Samvedi Christian community woman dressed in a traditional dress
|Regions with significant populations|
|India (Vasai), North America, Middle East|
|Samvedi, Marathi, Latin, English, Hindi|
Kupari (Portuguese: compadre referring to the father of one's godchild; word derived from Kumpari and feminine being Kumari or Portuguese Comadre) or Samvedi Christians are a sub-group of East Indian community. This community is concentrated mostly in Bassein (Portuguese: Baçaim), India, which is about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Mumbai. Kupari Ancestors were Mixture of Samvedic Brahmins, Goans and Portuguese because of inter marriages between them. The population is about 40,000 to 45,000. The language spoken by the Kupari community is called Kadodi, which is a mixed dialect of Marathi, Konkani, and with very few words derived from Portuguese. 97% of this population is Roman Catholic, and the remaining minority is a mixed population of various Christian Protestant sects. Education along with religion and missionary works has helped upliftment of the Samvedi Christian community.
- 1 History
- 2 Costume
- 3 Traditions
- 4 Recipes
- 5 Festivals
- 6 Samvedi Christians today
- 7 Population and Distribution
- 8 Ethnicity
- 9 History
- 10 Religious Practices
- 11 Religious Services
- 12 Family life
- 13 Lifestyle and Culture
- 14 Traditions
- 15 Education
- 16 Portrayal in popular entertainment
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 External links
The Samvedi Christian community came into existence during the Portuguese rule of Vasai in the 15th century when most of the Samvedi Brahmans converted to Christianity as their possessions were confiscated and they were ostracized by orthodox Brahmans. Samvedi Christians are originally Samvedi Brahmans. Their language is known as the Samvedi language which is a dialect of Marathi. Till the late 1960s and early 1970s the population was highly dependent on farming. The Samvedi Christian community is mostly concentrated around these parishes in northern Vasai: The first three in the list Agashi,Nirmal and Nandakhal were the only 3 churches build in North Vasai during the Portuguese rule over Bassein.Over 9 Churches in total were built by the Portuguese in whole of Vasai of which these 3 Churches in North Vasai. These 3 Churches were further bifurcated for the convenience of the people.
- Nandakhal - Holy Spirit Church
- Nirmal - Holy Cross Church
- Agashi - St. James Church
- Vatar - Our Lady of Nazareth Community Center(works under the vicar of Nandakhal)
- Umrala - St. Joseph Church(bifurcated from Nandakhal)
- Nanbhat - St. Paul Church(bifurcated from Nandakhal)
- Bolinj - Christ the King Church(bifurcated from Nandakhal)
- Rajodi - Our Lady of Velankanni(bifurcated from Nandakhal)
- Mardes,Wagholi - Our Lady of Velankanni(bifurcated from Nirmal)
- Gomes Ali - Holy Trinity Church(bifurcated from Nirmal)
- Bhuigaon - Holy Family Church(bifurcated from Nirmal)
- Gass - St. Gonsalo Garcia Church(bifurcated from Nirmal)
- Jyoti - Our Lady of Light(bifurcated from Agashi)
- Shirlaiwadi - Our Lady of Lourdes(bifurcated from Agashi)
The traditional costume of the Samvedi Christian community consists of a Dhoti also called "Ponya" in local language, white shirt, black sleeveless jacket kabja and a red cap with earring vali pierced in the left ear for men, and a red blouse soli with red checkered kashta also called "lugadaa"(a type of sari for women).
- Baltim (Baptism:This is a traditional Christian ritual wherein a newborn is baptised to free him from the original sin of Adam and Eve)
- Komsar (Confession:One of the seven sacraments, also known as penance)
- Cominyao (First Holy Communion)
- Hamdao (Associated with marriage:People from the grooms side send a garland for the bride and traditional sweets to be distributed in the locality, just before the wedding bands (bann ) are announced in the church)
- Hadisoli (A procession of people from the groom's side with the Marriage band visit the Groom's maternal side to invite his maternal side for the wedding.)
- Aayez (A traditional way where the kupari people from the groom's side sent all the valuables like Saris and jewelleries etc to the bride's side)
- Lagin (Wedding)
- Saudio (Celebration next to wedding day:A day reserved for all the people who have helped in organizing the wedding feast.)
- Haira (Engagement)
- Variety of fish gravies (specially Bombil)
- Indel (specially prepared meat/fish to last for certain days) anglicized vidialo
- Vade/Talnayo Rotyo (fried bread made from mixture of flours)
- Dhapti (steamed bread made from mixture of flours and vegetables)
- Hingoli (traditional specialty, similar to pita bread with traditional sweet filling, deep fried in vegetable oil)
- Dodal (Portuguese Sweet)
- Fuddi (Portuguese feijoada (typical dish made with pork))
- Sanna (Rice Bread)
- Karji (similar to Hingoli, but coconut and sugar filling)
- Laadu (local spherical sweet)
- Phuge (soft spherical sweet, but made up of wheat and Suun)
- "Valachi Bhaji" (which is also called as VAGOBA)
- "Revala" (sweet made up of rice flour, jaggery, & coconut milk)
- Narlipak (sweet dish made by coconut & sugar)
- "Bhujing" ( made by chicken potatoes and poha)
- "Pilotta- Masool"(young and tender chicken soup )
- "Mundyaso ambo"(green mangoes preserved in salty water)
- Natal(Festival of nativity christmas)
- Bandra Fair
- Donger Mavli han
- Khursa han
- Sa Jav so han
13 hour adoration, comes in November. Its Christ the King Feast.
Samvedi Christians today
Samvedi Christians have been well educated for generations. They are hardworking, which aids their ventures in a variety of sectors. In recent years Kuparis have shown transition towards various sectors, including engineering, medicine, and corporate enterprises. A considerable amount of the Kupari population has relocated to the North America, Europe, Middle East and Australia.
Population and Distribution
This community is concentrated mostly in Vasai (Portuguese: Baçaim), India, which is about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Mumbai. The population is about 40,000 to 45,000. Rough estimate of this population around North America is around 300 and around Middle East is of about 150.
Most of the kuparis have their ancestry through samvedi Brahmin community while some trace few relations in neighbouring vadvalite community as well as goan community due to inter communal marriages. Minor traces of Portuguese ancestry in this community cannot be denied due to Portuguese intercommunal marriages during Portuguese rule as in case of St. Gonsalo Garcia.
On 23 December 1534, the Sultan of Gujarat, signed a treaty with the Portuguese and ceded Bassein with its dependencies of Salsette, Mombaim (Bombay), Parel, Vadala, Shiv (Sion), Vorli (Worli), Mazagao (Mazgao), Thane, Vandre(Bandra), Mahim, Caranja. In 1548, St. Francisco Xavier stopped in Bassein to preach. This marked the advent of Christianity into Bassein. Missionaries with motive of conversions serve the poor people who were farmers, and thus those who are touched by missionaries, excommunicated by orthodox Brahmin community and declared as untouchables. These outcast Hindu were then converted by Christian missionaries (Roman Catholic) with promises of land, other monitory benefit, better status, etc. The churches distributed the seized land amongst east Indians. Along with new names and dress codes the new converts were also endowed with political upper hand during Portugal rule. Today these missionaries also run Schools and hospitals benefiting both Christian and non-Christian. Despite initial hostility the converts and Hindus are happily sharing their neighbourhood. During this period Portuguese built 3 churches in present day northern bassein for these converts: Manickpur "St.Michael Church"(1530), Nirmal (1557), Agashi (1568), Nandakhal (1573). All these churches are still used by the Christian community of Vasai.
This is the ceremony that is conducted when the foundation stone for a house has been laid. Ceremony begins with the burial of some jewellery into the earth and breaking of a coconut the priest then makes some prayers and blesses its construction. This ceremony has its roots in the Hindu tradition of bhoomi pujan.
Bejimat is the ceremony conducted during the inauguration of a new home. During this ceremony a priest is invited to a home who then prays before the people sprinkles holy water throughout the home and blesses it.
This ceremony is conducted when final funeral rites are given to a person. This is conducted in a church followed by prayers and burial at a cemetery.
This ceremony is conducted on the seventh day of a funeral. During this the affected family dedicates a mass for the dead this is followed by a dining service at the family's place which usually includes meat and alcohol to mark the passing of sorrow.
This is the fast carried out during the lent season of 40 days.
As respect to their Hindu roots they abstain from beef consumption.
Its carried out in the month between March and April
The religious services of the Samvedi Christian community confirm with the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic faith. Some of them can be seen below.
A new born infant is taken to the church and blessed by holy water and fire in presence of his/her parents, relatives, godmother and godfather .... hence he will be called by a name decide by his/her parents. its almost like a name ceremony.
Cominyao,Komsar (First Holy Communion)
Also called as the first holy communion because it is the first time when a child baptised as catholic receives the holy euchrist.
Varad [Lagin] (Wedding)
Varad i.e. wedding is a ritual where the bride and groom exchange vows in the catholic church. The bride wears a white gown and the groom wears black suit. The bridesmaid and bestman are the witnesses for the bride and groom respectively. The couple exchange wedding rings as a remembrance of their life time commitment. There after a reception is done to celebrate the occasion.
Yentar (portugees word-entierro) (Final Funeral rites)
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Lifestyle and Culture
Ponya and Lugda are still worn, particularly by old people. With changing times, people have adopted western clothing and fewer people are seen with the traditional clothes. In order to keep the tradition alive, young people do wear these traditional Ponya and Lugda on special occasions like wedding etc.
This word is derived from (Nahana in Hindi). This is a ceremony similar to Haldi in other cultures across India which consists of bathing the bride and the groom with haldi(turmeric) and coconut oil. This ceremony typically takes place on Saturday morning(a day prior to the wedding day) early in the morning. The water for bathing is brought from a nearby source of water (a well, borewell or a pond) in a procession with drums and singing traditional songs. This ceremony is followed by attending the morning Mass at the parish Church.
Ayaez means ornaments owned by a married woman given to her by in-laws on a day before the marriage ceremony; also the ornaments given by her parents on the wedding day.
Before the marriage the in-laws of the bride send garlands[aboli,gulshedi,shevanti,etc.]and sweets(laadoo,karji,mesoor,khaja,etc.)to the bride and she distributes it to her relatives and to her neighbors.
It's the day after the WEDDING DAY. On this day at the groom's house the relatives play pranks and take money from the newly married couple [also known as postao in Kadodi language]on this day mostly in the evening the bride's relatives dress in old traditional dresses and go to the groom's house singing and dancing with music played on musical instrument known as "GHUMAT"[a drum made from earthen pot which has openings on both the sides one opening is tied with leather] when the bride's relatives reach the groom's house, his relatives play pranks on them like putting spices in the drinks which is being served to them after all the fun the bride's relatives take newly married coupe to the bride's place for a day.
- St. Joseph High School,Nandakhal
- St. Augustine's High School
- Carmel Convent High School,Nandakhal
- Holy cross convent school,Nirmal
- Holy Cross High School,Nanbhat
- John XXIII English Medium High School,Agashi
- St. Anne Millennium English Medium High School
- St. James High School,Agashi
- St. Joseph College of Arts and Commerce,Nandakhal
Portrayal in popular entertainment
Traditional Songs sung by ladies during work, marriage, worship and lullaby for infants were recorded by local community singers and musicians. The release containing these songs named "Samavedi Lokageete" was an instant hit in local community and has helped bridge the increasing gap between old and new. The scene in Marathi TV serial on Anandibai was shot in the Holy Spirit Church Nandakhal