Sari Tells Us About Her Brother's
Traditional Javanese Wedding

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Hudson Valley Weddings is delighted at having made a friend in Indonesia. Sari has already written an article for us about weddings in Indonesia. This, her second, is a personal account of her brother's Javanese wedding. We have left the article in her own words, becuase we found her command of the English language absolutely delightful. Please keep in mind that the facts, as stated, are those of the writer.

The wedding in Indonesia comes in many forms and ways depended on what province the bride and the groom come, each province have their own tradition on how they conduct the wedding and all related event to the wedding beside the influence of their religion. Indonesia have thirty-two provinces and some different religions, Moslem majority, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddha and others. Usually if the bride and groom are came from the same province, they would follow their tradition accordingly but if the bride and groom are came from different provinces, then mostly they would need to compromise the way of conducting their wedding thru negotiations and adjustments.
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On this wedding, the bride and the groom were came from different provinces, our parent came from north and south sulawesi, while the bride s family came from Yogyakarta province, these north/south sulawesi and Yogyakarta are definitely having an complete different ways in customs and culture on wedding traditions, therefore both parents were need to compromise and make certain adjustments for the wedding, start from proposing manner, matrimony and wedding reception. They the agreed to held the wedding with the combination of both provinces, sulawesi and yogyakarya tradition, the proposing and reception would be held in Yogyakarta tradition while matrimony would be held in south sulawesi tradition with some additional of Yogyakarta tradition.

The whole event of my brother's wedding, Saad, were divided into three separated days which are:
1. The Proposing Day
In our tradition, it is required for the groom parent to come over to the bride residence and meeting her parent for the purpose of asking their daughter hand to marry the groom. Considering this proposing as the first step of whole wedding program, therefore this must be done in a proper and acceptable manner by both party, particularly for the bride's family.
The parent of the groom would need to aware and familiar with all the details related to the proposing prior the meeting the bride parent, particularly in what way would be the most appropriate and well accepted for the bride parent, the way the groom's parent need to conduct the Asking and what required items for the groom to bring to the bride as token of appreciation. These require items are mostly would be the Al-Qur, an Mukenah (female Moslem attire for praying), Jewelries, lingerie, cakes and fruits.

Both parent has agreed to held the proposing ceremony in Javanese style, and considering that my brother were still in Abu Dhabi at that moment, therefore, we were need to do it without his presence, our mother accompany with our father's brother were then came to meet the bride parent and conducted the asking on my brother s behalf. They held the proposing in the morning time and finished at around lunch time, the having rehearsal lunch together, the foods served were the combination of Javanese and Sulawesi dishes and snacks.

2. The Siraman Day
The next arrangement held prior the Javanese wedding tradition is Siraman, the ceremony of bathing the bride prior to the wedding. This ceremony is intended to held around noon time, separately between the bride and groom, but need to start doing it at the same time.

This bathing ceremony is symbolizing the bride and groom would be purely clean themselves physically and mentally prior to their wedding while at the same time, asking permission and blessing from both parents.

The details of the siraman ceremony would be as follows.
a. Sungkeman (paying respect in Javanese style by kneeling and pressing one's face against another person's knees) to both parents. Sungkeman is meant to asking forgiveness and blessing from both parent, the parents can be sitting on chairs or on the floor while bride and groom would be approach them by walking on their knees. Click here for photo enlargement.

b. The water for the siraman is required to be collected from seven differences water spring and added by also seven differences flowers such rose, jasmine, etc. the water for the siraman would be divided into two same portion for each bride and groom by the elder family member of the bride and the water would be delivered to the groom by someone from the bride's family. Click here for photo enlargement.

c. Some elder relatives from the bride and groom would be given a role in this bathing ceremony, they would be one by one shower the bridegroom according to their family structure in each family. Following to the completion of this ceremony, both bride and groom would then take Air Wudhu (Moslem way to clean up prior praying), then each mother would throw the kendi (traditional clay jug) to the floor as the symbol of finishing the siraman ceremony.

d. In Javanese wedding ritual, before ending the Siraman ceremony, both parent would cut little piece of the bride and groom's hair and put them in one small clay jug to be bury in front part of the bride house.

e. After the Siraman ceremony completely finished, special for the bride parent, would be doing their next ceremony called Dodol Dawet, this is the tradition of bride parent to selling Cendol, Javanese traditional ice dessert, to the guests. The guests would need to buy the Cendol using old Javanese coin called Kereweng, after the selling cendol finished, the mother would be given all the Kereweng to the bride, the main idea in this Dodol Dawet ceremony is the Kereweng, which is symbolized the Money for the bride's need in her future family. While doing this Dodol Dawet, the bride mother would be accompanied by her husband holding an traditional Javanese umbrella for her. Click here for photo enlargement.

f. Special for the groom, following to the completion of the bathing by all designated persons in our family, would be followed by Tumpengan Ceremony, Tumpengan is a beautiful rice arrangement, shape like mountain, in Javanese tradition surrounded with many delicious ornaments. This Tumpengan is where the groom mother would be feeding her son, as the symbol that, it would be the last for her as his mother to take care of him, as from that day onward, he would be taken care by his wife.

g. Midadoreni (reading Al-Qur at night) idadoreni is the night of reading Al-Qur an prior the wedding at the next day. This is the night where both parents of the bride and groom gathering together to read the Al-Qur an, called Tirakatan, usually held at the bride's residence. In this ceremony the groom would not allowed to see the bride, she can only be seen by her mother, sister and elder family close relatives, she is also required to stay up until pass midnight praying for her wedding in the next day.

In some cases, you could also bring the Mahar (bride price) at this ceremony, mostly Mahar would be consist of some jewelries and clothes, these items are usually choose by the bride but can be also discussed between both bride and groom, in my brother's wedding, this mahar was chosen by the bride.

3. A. Matrimony Day (Morning Time)
Prior to both parent agreement, the Matrimony was held in South Sulawesi Traditional style with some additional Javanese traditions at the end of the matrimony. The Matrimony was held in the morning time and at the bride's residence.

In this ceremony, prior to the arrival of the whole groom family at the bride residence, someone from bride's family would be welcoming the family at the front part of the bride residence. The groom family would be consisting of: mother, uncle, groom, brothers and sisters, our aunties and some very close relatives of our family. Our aunties were assigned to carry some presents to the bride divided into twelve beautiful packages not including the packages of traditional cakes and dishes from south Sulawesi.

The groom would then ask to enter the bride residence escorting with traditional south Sulawesi musicians and dancers and guarded with two men holding umbrella for him while our mother, uncle and us, brothers and sisters would be walking right behind the groom followed with our aunties and other relatives.

The ceremony would immediately start after the groom arrival and accepted by the father of the bride, the groom would then leaded to the desk without the accompany of our mother, as symbol of him regarded as fully grown man.

Before start the matrimony ceremony, the minister would need to meet the bride for signing some wedding papers, after the signing completed, the bride would come to her father for final permission and asking him to marry her under her behalf. On this wedding, the bride's father would be marrying his daughter under her behalf, therefore, the bride would be sitting somewhere else during the matrimony and can be picked up later on after the matrimony completed. The father would then sit side by side with the groom, facing the minister during the matrimony (Ijab Kabul)
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Following the completion of Ijab Kabul, the minister would legitimate the matrimony, signed the wedding certificate, followed with the groom and announced them as husband and wife. After that, it would be followed with another tradition called Temon, this is where the groom would be coming to where the bride is, knock on her door, and meet her for the first time after the matrimony, the groom would escorted by the parent, upon arrival to the bride's room, the groom would then shake hand with her, reveal her veil, this would be witnessed by parent, sisters and brothers. The bride and groom would be leaving the bride s room together to the Pelaminan where they would be sitting together. The bride and groom would next be throwing sirih leaves. It is believed in Javanese tradition that whoever between the bride and groom, who would be throwing the leave earlier than the other would be the leader of the house, however, it usually started by the groom.
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After the throwing sirih leaves, the bride and groom would be doing some Javanese tradition things such as:
a. Step on an egg tradition is where the groom would be stepping on an egg while the bride would required to bend down and wash his feet as the symbol of devotion and obedient to her husband.
b. Sungkeman to both parents, the persons who aren't given a role in the sungkeman were required to sit down and observe the rite.
c. Exchange Wedding Ring
d. Kacar-Kucur, (no English equivalent available). This is where the groom would required to give certain amount of rice combined with some coins and gold to the bride as the symbol of the groom would be the provider of the house while the bride required to receive and keep all those as the symbol of the bride would be receiving, keeping and using them for their future life together.
f. Dulangan, (no English equivalent available), this is the ceremony of both bride and groom would be feeding each other with Ketan, sticky rice, symbolized of both bride and groom would be always stay together till the end of day.
Before completing the whole matrimony event, both parent would be exchange presents and followed with family lunch together.
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In this matrimony ceremony, both families member are required to wear the same native attires beside the bride and groom, as seen in the pictures, the bride and the groom were on white wedding attires from south Sulawesi, while the rest of the family members would be on same native attires but in different colors. Both mothers were on orange attires, the bride father and our uncle were on black, sisters of both were on purple and black for brothers of both.

My brother (groom), bride and both parent, after the matrimony..... they all were wearing native attire named "Bajou Bodo" from south Sulawesi. It took more than three hours for the bride to wear this attire complete with her hair ornaments, was helped with her beauty specialist and one assistant.
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B. Matrimony Day, Wedding Reception (Evening Time)
The wedding reception was held in the evening time held in one wedding reception hall and purely in Javanese traditional style without any combination of Sulawesi culture.

The reception would be open by the MC to welcome the guests and after clear the entrance of the hall, the MC would be given sign for the Among Tamu to inform the bride and groom that the everyone were all ready to welcome them. Among Tamu are some persons of both family that are assigned to welcome the guests at the entrance of the wedding hall. The Among Tamu would then make a line together with Flower Girls (8 girls in yellow attire) to welcome the bride and groom.

Then following to the Javanese Traditional music called Gending, the both family members would be entering the reception hall guarded with one man dancing the Javanese traditional dance and two little flower girls. The composition of both family line would be:

  • Mother and uncle as the parent of the groom
  • The parent of the bride
  • Bride and groom
  • Sisters of the groom
  • Sister of the bride and her husband
  • Brothers of the groom
  • Brother of the bride

    The bride and groom would be sitting on stage at their Pelaminan chair, both parent would be sitting on right and left side of the bride and groom and the brothers and sisters of both would be standing at the left side stage.

    After the arrival of the whole families in each place at their designated places, the MC would started the receptions with speeches from some elders relatives of both families, followed with Moslem praying.

    Mostly after the praying, the MC would be asking some of the guests of honor to take pictures with the bride and groom, continue with the other guests to shake hand with the bride and groom and afterwards would be having dinner together. The music for dinner would be changed from Javanese traditional music to live music. (you could see at the picture where the bride and groom standing together with flowers background).

    Following to the completion of the whole wedding reception, the whole family members of both bride and groom would be having dinner and some photo session.
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    In this wedding reception, both families member were also required to wear the same native attires beside the bride and groom, as seen in the pictures, the bride and the groom were on green wedding attire from Yogyakarta, both mothers were on gold color attires, the bride father and our uncle were on black, sisters of both were on red and black for brothers of both.
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    In Javanese tradition, the bridegroom are not allow to leave the house for five consecutive days after their wedding, this is believed to avoid any unpleasant things that might happened.

    Considering, I am not a Javanese myself, I therefore apologized for any possible incomplete details of this article. Enjoy your reading and take care.

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