Engagement Ceremony (Adat Bertunang / Meminang)
As soon the marriage is agreed, the representatives will once again visit the woman’s family to discuss the wedding plans. The discussions includes the date and time for the meminang ceremony, the amount of money from the man’s side for the expenses (wang belanja), and the details for the gift items (hantaran).
The main gift tray (dulang) is handed in odd numbers. The minimum is usually 5 trays. And the Bride’s family will reciprocate the Groom’s hantaran in excess number of the dulang given. ie. if the Groom delivers 5 dulang, the Bride’s family will reciprocate by sending 7 dulang.
The hantaran comprises of the tepak sirih (betel leaf container) or the sirih junjung (betel nut leaves and accompaniments with beautiful flowers), the engagement ring, and other gifts such as scented flowers (bunga rampai), a fruit basket, traditional cakes, a complete set of traditional dress made in silk or cotton, with gold or silver threads (songket), a pair of shoes, among others. In modern times, even mobile phones are included !
Traditionally, if the Bride’s older sister is still single, a gift of some value is given to the older sister too, for asking for the hand of the younger sister (Melangkah Bendul)
These gifts could be prepared by a family member or a wedding planner or the Mak Andam – Traditionally, the Mak Andam is an old lady, who is also the makeup artist. In the olden days, among the minorities, they were associated with black magic rituals (though not all are evil).
Rituals and chanting session were done by the Mak Andam before the Bride, so that others could be enchanted by her beauty.
On the wedding day, the Mak Andam, accompanied by the Bride’s family, will also deny the Groom’s access to the bride, until an “Entrance fee” is paid. (This is much practised in modern Chinese wedding day too)
Malay poetic rhymes (Pantun) are also recited, and it is often practised among the more cultured Malay families.
The ceremony is complete with Groom’s mother putting on the engagement ring to the Bride’s finger, with close relatives watching the event.
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