English forms in English-language contexts,
such as Soz, Rudrig, and Pint instead of Sousa, Rodrigues, and
Pinto. Some families use their original Konkani
such as Prabhu, Kamat, Naik, Shet, and Shenoy.
God is gracious
Ewe or one with purity
Isabel / Elisabete
My God is my oath
The Lord will add
Source: English-Konkani Dictionary and A History of Konkani
Literature: From 1500 to 1992 (2000)
Language and literature
Main articles: Konkani language, Portuguese Language, and Literature
of Goan Catholics
Cover of Doutrina Christam by Fr. Thomas Stephens, published work in
Konkani and other Indian languages
Goan Catholics speak the Konkani language, which is central to the
community's identity. Konkani is an
Indo-Aryan language belonging
to the Indo-European family of languages, which is spoken
predominantly on the west coast of India. According to linguists
this dialect is largely derived from
Maharashtri Prakrit and is
similar to Bengali in terms of pronunciation. This dialect has a
significant infusion of Marathi and Kannada loanwords. The
Ethnologue identifies this dialect as the "Goan" dialect.
Portuguese influence can be seen in the dialect's lexicon and
syntax. 1,800 Portuguese lexical items are found in the Goan
Catholic dialect. The syntactic patterns adopted from Portuguese
include mostly word order patterns, such as the placement of the
direct and the indirect object and of the adverb after the verb, the
placement of the predicate noun after the copula, and the placement of
the relative or reduced relative clause after the head noun. There
are, however, some transformations as well among these patterns.
Such syntactic modification is most evident in this particular
dialect. It is observed only in the written word and in formal speech
such as sermons. In recent times, more and more periodicals have
abandoned the Portuguese syntactic patterns. The dialect is
significantly different from the dialect spoken by the
only with respect to Portuguese influence, but also with respect to
grammatical and lexical characteristics.
The origin of their literature dates to 1563, when the first Konkani
grammar was published by Fr. Andre Vaz at St. Paulo College at Old
Goa. In 1567 the first Konkani-Portuguese dictionary was published by
missionary priests at Rachol, Goa. In 1622 Thomas Stephens, an
English Jesuit, published Doutrina Christam em Lingoa Bramana Canarim
(Christian Doctrines in the Canarese
Brahmin Language), which was the
first book in Konkani and any Indian language. On 22 December 1821
the first periodical, Gazeta de
Goa Gazetteer), edited by Antonio
Jose de Lima Leitao, was published. On 22 January 1900 the first
Portuguese newspaper, O Heraldo, was started by Prof. Messias Gomes.
It was transformed into an English daily in 1987. Periodicals such
as Amcho Ganv (1930) by Luis de Menezes, Vauraddeancho Ixxt (1933), a
weekly by Fr. Arcencio Fernandes and Fr. Gracianco Moraes,
Aitarachem Vachop, a Konkani weekly run by the Salesians, and
Gulab by Fr. Freddy J. da Costa were published in Goa.
Konkani-Portuguese perodials such as O Concani, a weekly by Sebastiāo
Jesus Dias, Sanjechem Noketr (The Evening Star) (1907) by B.F. Cabral,
O Goano (1907) by Honarato Furtado and Francis Futardo, and Ave Maria
(1919) edited by Antonio D'Cruz were published in Bombay. In
February 1899 Udentenchem Sallok (Lotus of the East) by Eduardo J.
Bruno de Souza, the first Konkani periodical, was published as a
fortnightly in Poona. The first Konkani book in the Devanagri script,
Kristanv Doton ani Katisism by Dr. George Octaviano Pires, was
published in Sholapore in 1894. Fr. Ludovico Pereria's monthly Dor
Mhoineachi Rotti (Monthly Bread) was published in
1915. In 1911 the first Konkani novel, Kristanv Ghorabo
(Christian Home), was published. Modern literature is diverse
and includes themes such as historical awakening in Lambert
Mascarenhas' Sorrowing Lies My Land, feminism in Maria Aurora
Couto's Goa: A Daughters' Story, and fantasy in Nandita da Cunha's
The Magic of Maya. On 4 June 2006 the Archdiocese of
Goa and Daman
released the first Konkani
Bible in Roman script.
Luso-Indian descent speak Daman and Diu
Traditions and festivals
Goan Catholics have retained many Indian customs and traditions.
Ros (anointing) ceremony, held one or two days before a wedding,
involves the parents, relatives, and friends blessing the bride and
groom, who are anointed with ros, a mixture of coconut juice and
coconut oil. Later, it is followed by the Resper (Nuptial Blessing
in Church) and finally the Kazar (wedding) and Vor (wedding party).
The women at a Goan
Catholic wedding generally wear gowns or dresses
while the men (including the bridegroom) are attired in western-style
Goan Catholics typically have a White wedding,
with the bride wearing a western-style virgin-white wedding gown. The
bridal entourage usually consists of the maid of honour, bridesmaids,
best man, groomsmen, ringbearer boys, and flower girls. Ballroom
dancing and live western-style band music are an integral part of a
Catholic wedding reception. Other traditions include Soirik
(betrothal), Amontron (wedding invitation), and Mudi (engagement)
ceremony. Indian traditions include adorning the bride with the
Saddo (red dress or sari), which is to be worn on the first day after
the marriage. It is also the name of the ceremony of cutting and
sewing the dress. The Chuddo (a ceremony during which bangles are
worn by the bride), Bhuim jevonn (a ritual meal in honour of the
ancestors) or Bikariam jevonn (a meal for the poor or beggars),
the Opsun divnchem (giving away the bride formally by the father or
the guardian of the bride), the Appoune or Porthopon' (invitation to
the bride's house), and Konsachem fest (harvest festival) that
involves blessing of new harvests are other Goan Catholic
celebrations. The mass was celebrated in Latin; the
delivered to the congregation in Konkani.
Goan Catholics participating at the Intruz (Goan Carnival), late 20th
In addition to common Christian festivals like Christmas, Good Friday,
and Easter, the community celebrates many other festivals of religious
and historical significance. The Zagor (nocturnal vigil in Konkani),
mainly celebrated in Siolim, in
Bardez taluka, is a festival
highlighted by dance, drama and music. The Feast of Saint Francis
Xavier, one of the major festivals of the Goan Catholics, is
celebrated on 3 December annually to honour the saint's death.
Monti or Moti Fest, which commemorates the Nativity of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, is a major festivals celebrated on 8 September,
especially in Chinchinim, Goa. The festival derives its name from
Monte Mariano Church at Farangipet in South Canara, and was
initiated by Joachim Miranda, a Goan
Catholic missionary priest at
Farangipet in 1763. He later introduced the festival in Goa.
Milagres Saibin is the feast of Our Lady of Miracles, celebrated at
the Mapusa, Goa. The
Carnival is another major festival in
Goa, highlighted with color, songs and music.
In the event of the death of a
Catholic Goan, a traditional funeral is
arranged. The funeral includes prayer at the house of the deceased, a
band or musical procession (orchestra) leading the mourners in a
procession to the Church where the catholic mass is held and the
burial in the
Catholic cemetery. The family of the deceased person,
wear complete black attire for at least a month. After thirty days
(one month from the date of the funeral), a month's mind mass (One
month death anniversary mass) is held.
Costumes and ornaments
In the past, Goan
Catholic women wore a hol, a white sheet over their
saris, while going to Church.
In the early period of Portuguese rule, Goan
Catholic women were
married in whites saris (hol) and changed into a red dress or sari,
known as saddo, at home. Women of the upper strata wore the
Fota-Kimao after the Church ceremony. Fota was a blouse made of red
velvet and satin with a black border and embroidered with gold
thread. Accessories used along with the fota included a variety of
jewellery worn on the head, ears, neck, and arms. The fator was an
ornament that consisted of a green stone between two corals held by
double chains. Together with the fator, women wore a set of five
intricate chains known as contti, and other chains. Women wore bangles
known as nille with matching carap on their ears. They also wore few
small chains from the ear to the head, combs made of gold (dantoni),
silver, or tortoise shell, and rings on every finger. During the
later period of Portuguese rule, women got married in Western clothes.
The Cordao (wedding necklace) was a necklace of with two black-beaded
chains reminiscent to the
Hindu Mangalsutra, interspersed with roughly
twenty gold coins, which formed a gold pendant, often in the shape of
Jesus or the cross. A widow had to wear black clothes for the
rest of her life and was not allowed to wear ornaments.
A typical white Sant Khuris (Holy Cross) of a Goan
constructed using old-style Portuguese architecture
Goan Catholics retained the same caste system which their ancestors
had followed. A village in
Goa was known as Ganv, its freeholder was
the Ganvkar, and Ganvkari included the Ganvkars' village associations
and co-operatives. Village communities were known as Ganvponn,
which the Portuguese referred to as Comunidades.
The community was divided into five castes: Bamonns, Chardos, Sudirs,
Gauddos, Mahars, and Chamars.
The Bamonns (the Konkani word for Brahmins) were originally members of
the priestly caste, and had taken up various occupations like
agriculture, trade, commerce, and goldsmithy. Several
sub-castes, such as the Goud Saraswat Brahmins, the Padyes, the
Daivadnyas, the goldsmiths and some merchants, were lumped into the
Christian caste of Bamonn.
The Chardos (the Konkani word for Kshatriyas) were converts from the
Kshatriya (military/ royal class) caste, and included a few members
Vaishya caste (merchant class). Those Vaishyas who were not
incorporated into the Chardo caste were called Gauddos, and formed the
fourth group. The artisan converts formed the third-biggest group and
were known as Sudirs (labour class). The Dalits or "Untouchables" who
Christianity became Mahars and Chamars, who formed the
fifth group. They were later merged to the Sudirs. The Christian
converts of the aboriginal stock known as Gavddis were termed
Kunbi. Although they still obeserve the caste system, they
consider it the unhappiest heritage of their pre-Christian past.
After conversion, the most preferable occupation of Goan
was that of working on a ship, while others served as officers to the
Portuguese, became doctors, architects, lawyers, or businessmen.
Agriculture was mainly done by orthodox women, since they were skilled
farmers, while orthodox men practised carpentry, constructing Churches
and other structures for the Portuguese. In the late seventeenth
century, many women had received education and became employed as
teachers or factory workers. Other crafts and
industries were nonexistent.
A still from Frank Fernand's monochrome Konkani film Amchem Noxib
On 24 April 1950, Mogacho Aunddo (Desire of Love), the first Konkani
film by Al Jerry Braganza, was released at Mapusa, Goa. Frank
Fernandes, whose stage name was
Frank Fernand (1919–2007; born in
Curchorem, Goa), was a renowned film maker and musician and is
remembered for his movies like
Amchem Noxib (Our Luck) in 1963 and
Nirmonn (Destiny) in 1966. Other films produced in
Bhunyarantlo Monis (Cave Man) and Padri (Priest). Remo Fernandes,
a singer and musician, was the first person to introduce fusion music
The Konkani hymn Asli Mata Dukhest, which was translated into Konkani
from the Latin hymn Stabat Mater, is sung during Lent. Jocachim
Miranda, a Goan
Catholic priest, composed Riglo Jezu Molliant (Jesus
entered the Garden of Gethsemene) during his Canara mission.
Diptivonti, Sulokinni, an eighteenth-century Konkani hymn, was
performed at a concert held in the Holy Spirit Church, Margao,
Goa. Other hymns composed by
Goan Catholics include Dona
Barrete's Papeanchi Saratinni (Sinners Repent), Carlos Jrindade Dias'
Sam Jose Bogta Bagvionta, and Fr. Pascal Baylon Dias' San Francisco
Xaveria. Konkani pop music became popular after Indian
Independence. Chris Perry and
Lorna Cordeiro are known for the Bebdo
(Drunkard) in 1976 and Pisso (Mad) in the 1970s, while Frank
Fernand's Konkani ballad Claudia from 1966 is popular.
The Mando, a contemporary form of dance music, evolved in
the first half of the nineteenth century out of wedding music,
specifically the Ovi. The songs in this style are serene and
sedate, generally a monologue in the Bramhin Konkani dialects of the
South Goan villages of Loutolim, Raia, Curtorim, and Benaulim. They
are traditionally sung during the Shim (bridal departure)
ceremony. Early composers of the Mando were Ligorio de Costa of
Courtarim (1851–1919) and Carlos Trindade Dias.
Deknni is a
semi-classical dance form. One woman starts the dance and is later
accompanied by other dancers. The
Mussoll (pestle dance), believed to
be first performed by the Kshatriyas of Chandor, commemorates the
victory of King
Harihara II (son of King
Bukka I of the Vijaynagar
Empire) over the
Chola Empire at
Chandrapur fortification in the
fourteenth century. Other dances are the Portuguese Corridinho
Dulpod is dance music with a quick rhythm and
themes from everyday Goan life. Fell is a music genre performed
by men and women during the
Goa Carnival. Other dances performed
at the Goan
Carnival are Fulwali, Nistekaram, Vauradi, and
Ghumot is a musical instrument played, especially
during weddings, and is used while performing a Mando. The
instrument has the form of an earthen pot that is open at both sides.
One end is covered with the skin of some wild animal, and the other is
Konkani Plays, known as Tiatr, a form of classic stage performance
with live singing and acting, were written and staged in Goa. The form
evolved in the 20th century with pioneer tiatrists such as Jao
Agostinho Fernandes (1871–1941). Tiatr's themes
include melodramas about family and domestic life, with each lyricist
offering his own explanation for life's varied problems. Tiatrists
include Prince Jacob and Roseferns, and in the past M. Boyer, C.
Alvares, and Alfred Rose. On 17 April 1982 the first tiatr Italian
Bhurgo by Lucasinho Ribeiro was staged in Mumbai. In 2007, the
Goa started the
Tiatr Academy to facilitate the
development of the Tiart. The tradition Of Voviyo, ancient folk
songs that were sung by women during a Ros, began prior to
1510 A.D. The tradition had to be discarded due to Portuguese
prosecution, and the songs now live in the form of archives. The
few which still prevail are recited to this day at weddings,
expressing lofty sentiments that give vent to the feelings of the
people about the marriage partners and their families and invoke the
blessing of God on them like machlies.
Adeus Korchu Vellu Paulu
("The Farewell Hour is here")
Adeus korchu vellu paulo.
The time of farewell is now here
Ai mhojem kalliz rê fapsota.
Oh! my heart begins to fear (Repeat previous two lines)
Dispediru korchea vellar,
At this moment of saying farewell,
Ho sonvsar naka-so disota.
In this world I no longer wish to dwell. (Repeat previous two lines)
— Torquato de Figuerio (1876–1948), Mando taken from the book
Greatest Konkani Song Hits Vol. 1, arranged by Francis Rodrigues, p.
Goan Catholics have also played an important role in
Goans in Hindi film music composition)
Goenkaranchi Ekvot is a registered organisation of Goan Catholics
residing in Delhi. In Bangalore, associations such as the
Karnataka Goan Association serve the community. The Kuwait
Konknni Kendr is a well-known Goan
Catholic organisation in
Kuwait. The Goan Overseas Association in Toronto, Indian
Catholic Association of Central Texas, the Indo-Pakistani Christian
Association, and the Canorient Christian Association are popular
organisations in North America. In the United Kingdom, Goan Voice
UK, the Young
London Goan Society (YLGS), Goan Community
Siolim Association, based in London, are popular
organisations. In the Middle East, the Goan Community of Oman is
In popular culture
This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated
references to popular culture. Please reorganize this content to
explain the subject's impact on popular culture rather than simply
listing appearances; add references to reliable sources if possible.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2017)
Goan Catholics have been a part of many
Bollywood (Hindi cinema) films
owing to their musical skills. They are seen in many films
Catholic families and speak Hindi with a Goan
Amitabh Bachchan portrayed an orphan child (Anthony
Gonzalves) adopted by a Goan
Catholic priest in the
Amar Akbar Anthony. "My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves," a song from the
film featuring Kishore Kumar, became a hit. The character was
based on Anthony Gonsalves, a Goan
Catholic musical composer and
teacher from the village of Majorda (near
Margao in Goa) who, during
the mid-1950s, attempted to merge the symphonies of the Goan Catholic
heritage with the Hindustani melodies and rhythms in films of the
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) centred on
the tragedy of a Goan
Catholic family of deaf-and-mute parents with a
normal daughter who falls in love with a
Jeete Hain Shaan Se
Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988): Johnny (Mithun Chakraborty), a Goan
Catholic, loves Julie (Mandakini), who is also a Goan Catholic.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994): Sunil (Shahrukh Khan) falls in love with
Anna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy), a Goan
Catholic girl from Goa.
Josh (2000): Set against the backdrop of
Goa and Goan Catholic
culture, Josh is a story about energy, youth, love, and the zest for
life. Max (ShahRukh Khan), a cool Goan
Catholic dada (gangster), is
the leader of the Eagle gang, which is up in arms with the new
inhabitants of the town of Vasco, Prakash (Sharad Kapoor), and his
gang. The gangs revel in this enmity and love to show off their
strength to each other. Max's twin sister is Shirley (Aishwarya Rai),
who is also a Goan Catholic.
My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves (2008): Many characters in this movie are
Catholic lineage; there is the hero himself (Anthony), an
orphan taken in by mobster Sikander (Malhotra), and Anthony's friend
Mike, a petty thief.
In the film
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.
Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007),
Boman Irani plays
Oscar Fernandez, a Goan Catholic. He and his wife Naheed (Shabana
Azmi) have recently married. They are middle-age and the target of
constant mocking from everyone. They intend to have a great journey
and not be bothered by their difficult pasts. This is their second
In the film
Golmaal Returns (2008), Gopal (Ajay Devgan) ends up
getting stuck on a yacht after saving a woman named Meera (Celina
Jaitley) from some gangsters. When he returns home his wife Ekta
(Kareena Kapoor) begins to suspect him. He lies and says that he was
stuck with a fictitious friend, "Anthony Gonsalves". Trouble comes
when the actual Anthony Gonsalves (Vrajesh Hirjee) and his wife Julie
(Rakhi Tandon), a Goan
Catholic couple, turn up.
In the movie
King Uncle (1993), Ashok Bansal's (Jackie Shroff)
girlfriend and secretary Fenni (Anu Agarwal) is of Goan Catholic
In the movie
Rock On!! (2008),
Arjun Rampal plays Joseph Mascarenhas,
lead guitarist for the band 'Magick', who is of Goan
In the movie
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Jenny (Katrina Kaif)
and her family is of Goan
Indo-Portuguese poet and writer
19th century priest
Arjuna Award winning footballer
Member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament for the Labour representing London
elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2004 and 2009
American writer and public speaker
Indian poet, writer and columnist
Former member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian
Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan
Francisco Luís Gomes
Indo-Portuguese physician, politician, writer, historian, and
Bombay from 8 November 1996 – 20 May 2006,
Prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Rome
British Labour Party politician, Member of Parliament for Leicester
British Labour Party politician, Member of Parliament for Walsall
Luís de Menezes Bragança
Journalist, writer and anti-colonial activist
Archbishop of Mumbai
Pio Gama Pinto
Kenyan independence-era journalist and politician. He was assassinated
on 25 February 1965
International tennis player
Konkani language singer and tiatrist
First woman from
India to win Miss Earth
Indian singer and musician
José Gerson da Cunha
Indo-Portuguese physician, orientalist, historian and numismatist
Froilano de Mello
Indo-Portuguese microbiologist, medical scientist, professor, author
and independent MP in the Portuguese parliament
Exposed war crimes in East
Pakistan that altered international
opinion. Won international journalism awards
Mumbai-born British soprano OBE
Catholic missionary, "Apostle of Sri Lanka", ministered to Sri Lankan
Catholics persecuted by Dutch colonial regime
Christianity in Goa
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