The East Indian ‘Umbracha Pani’
Uttan Gaothan, is an urban village inhabited majorly by the East Indians – an indigenous community from Bombay, who adopted Catholicism from the Portuguese in the 16th Century. They speak a dialect of Marathi that has words from the Portuguese language and are the inhabitants of Bombay, Thane and Vasai.
A popular East Indian pre-wedding ritual is the Umbracha Pani, (literally meaning water from a fig tree).
Traditionally, trees of the Ficus species have helped decide where to plant crops or dig wells as there is always a water reservoir near a fig tree.
The Umbracha Pani is held separately at the bride and the groom’s house. This is the final ceremony before the bride leaves to marry her spouse.
The bridal squad consisting of her close family set out to fetch water from a well in the vicinity of an Umbar (Indian fig – Ficus Racemose) tree.
It is believed that the roots of the fig tree (Indian fig – Ficus Racemosa) infuses the well water with skin healing properties and thus the ritual of bathing the bride/groom before their wedding day with the Umbracha Pani.
The ‘Moya’ or shaving ceremony is carried out where close male relatives are invited to have a shave. The guests sing and dance to the beat of the ‘ghumat’ an earthen drum while the Barber carries out the shaving.
The bride is seated on a chair and Bible verses are read, prayers are offered followed by the blessing and anointing of oil.
The bride will then receive the Sacrament of Reconcilliation.
The relatives and friends proceed to apply coconut milk on her arms and egg on her face. They then continue to present her with gifts/cash which they circle around the bride’s head and place it in the ‘soop’.
This part of the ceremony symbolises purification/cleansing of the body of the young bride.
After the anointing the bride is led by the mother to take a ritual last spinster bath, to end her spinstership in preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The mother and elder aunts would symbolically bathe the bride by pouring the first few mugs of water on them.
Traditional food and drinks are then served to the guests whilst the singing and dancing continues with East Indian music.
Blessing Ceremony, Dinner and Dancing
Dress code: Indian Outfit
22nd April 2022 (Friday)
5:30pm - 9:00pm
Wooddcroft Neighbourhood Centre
65 Woodcroft Drive, Woodcroft 2767