Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Malay Wedding

A Malay wedding is usually performed when either one or both spouses are Malay. Malaysian law defines a Malay person as a Muslim. The traditional wedding ceremony is in two parts. The first part is the akad nikahbersanding  (marriage contract), which is the legal and religious part of the wedding. The second part is the (enthronement), which is a family celebration. It is usual for the two parts to be celebrated over two days. However, it is becoming common for there to be a gap between the parts of the wedding, during which the couple are legally married, but saving up for an elaborate bersanding. In cases where the couple have family spread around the world, a number of bersanding may be held in different countries to allow everyone to wish the couple well.

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 n hantaran (Dowry) to exchange. 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.
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. 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 celebrations are later concluded with poses for family photos.



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