Monday, 8 July 2013


The Malay people have a culture that is really fascinating. Take a moment and think, the view and situation when you attending a Malay wedding no matter it are your friends or relatives wedding. Is it fascinating and unique? The bride and groom are treated as a Royal of the Day. From the delicious food, the decoration and the outstanding costumes of the bride and groom to the process they have to go in the wedding.

In Malay culture, “the more the merrier” the ceremony. Literally every relatives, colleagues and neighbour been invited to the ceremony.

Islam recommends marriage highly among other things; it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. Islam sees marriage as a foundation of the structure of society, and considers it both a physical and spiritual bond that endures into the afterlife.

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

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 date so that arrangements could be made in advance. For the engagement, the future groom’s parents will gives a container of betel, a ring and some gifts. To complete the engagement the groom’s mother will put the ring to the bride’s finger.

Akad Nikah (solemnization)
Marriage is a contract, and the akad nikah means the union of the couples. The solemnization is normally presided by a kadhi, a religious official of the Syariat Court. In olden days, the bride's biological father has to perform this function. The akad nikah ceremony is in such 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 seals the contract. The dialogue must be clearly heard by three witnesses.

This ritual shows the tremendous responsibilities of the groom to take care for his bride. Before the solemnization a Kadhi will give a brief lecture on marriage and the responsibilities of the couples. The groom is reminded to take care of his wife and gives both spiritual and physical substance of his wife. This ceremony will takes places at the bride’s house but olden days its holds in the mosques as was performed during the Prophet Muhammad’s S.A.W days.

There is difference between “mas kahwin” and dowry. “Mas kahwin is a small sum of money as a gift from groom to his bride. It is according to the state in Malaysia. Example for Johor the amount of “Mas kahwin” is RM 22.50. The small sum of the “Mas kawin” is to ensure even the poor people could marry. The dowry or gifts on other hand is more customary and may go into thousands of ringgit. It often takes the form of both cash and jewelry or clothing and toiletries or maybe cake and fruits. This are presented in fancy boxes or forms knows as “gubahan”.

Climax of Malay Wedding
The marriage ceremony is actually held twice, first at the bride’s residence then the groom’s. This occasion is held to let the public knows that the couples are been married and the couple sits together on the dais.

The groom arrives at the bride’s house with the beat of kompang drums and flanked by “bunga manggar” carries. He is welcome by a shower of “beras kunyit” and a performance of Malay art, “Silat”. Before the groom is allowed to sit on a dais with his bride, he must give some amount of money called an “entrance fees” to the ladies of the house and if they are satisfied with the amount of money only the groom is allowed to sit on a dais with his bride with hands on their laps.

After that they will be bless called “berinai” ritual. These rituals begin with the oldest of the family members. They will take some yellow-colored turmeric rice (beras kunyit), fried rice grains ( beras pulut) and pat some rose water (air mawar) on the couples hands. Finally a pinch of henna on the palms. The couple will shake hands with their parents, relatives and guests.

All of us know that the decoration is very important in wedding days and preparation of wedding ceremony have to be done early.

Family from the both side are very particular about dais for “bersanding” ceremony. It may take several days to construct and create a fascinating dais. Wedding and bridal dais consist of material elements such as pedestal tray, betel leaves box, weapon, tray, bridal bed, adornment, bead and etc. The dais will be construct at the hall of the house so that every single guest who came can see the bride and the bridegroom while “bersanding” ceremony. Usually the bride and the bridegroom will choose their own themes and decide what color that they prefer most.

Basically they will use lot of bouquet of flower to decorate the dais. Usually they will be two chairs which will be seated by the bride and bridegroom.

Basically there is different between dowries and “mas kahwin”.Mas kahwin is a small sum to ensure even poor people could marry. While, dowry is more customary and sometime it can goes up until thousand of Ringgit. The “hantaran” is traditions for Malay to show appreciated from both side and ensure that they are as promised. Usually the gifts are known as gubahan and it will be decorate nicely because it will be displayed in the bridal chamber. They use any kind of material such as lace, flowers and ribbon to decorate that gift.

Guest will be given a “bunga telur” before they leave the wedding ceremony. They belief that, by giving an egg that married couple will produce many children. In fact, in Islam married couples are advises to produce many children so that Islam can expand to the whole world. Nowadays, the gift was being modified. The modernalisation make people try to find gift that commercially prepared for examples chocolates, jelly, or a cake of soap.

Most of Malay traditional wedding are wearing songket. These songket are commonly come from Palembang, South Sumatera, East Bali, and China. Songket is made from the brocade of textiles. It is a rich, luxurious, ceremonial fabric, handwoven in silk or cotton, and elaborately patterned with gold and sometimes silver threads on the background cloth. The effect of light and gentle shadow on the fabric creates a gorgeous shimmering effect, making them King for the Day.

Both bride and bridegroom are wearing songket in their occasion. For bridegroom attire, he is wearing a suit of baju melayu with sampin, tanjak, and keris. There are two types of baju melayu which is included Baju Melayu Cekak Musang and Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga. His sampin and tanjak normally are from songket materials. Malay tanjak or tengkolok is worn and complements exquisitely the traditional full Malay costume of Baju Melayu. Keris is symbol of the warrior.

While for his bride, she is wearing baju kebaya which is made by songket and at the same time the beauticians will make sure that the bride simply perfect by wearing tiara. Besides that, she is wearing other accessories such as a set of bracelet, a set of necklace, earrings and rings. This rings are be given from her bride in betrothal level and during solemnization event. In addition, this couple will be covered with henna paste. This henna will be pasted before the solemnization event begins.

Malay traditional Cuisine is a must in every Malay wedding, the food is served buffet style so that everyone attended the wedding can help themselves to what they want. No cutlery will be given and one must eat with their right hand. A pot of water will be put on the table so everyone can wash their hand.

The cuisine serve in a wedding ceremony is like Rendang, cooked pumpkin, Gulai, fruit Achar, Pajeri Nenas, Ayam Masak Merah and lot of other dishes that is depend on the bride and groom family.

There are varieties of rice serve at a wedding that is plain white rice, Nasi Minyak (scented rice) and Nasi Beriyani (rice with spices). Nasi minyak is commonly served in traditional Malay wedding.Nasi minyak is cooked with butter ,ginger ,coconut milk and several of spices while Nasi Beriyani is cooked with saffron and spices that makes it slightly yellowish and full of flavour.

Beef rendang is a must have in every Malay weddings which is yummy .The rendang is cooked with beef cubes, coconut milk and several of spices to arouse the nice smell and gravy the beef.

Pajeri Nenas which is pineapple cooked in a thick sweet kerisik flavoured sauce .Kerisik is refers to toasted grated coconut that is mostly used in Malay dishes.

Ayam Masak Merah is another must have in weddings. The chicken that is chopped into pieces will be cooked in a spicy red tomato sauce and onion.

The condiment commonly serve in weddings is achar which are pickled vegetables and some mixed vegetables that consist of sliced cucumber, pineapple and onion tossed in vinegar.

As the conclusion a Malay traditional wedding needs lot of preparation so that everything will be smooth. They are very particular about the decoration especially in making a dais. Basically, they are several level needs to go through by a couple before being husband and wife. They are spying, betrothal, and lastly akad nikah. Normally the bride will wear a cloth which been made by songket and also some accessories. On the wedding day usually they will serve a traditional food for the guest and bunga telur to show their appreciation.

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