last updated on 30-10-2013


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Malay wedding is fascinating and steeped in age-old tradition.

A Malay wedding begins with the akad nikah ceremony. The groom signs the marriage contract and agrees to provide the bride with a mas kahwin. After that, their hands are dyed with henna during the berinai besar ceremony. The bride's hair is also trimmed or her eyebrows shaped by a beautician known as the mak andam.

The next day, the groom is accompanied by friends, relatives, musicians and bunga manggar (palm blossom) carriers to the bride's house where they are usually greeted with the sprinkling of yellow rice and scented water.

Sometimes, the pencak silat or the traditional Malay sword dance is performed. To add gaiety to the joyful affair, the groom and his party are required to overcome humorous obstacles before being allowed to go in.

Each guest will receive a bunga telur, which means 'flower' and 'egg' - a symbol of a fertile union. After the bersanding ceremony, the wedded couple and their guests will attend a celebratory feast called the makan beradab. This involves the bride and groom feeding each other sweetened rice.

The nuptial night is spent at the bride's house. The following day, similar festivities, normally on a smaller scale, are held at the bridegroom's house. Then, for the next one month or so, the couple will be invited for meals at one house after another in order to usher them into the married community. However, the modern trend is to immediately go on honeymoon, postponing the socializing rites for later.


The Malay Wedding
Delightful Traditional Malay Wedding in Tawau

Malay traditional wedding institution holds a very sacred position in Malay society in Malaysia.

Upon finding a suitable candidate, the boy's parents will dispatch a fact-finding mission comprising close family friends to meet the girl herself and to learn more about her. Once both parties are agreeable, an engagement ring is placed on the girl’s finger. The wedding date is fixed between six months to two years after the engagement. At this stage, the two families discuss the amount of gift money to be paid by the bridegroom, and also the gift items to be brought along on the wedding day.


The activities that take place during a Malay wedding come from the diverse cultural traditions --indigenous, Hindu and Islamic--that have together served to shape traditional Malay culture. The numerous activities constitute a Malay wedding may be conveniently be divided into three groups representing three stages.

For the Malays, there are certain preliminaries or events which must happen before the wedding bells chime... or rather, before the melodious beat of the kompang and before the wedded couple can sit regally on the pelamin (the specially made Malay wedding dais):-

Activities which precede the actual wedding ceremony, consist of
* A) First is investigation THE MERISIK ("SPYING")

* B) Followed by THE PERTUNANGAN ("BETROTHAL" OR "ENGAGEMENT")  the engagement or approach to formalise the arrangement (meminang)

* C) THE AKAD NIKAH ("MARRIAGE CONTRACT")

* D) the hantaran or the sending of gifts and part of the amount of money (wang belanja) for expenses (wang belanja) which the boy’s family give to the girl’s side that will be incurred by the girl’s family.

* E) Finally THE PERSANDINGAN ("WEDDING CEREMONY")


Wedding in Malaysia  |  Hakka Wedding

|  | Pelamin (dais)  | The First Day of the Marriage |

 


 

The wang belanja is usually an amount of several thousand ringgit. It is different from the dowry (mas kahwin) which is also paid by the man to his future wife. The amount of the mas kahwin is usually fixed by the Islamic Religious Council in each state, but a potential bridegroom may give any amount above the official figure.


If the kampung (village) is not large, then the whole village folks are invited to the wedding. A delightful traditional Malay wedding involves nearly everyone in the kampung and is elaborate.  A traditional Malay wedding is full of fun and joy. ... it should be so.

One of the most important concepts in Malay wedding is "the more the merrier". Every relative, acquaintance, colleague or business partner could be invited to a wedding.

The families are truly honored by your attendance at a wedding, especially if you are not a Muslim, your present show the present modern Malaysian dynamic spirit of  'Unity in Diversity'


Merisik "SPYING/INVESTIGATING"


When it is time for a young man to get married his family will look around to identify a number of potential candidates. Having decided upon one particular young lady, then, the merisik of investigation process takes place. For this ceremony one or more representatives (wakil) of the young man’s family will pay a friendly visit to the family of the young woman whom they have in mind as his potential bride. The visit is purely for the purpose of further investigation. Its allows the visitors to see the young lady. A hint will be given to her parents regarding the purpose of the visit, and their reaction will be assessed. The girl’s parents may also give the visitors some idea as to whether or not their daughter will be interested in the match. The merisik does not constitute a formal proposal. Following the visit both sides can begin to think more seriously about the possibility or otherwise of the union. It is possible that no progress may take place, and the young man’s parents or representatives will then look for another possible candidate.


Meminang "BETROTHAL" OR "ENGAGEMENT"

Betrothal is the pre-wedding meeting between the bride's and the groom's parents will determine the dowry that is to be given to the bride as well as the date of the solemnization. This may be as early as a year before the wedding itself so that arrangements could be made in advance.


Once agreement for the marriage has been reached between the families of the potential bride and the potential bridegroom, preparations for engagement (Meminang) take place. Representatives from the young man’s side once again visit the house of the young woman, following the confirmation of a date and time for such a visit. On the side of the potential bride, a consensus is obtained regarding the following:
(a) The date and time for the Meminang ceremony.

(b) The amount of money to be paid by the young man for expenses ( Wang belanja).

(c) Details regarding the gift (Hantaran) items.

(d) The date and time for the actual wedding ceremony and feast.

Details regarding the penalty should one of the parties break the agreement for the marriage.
When the young man’s representatives arrive at the young woman’s house, these matters are discussed and settled. Agreement is also reached on certain details regarding the engagement ceremony, including:

(a) The number of persons who will constitute the bride-groom’s party.

(b) The number of trays (Dulang) of gifts that will be brought in addition to the traditional betel-leaf containers (Tepak sirih). For the meminang ceremony the young man and the young woman will be represented not by their parents but by other carefully selected persons.

On this day the date for the wedding ceremony (akad nikah) and the various other conditions and requirements will be also confirmed by both parties. Once all such matters have been resolved, the bridegroom’s representatives will hand over all the gifts (hantaran) items with the exception of the engagement ring.

The ring will be placed on the finger of the potential bride by an elder sister or aunt of the potential bridegroom. The potential bride will all this while be in her chamber.

On the day of the engagement the bridegroom’s party brings the items agreed upon...



Potential bridegroom’s side will prepare the various items to be presented to the potential bride. Similarly on the side of the young lady, gift items to the presented to the young man are prepared. Customarily, the potential bride groom will send the following items to the potential bride on the day of their engagement:

(a) A gold or diamond ring.

(b) Sirih meminang : A betel-leaf container (tepak sirih) complete with betel leaves (sirih) and other ingredients.

(c) A complete set of clothes.

(d) A scarf or shawl (kain tudung).

(e) Fruits or other gifts.

(f) A handbag.

(g) A pair of shoes.


A diamond ring

Handbags and handkerchiefs

A complete set of clothes. A pair of shoes.

Similarly on the side of the lady, gift items to the young man are prepared. The total number of gift-trays and the number of items returned as gifts by the bride must be in odd numbers, usually 7 or more.


The gifts from the bride family for the bridegroom.

The gift items may include a velvet cap (songkok), a prayer mat (sejadah) a pair of clothes and so on. The gifts must also be placed in an add number of trays, the number of trays being higher than those received from the potential bridegroom’s party.

The exchange of gifts completes the meminang ceremony. Following the exchange of gifts a feast is given to the bridegroom’s party, before they leave for home.


Velvet cap (songkok) Shirt Sarong Shoe

Akad Nikah "MARRIAGE CONTRACT"

The second group of activities consists of the actual marriage ceremony (akad nikah) and berinai

The Akad Nikah is the actual religious solemnisation of the marriage. While all the other ceremonies performed in a Malay wedding before the Akad Nikah and after it may be considered as derived from the traditional culture of the Malays, and may even be omitted the Akad Nikah is an Islamic ceremony without which no marriage is valid. Consent of both the bride and the bridegroom must be obtained, and the religious official (usually a kadhi) conducting the marriage must make sure the marriage is entered into willingly by both the parties. At times the marriage solemnization is in fact done by the girl’s father in the presence of religious officials. In a brief sermon given by the officials, the bridegroom and the bride will receive a briefing on their rights and responsibilities as a married couple, particularly from the Islamic perspective. There must be two official witnesses at the Akad Nikah. A marriage certificate will be issued by the kadhi or State Religious Council representatives following the ceremony, and this is to be signed by the bridegroom, the bride as well as the witnesses.


Adat Berinai "staining of the couple’s hands"

The berinai (henna application) ceremony is held prior to the wedding. The bride's palms and feet are 'decorated' with the dye from the henna leaves.

The ceremony of Berinai involves the staining of the couple’s hands with henna. Lesser or greater berinai ceremonies are held three times as follows:
a. Berinai Curi takes place three nights before the actual wedding ceremony (akad nikah) with the participation of close relatives and friends only.

b. Berinai Kecil. Takes place two nights before the wedding ceremony with the participation of family members, neighbors and close friends.

c. Berinai Besar is usually held after the completion of the religious ceremony (Akad Nikah).
Of the above three ceremonies, the berinai besar is the major one. The lesser ones may take place in private, usually with the participation of women only. For the berinai besar the newly married couple sit on the specially decorated dias (pelamin). Family members from both sides take turns to apply henna to the hands of the seated couple. Rice and a mixture of flour may also be applied to the palms and foreheads of the couple, as a sign of blessing.

The Adat Berinai is intended to cleanse both the young persons now married to each other. Henna is regarded as a blessed item, that is, it is used as a means of cleansing and protection from evil or malicious influences.


THE PERSANDINGAN  "WEDDING CEREMONY"


The Bersanding or Hari Langsung

Often the wedding is held on one convenient weekend so as to accommodate relatives who live far away and to reduce costs.

The hari langsung, literally “the day of completion” , which also involves the bersanding or ceremonial seating on the dias, is considered the high point of a Malay wedding.

In the morning before the bersanding ceremony the bride will change into new clothes, and various fashions may be tried out in selecting the dress to be worn for the bersanding. Popular bersanding fashions include those of from the Minangkabau tradition, Kelantanese styles as well as styles derived from the West.

The bridegroom is not allowed to enter the bride’s house before the bride sends him a prepared betel leaf known as sirih latlat or sirih genggam. This is a sign that the bride now awaits the arrival of the bridegroom. The bridegroom walks slowly towards the house of the bride, his party is led by womenfolk. This is the ceremony of berarak, or walking in procession. Behind them come the group of musicians beating various types of drums, especially the hand-held kompang, as well as bearers of decorative flowers (bunga manggar).


The arriving party take their seats in a special area of the house for the martial arts ( pencak silat) performance which is held as a sign of welcome and paying respects to the bridegroom as the king for the day. Then both the bride and the bridegroom are invited for the bersanding ceremony. This is the sitting in state ceremony and theoretically the first time that a bride and her groom meet. Seated on their chairs on the platform (pelamin) the couple are blessed with scented water, henna, sandalwood paste and rice flour paste. The bersanding publicly ratifies the union.

Following the bersanding the newly-married couple will come down to the halaman rumah for lunch or dinner (kenduri), to which guests will be invited. Further activities including light entertainment or joget dance sessions may take place in the evening to conclude the Malay wedding

Sometimes this is followed by the tukar pakaian (costume changes) and the bride and, less often, the groom will don different clothes for photography. The pelamin (raised dais) will be beautifully decorated for the purpose.


The Bersanding celebrations included  photograph sessions and poses at the pelamin by the couple and family, friends and close relatives, for family photos.


Sambut menyambut

The adat of sambut menyambut or ceremony of welcome is usually done at the bridegrooms’s house to welcome the bride. This may take place a day or two following the bersanding. Sometimes a second bersanding ceremony is held in the bridegroom’s house to give the opportunity to the women of that household who did not have the opportunity to be present at the first bersanding ceremony to bless the newly married couple.


A traditional Malay wedding is held at the bride’s house. A similar reception, on a smaller scale, known as "Majlis Menyambut Menantu" or "Welcoming the Daughter-in Law" ceremony is usually held at the groom’s house the next weekend.





Days before the wedding, the bride’s house will be filled with relatives and their children from far and wide congregating at the house! They are there to help out of course making the whole house looks messy and hay-wire.

Gotong-royong is when everybody chips in to help their fellow relatives, neighbors or friends. It’s when the whole village folks would put their shoulders to the wheel and help their fellow neighbor to ensure the Big Day goes smoothly according to plan.


The special dishes during a Malay Wedding comprise the nasi tomato or nasi minyak, pacheri , rendang (opor daging), ayam masak merah and ikan kari.

More on Malay food and photo...

At the kitchen, several women would be tasked with cooking large amount of rice. A few other would be charged with cutting the onions, garlics, ginger, greens and other food ingredients for the dishes.


Men help setting up the tents and arrange the food tables and chairs for the guests. They also make sure that the plates and cups, glasses, forks and spoons and other utensils are clean and ready for the Big Day.

And like all women, they would be chatting non-stop while doing the chores!!

A few other women would be busy putting the finishing touches and decorations for the pelamin (wedding dais) and the bridal bedroom—the two most important "objects" which perhaps represent the show-case of the Wedding.


Bunga telur

Some women would mak the bouquets of flowers for interior decorations, and especially the bunga telur, ("bunga" is "flower" and "telur is "egg" –i.e. fully boiled chicken egg wrapped decoratively).

This is the traditional Malay gift to guests. Bunga telur is a symbol of fertility and it is hoped that by giving out the bunga telur the married couple would be blessed with many children.

Nowadays, variations of the bunga telur, such as gift-wrapped chocolates and sweet candies, are given out to guests. This is because with guests into the thousands, it would be a very tedious chore having to boil a few thousand chicken eggs (eggs with broken shells cannot be used for the bunga telur).

However, in keeping with tradition, the bunga telur is still given out, but restricted only to very close relatives, friends and special guests.


The KHATAM AL-QURAN Ceremony (Morning)

A day before the the wedding begin, the bride, will attend an event that is attended only by the women folks, known as Khatam Al-Quran ceremony.

In the Khatam Al-Quran Ceremony, the bride recites verses from last few pages of the Al-Quran (holy book of Muslims) signifying her completion of reading the Holy Book. It symbolizes her transformation from a child into an adult with responsibility to ensure proper upbringing of her own children and family in the the Islamic way.

The event will be followed by a berzanji, tahlil and nasyid (Islamic songs of worship).

A small feast for those participating is then held after the ceremony.


The BERINAI Ceremony (Afternoon)

Another ceremony or event held before the Wedding Day is the "berinai" ceremony, which is the dyeing with henna of the hands, and the feet of the bride. This event is normally held in the afternoon.

Usually the henna, which have been pounded and mixed with water into a paste, are placed with some designs and patterns on the palms, back of hand and the fingernails and end of the fingers and feet. After a few hours the hands and feet are cleansed of the dried henna, and ...woooh... elaborate patterns of red colors appear on the dyed parts of the hands and feet.

Putting of the henna is actually a practice of the past when the Malays were influenced by Indian customs. In the old days, it is said that by putting henna on the hands, this would frighten away or deter evil spirits who like to disturb new brides.


The Bride

Behold !... a beautiful bride fit for a prince is now ready for him!!


BEAUTIFYING UP

To be ready for the Big Day, it’s time for the bride to beautify her face and body.

And the wedding beautician known as mak andam will be called to beautify the bride and to bring out the bride's gorgeous look for the wedding. This involves, amongst others, an invigorating bath with assorted fragrant flowers, pulling out or shaving unwanted eyebrows, a modern hairstyle and of course application of make-ups to the face... and lo and

 

 

Malay weddings are usually held during the weekends - on Saturday and Sunday. And the majority of the weddings take place during the long school holidays so as to be convenient for relatives and guests to attend.
 

The AKAD NIKAH Ceremony (Wedding Contract)

A Malay wedding begins with the akad nikah ceremony, normally place in the morning, and is held either at the local mosque or at the bride’s home.

As Muslims, the couple is legally deemed husband and wife only after the akad nikah(or wedding contract) has been signed by the groom. An authorized religious officer (normally the imam of the local mosque) or the girl’s wali (male person closely related to the bride, such as her father, or where it is delegated to the religious official) will preside over the akad nikah ceremony in the presence of several witnesses from both parties.

The akad nikah is actually a marriage contract by the groom agreeing to wed the bride based on the Islamic requirement and rules.

The ceremony is carried out on the floor of the mosque or at the hall or living room of the bride’s home. The groom is seated on a specially made cushion with the wali or imam seated in front of him.

Before the citing of the akad nikah, the imam will read out and advise the groom on the duties of a husband, and the consequences if he leaves his wife. Normally the advice given are meant to ensure that he becomes a good husband and treat his responsibility as husband and head of a family properly.

Then, while holding the groom’s right hand in a handshake style, the imam will say,

"Ahmad, I wed you with Aminah with mas kahwin of RM22.50 cash ", and shakes both hands.

And Ahmad will reply straightaway,

"I, Ahmad son of Abu Bakar, accept Aminah as my wife with mas kahwin of RM22.50 cash."

It is imperative that the words of acceptance by the groom must be uttered immediately, clearly and in one breath otherwise it has to be repeated. The decision or final say of whether the acceptance had been made clearly by the groom is determined by the witnesses sitting around the groom.

So it is not uncommon that we find that a groom, nervous and overcome by the occasion, or by playful witnesses, has to do the akad nikah a few times. In such cases, the religious official will advise the groom to rest a short while and soothe his nerves before taking the akad nikah again.

If the witnesses agree that the words of acceptance had been made clearly and are acceptable to them, then the imam will read the doa or prayer of thanks and the groom then signs all the necessary statutory documents.

Then it's the "membatal air sembahyang" session whereby the groom will be allowed to touch the bride's hands to insert the wedding ring. It is now rightful and legal for the man to touch the woman who is now his wife. This is a brief affair, and after putting the ring on her fingers, the bride will kiss the hands of the man who is now her husband.


 Mas kahwin

The Mas kahwin is the amount of dowry payment stipulated by the state government. In Malaysia, different states have different mas kahwin amounts.

In modern day, Mas kahwin is paid in form of a bank cheque.


During the bersanding ceremony, the bridal couple will be seated on the dais and sprinkled with yellow rice and scented water by family members, relatives and guests as a sign of blessing.

THE BERSANDING CEREMONY


The third group of activities consists of berarak or arriving in procession, sitting on a decorated dias (bersanding) and the welcoming of the married couple to the bride’s house ( sambut menantu).

The highlight of a Malay Wedding is this Bersanding ceremony. The Malays call the wedded couple as "Raja Sehari" (Royals for the Day) and they are treated as such, like the use of yellow, for decorations and attires, which is the color associated only with royalties.

The Bersanding ceremony is a way to show the married couple first hand in person, to all the relatives, friends and guests and to allow them to get to know the couple. The public will witness that the two have now tied the knot and are now husband and wife.


The groom and delegation arriving at the bride’s house at the appointed time in the afternoon...

On the appointed day, the bridegroom and his entourage parade to the bride's house. Apart from the gifts, they also bring cakes, fruits, perfumed water, a betel nut vessel, and the wedding ring. They are welcomed by the bride's family and relatives to the beating of drums. The "akad nikah" ceremony is performed by the Qadi, a Muslim religious official, to formally bind the couple in wedded bliss.

The groom, who is elegantly dressed in the traditional Malay costume of Baju Melayu, samping and tanjak (headwear) made from songket or silk of tenun Pahang Diraja, with a keris at his side, and wearing his gleaming new shoes, waits until everyone in his family delegation is ready.

And then, with his bestman shading him with a  wedding umbrella (yellow or gold colored) and with a couple of bunga manggar (palm blossom) carriers beside him, he walks slowly to the bride’s house accompanied by his family members.

The seven or nine trays of hantaran items are also carried by the family members. The kompang group from the bride’s kampung, playing the religious wedding music and tunes, also follow him to the bride’s house.

On knowing of his coming, the bride will step out of the house and waits for the groom. Then, looking resplendent in a matching baju kebaya or embroidered baju kurung, with flower girls behind her, she will walk from her house and meet the groom a few meters away from the house. The wedded couple will then walk hand in hand for the Bersanding ceremony at the gaily decorated pelamin (dais) set up normally at the living room or hall of the house.

However, before reaching the house, they will be greeted with a silat pulut performance (the Malay art of self-defense) and sprinkled with yellow rice and scented water by the hosts.

During Bersanding the bridal couple will be seated on the pelamin (dais) with the male on the right of the female.

And standing besides both couple will be their bestman and bridesmaid, who constantly fans the sometimes blushing couple with the traditional Malay hand fan (not because it’s hot, but more to fan away the jitters!!).

To bless the couple, who both look radiant and resplendent like the Malay proverb, "bagai pinang dibelah dua", (or "like a penang fruit sliced into two" – meaning a very fitting couple) usually the first person invited to start the blessing ceremony will be the most important guest, a VIP, or the groom’s father.

As is the Malay custom, the bridal couple is sprinkled on the palms of the hands with yellow rice, fragrant potpourri, and scented water. Then other personalities will be called up, followed by calls to other family members, relatives and guests, who all do the same act as a sign of blessing. And each of them will be rewarded with a bunga telur after the blessing.

Right after the Bersanding ceremony, the wedded couple and their special guests will attend a celebratory feast called the "makan beradab".

This involves the bride and groom, while seated with the family and the VIPs at a special table, feeding each other sweetened rice. You can tell the special table for the wedded couple by the special dishes and decorations on the table.

And all the time during the wedding day, outside the compound of the house, the merriment of the day continues unabated. The guests and well-wishers, while feasting the special food and dishes, are treated by a live music band from the kampung, (although nowadays, the use of songs from cd's and karaoke systems are used).

Guests are invited now and then to join in the music and sing their favorite songs, and so this is one occasion when unknown talents sprout and you hear all kinds of singers ( perhaps using the platform to practise for the Malaysian Idol contest!!)


The Malay marriage is a regal affair. The bride and groom are treated as king and queen for a day.

While the guests eat and make merry, the newly-wed couple undergo the "bersanding" ceremony, where they sit side by side on a dais as "king and queen for the day".

Family, relatives and friends file by to pay respects and offer congratulations.



Guests come and go, bringing their gifts and presents for the bridal couple. Cash monies are either given in envelopes passed to the hosts during the shaking of the hands when leaving.


The groom’s family and delegation will leave after having eaten and feasted, and they will bring back with them the items exchanged for the hantaran, comprising mostly cakes, fruits, and other consumables.

The groom, of course, will be left to stay the night at the bride’s home.

At night, before they go to sleep, the wedded couple, helped by family members, will now open the many gifts received, and read the cards sent by well-wishers and friends.

After a hard and tiring day, the wedded couple will then go to their gaily decorated bedroom and proceed to sleep soundly at night.


Memories of a wedding day live forever in the minds of the wedded ones, and it is those happy and joyful memories which should live forever until death do them part.


 


The celebrations are later concluded with poses for family photos.





Akad Nikah

Marriage is a contract, and the akad nikah effectively forges the union. The solmnization is normally presided by a kadhi, a religious official of the Syariat (Shariat) Court. In olden days, it was customary for the bride's biological father to perform this function. The akad nikah ceremony is in effect a verbal contract between the bride's father or his representative (in this case the kadhi) and the groom. A small sum of money called the mas kahwin (in Singapore, it is S$22.50 as of 1998) seals the contract. The dialogue is as follows, and must be articulated clearly as to be heard by three witnesses:

Kadhi: I marry thee to (so-and-so) with the mas kahwin of  RM100.00

Groom: I accept this marriage with (so-and-so) with the mas kahwin of  RM100.00

The simplicity of this ritual belies the tremendous responsibilities of the groom to care for his bride, and this is reinforced in a brief lecture on marriage and its responsibilities delivered later by the kadhi. The groom is also reminded that, should he fail to provide both spiritual and physical sustenance for his wife, the marriage may be dissolved if a complaint is made to the Syariat Court.


The istiadat hantar belanja (sending of dowry and gifts) and upacara akad nikah (solemnization) often take place at the bride's place. The recent trend, though, is to hold the solemnization in the mosque as was performed during the Prophet Muhammad's (saws) time. The solemnization is usually conducted by the kadhi (marriage official) in front of witnesses after both partners are asked separately if they consent to the marriage. Gifts are then exchanged and there may be a recitation of the Quran.

Gifts from the groom are checked to ensure that they are as promised. They will then be displayed in the bridal chamber. Gifts of clothes, toiletries and even prayer mats (to signify their adherence to the religion) are presented in intricate boxes or forms known as gubahan.

Bersanding

Guests are invited to partake of a meal. This is usually held in the void deck of a housing board flat so as to accommodate the large number of guests invited. Besides cutting down on costs, holding the feast in the void deck also enables the guests to view the bridal chamber and the bersanding (sitting in state) ceremony often held in the pengantin's (bride/groom) home. The wedding preparation is often based on the gotong-royong (cooperation) among friends and relatives, for which the Malays are most well known for. Again in Singapore, simplicity has given way to tradition and requires that such tasks be undertaken by caterers.

Guests are presented with a bunga telur each. Literally, this means 'flower and egg'. Previously, the gifts were eggs dyed red placed in a cup or container with some glutinous rice at the base. Sometimes a paper flower is added to decorate the gift. The egg symbolizes a fertile union and the hope that the marriage will produce many children. Indeed, the Prophet (saws) had once said, "Marry and produce many children so that I may be proud of my many followers on Judgment Day". Today, most gifts are commercially prepared and may take the form of chocolates, jelly or even a cake of soap.

The feast is often a noisy, lively and informal affair. This is further enhanced by the colorful costumes worn by the guests themselves. A Malay band group may be hired to add to the gay atmosphere. The arrival of the groom is heralded by the hadrah troupe. This group, of mostly teenagers, will beat the kompang (hand drums) and sing Quranic verses and good wishes. The groom is often flanked by bunga manggar (palm blossoms) carriers and a busload of relatives and friends.

The mak andam (beautician) as well as members of the bride's family will waylay the groom and ask for an 'entrance fee'. Only when they are satisfied with the amount would they allow the groom to see his bride. After successfully overcoming the 'obstacles', the ceremony takes place. Relatives will sprinkle petals and rice (fertility symbols) on the couple seated on the 'throne'.


Hantaran (Dowry)

Mas kahwin and the Hantaran (dowry) are two seperate amount of money.

Mas Kahwin is a small sum to ensure that even poor people could marry, for marriage is encouraged for all healthy Muslims.

Hantaran, on the other hand, is more customary and may go into thousands of dollars. Often, the hantaran takes the form of both cash and jewelry or clothing.


 

 March 15, 2014 09:12:55 PM

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