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This article on celebration was written two years ago and was published in KhabbarKonkani News magazine also, If I find some pictures I will upload them later. Since change of time and technology, this social tradition is slowly forgotten, specially in  foreign country such as in US  where older generation such as parents and grand parents are in native country in India. Younger generation is helpless and sometimes ignorant.

Gurbini-Kaappad, a Konkani Tradition   (A baby shower Konkani
Style
)

On February 8, 2009 we celebrated Gurbini Kaappad for Deepa
, wife of  Rajesh  who is my cousin (with generation gap).
Deepa’s mother has flown from Udipi for “Baalaanteere” (a Konkani tradition
during daughter’s delivery time,  arrival of baby at home). During my childhood I used to attend this type of events with my mother as a child. This was exclusive events for females only except future Baby’s father in old days. In those days everything was nearby, walking distances or within easy reach by available transportation. Even in Bombay moving around by rail or bus or by taxi was easy those days. Because of difficulty in commuting, (even in native places like South Kanara), in Bombay nowadays, it is like a whole day family affair. In present days in big cities, ceremony like Gurbini Kaappad is almost a full day ceremony; and many times it is held in rental halls with catered food, Konkani or Punjabi style.

When Deepa called a few weeks before February 8, I and my
wife were excited as I had not attended a typical Gurbini-Kaappad for a
long time and wanted to witness authentic ceremony. I changed my flight and
made plans to fly that weekend from Bay area to Orange County ( I work in Bay area and fly every other week to my home in Orange County).   Konkani Folks in South Kanara and North Kanara still celebrate this event with the same tradition for generations when
Konkanis settled in Goa and migrated southwards along the Konkan and Malabar coast.

On that day, after an early bird Konkani snack in the
morning, the ceremony began at about 11:30 am. Rajesh and Deepa were seated on a
pair of chairs (tradition is Husband be seated right side of the wife). We being
family members, my wife had a first privilege
(being elder) to do “Aunthee” (blessing with rice sprinkle on both of them) and
Aarti. “Aunthee” plate is a large steel or copper plate (called Poleroo), and
four coconuts on rice bed are placed inside. On top of those coconuts, Sari
(Gurbini Kaappad) is placed and then silver or brass five sided oil wick lamp
is placed. My wife made alternate Aarti and sprinkling rice (called Akshataa) to
Rajesh and Deepa five times then followed by Deepa’s mother. This step is like
blessing to arriving child and his (gender is known nowadays) parents. Thenmy wife
presented a new Kaappad to Deepa. Per Tradition, Deepa went inside and
changed her sari with the new Kaappad she was presented. Again this step of
Aarti is repeated by all other ladies present in the house. This is the only
time males in the family  can watch but cannot take part in the Aarti step. In authentic case (as I remember during my mother’s days), ladies start sing songs related to this occasion, but Deepa had  a recorded DVD songs sung by her Grandma from Udipi. Rajesh played that video  during the Aarti.

This was followed by sumptuous and delicious Konkani lunch
(jevan) prepared by Deepa’s mother. Highlight was Daalitoy, Devastahna Saaru, Khichhdi
(Go..di, sweet) and Kuvale Khadi (sweet dish).

Everybody dispersed by 4 pm and I was on the way to LAX to
catch a flight to Oakland.

I thought on the way what a memorable family event and worth
every minute to enjoy!

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