Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Traditional Bersanding in Johor

Last Saturday we were at Johor again. This time to attend the bersanding (wedding reception)of Hardy and Zaza our dearest friends. And this time my in-laws were in full force. Rahil was there too looking very cute in her Baju Kurung.


Their Akad nikah which made them a legaly married couple, was actually on the 26th of November.

The bersanding is a very important ceremony for the Malays because it officialy announces the marriage. For Malays' it is not uncommon to have it at a later date.

The bersanding was a joint one for Zaza and her elder sister. It was an opportunity for me to observe first hand, some very traditional Malay traditions, which are not that common anymore.

Hardy took me by surprise when he suddenly handed me a bunch of small envelopes and made me his official toll payer. In case you are wondering what I am talking about, read on:

The arrival of the grooms were heralded by a troupe beating the kompang (hand drums). As soon as I reached the gate I realised what he had meant by paying a toll.

It is a fun custom that when the groom arrives at the bride's house, he is blocked at several stages by the bride's relatives and friends and you have to actually pay a "toll". Only when they are satisfied with the amount would they allow the groom to be at the bride’s side. It’s all very playful. As I am not very familiar with Malay customs and not good at sweet talk, I just followed the lead of the other guy - the toll payer for the other groom and smiled my way through and paid money whenever required.

And there were a few "tolls" to pass through - first at the gate, where a bevy of ladies blocked our entry. After that we had to pass through two guys followed by another - older ladies at the doorway of the house. Finally I came face to face with Zaza's mum at the Palamin (throne), where I finished most of the money. In the end I was left with three packets.

It was also Zaza’a parents wedding anniversary and they were led to the Palamin . Suddenly brought tears of happiness on eyes of a lot of people there.

Another custom I was not familiar with was when the two couples took out coins wrapped in ribbons and threw them into the crowd. The ladies were scrambling to catch them. One landed on my arm and I promptly put it into my pocket. Reminded me of the western tradition where the bride throwing her bouquet back before going off with the groom.

Really interesting experience. Took a lot of pictures but left the camera in Kuala Lumpur. Will post them up later.

Related posts: Akad Nikah in Johor


Lucia Lai said...

hmm... interesting to learn of the two customs - the toll collector and throwing of coins.

adam, do you know what is the meaning behind the throwing of coins for guests to catch? usually there is a meaning/explanation behind a custom.

Robin said...

Thanks for dropping by, Adam.

Toll paying, -- hmmm this is the same as the Chinese custom, where the bridegroom and his gang of bestman, will try to make the bridemaids open the door by paying an ang pow, normally starting and ending with 9 as 9 means living forever. The bargaining can be tough, as the bridemaids always start with 9999999.99 ... hahaha

gazard said...

Interesting! I never learn about these two customs. The toll paying is very similar to chinese tradition while the coins throwing sounds like western bouquet throwing.

shsuya said...

Ur entry reminds me of my own wedding where The Don had to go thru 3 toll-gates set up by my relatives. Juz for the fun of it, Instead of giving envelope with money he gave a filled white card (immigration form) together with his passport instead. he is a Singaporean and I am a Malaysian. Needless to say he was not granted entry untill he parted with a few hundred Sing dollars hehehe


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