The heart of Goa and her languages lie in her villages. Ancient traditional occupations still hold their own in these villages as does Konkani- the state language. These occupations have been the source of livelihood for the Goans since time immemorial yet have still have not entirely lost their charm against the newer, more paying occupations.
THE CANKONKAR (THE BANGLE SELLER):
He was a roaming trader who visited the houses when the ladies were free from their chores. Each color in the bangle depicts a certain reason for being worn. A multicolored set was worn by the bride-to-be to appease the ancestral souls. Red was worn by the bride after the wedding. Green was the color of fertility and black was worn by the widow.
THE FULKARAM (THE FLOWER SELLER):
A common sight outside churches and temples especially during feasts the flower seller wove intricate plaits of flowers with banana skin fiber and tough thread used for deities and also decorate the buns atop the heads of ladies. The flowers generally used are the Zaio, the Mogra, the Onvdam, the Abolins and the Chrysanthemums.
THE KASHANITA (THE BARBER):
The busiest trader, the barber used to sit under a tree or makeshift shelter. Armed with homemade oils for a relaxing massage, a sharp and shiny blade, a wooden or tortoise shell comb, a small mirror which is held by the customer while the barber snips and shaves. He went to the houses of the affluent homes to perform the task.
THE MAHAR (THE BASKET WEAVER):
Using material of like bamboo or cane and using his hands made a variety of products baskets, cages, “Konde”- covered high baskets for storage of grain and onions. Wider spaced baskets were woven to cover roosting hens and chickens. Small square, flat baskets to carry flowers, a triangle shaped “Sup” used for dusting the husk from rice.
THE CHAMAR (THE COBBLER):
Leather shoes made for lighter and long lasting footwear. The cobbler was the sole worker in this field his only tools being his sharp blade needle, greases and slabs of leather fashioned footwear, making molds and simple designed shoes meant for the feet meant for walking. The chamar used to make house calls and take measurement for new footwear.
THE KHUMBAR (THE POTTER):
The age old occupation was the Khumbars was creating articles from clay and baking them. Popular among the clay products were “Kunni”- round, wide mouthed vessels. “Bhutkule”-pots, “Mattulam”- small, flat or deep bowls, “Koddem”-deep wide round vessels, and a lot of useful and decorative items made and graced around the house. The clay is shaped and molded on a wheel spun manually; the clay product wet but finished was dried and then baked in a kiln of firewood. The potters of the village used to all gather around the source of clay.
THE REINDER (THE TODDY TAPPER):
The toddy tapper is the genius behind the local drink of Goa “Feni.” Toddy tappers are found along the coast and are generally peaceful, unhurried people. The toddy tappers do their job thrice a day to each of the trees in his care. He climbs up the tree using the footsteps on the bark of the tree and then supports himself on the tree tops by the base of the palm leaves. For three consecutive days, Sur (sap) is collected from the coconut trees to fill up a large jug which is then subjected to a process which results in the production of Coconut Feni, a distilled drink with a high percentage of alcohol. On the fourth day, the Sur is heated in a large earthenware vessel over a wood fire until it boils.
Once boiling begins, the vapor which is created rises from the mixture and escapes through a pipe which passes through a large cement cooling water tank the pipe then emerges at the bottom of the tank and the Sur now cooled re-condenses to liquid Molop and falls into small clay pot.
The remaining contents of the large vessel [Gordo] are discarded and the distillation process is repeated this time heating the Molop and an additional amount of sur. The result of this distillation is known as coconut Feni and is a popular drink throughout Goa in both villages and urban centers. The entire process lasts from 4-6 days depending on the weather conditions and is arrested by the monsoons.