Unfortunately, this is not my engagement ceremony. That's a little bit further off but this was my brother's. I've always imagined that I'd be married by 28, but I guess I didn't meet "the one" before that. What to do? I am the eldest in the family so this is a younger brother, 1 year younger to be more exact. Anyways, the event was anticipated to be abit on the "much fan fare" category. From our family we invited about 12 families of relatives that were residing in the Klang Valley. The day started early, about 4 cars gathered at our house in the morning. Frantic last minute touching up of the hantaran gifts occurred... Some grapes needed swapping and the "rose bouquet" made from money needed a dulang (tray) decorated. Good thing my uncle was quite good with using pandan leaves and another leaf from our pots of greens outside our house to arrange into something presentable. The end result is this:
The rose bouquet made of money, symbolic of the agreed wang hantaran.
Pretty good if I do say so myself. And for you girls out there, this is how the engagement ring looks like:
I like the ring. Gotta ask him where he got it from!
Nice right? Ok, once that's was sorted we got ready to leave. This is us and the cousins with all the hantarans before heading out.
With my cousins and dad and two other relatives
We met with the rest of the procession at the Bangi toll exit. 12 cars all together. It was here we met up with a relative who was to be our family's representative. It later turned out that he had a daughter who went to the same boarding school as Aishah's (my brother's fiancée) sister so he knows the family better than us. After everybody was accounted for, we proceeded to Aishah's house.
When we reached the house we were greeted with a familiar face. It was my Dad's good friend from Swansea, Wales. He was a good friend of his during his undergraduate days in UK. He turned out to be a close uncle of Aishah. Small world huh? Anyways, this uncle was the representative for the Aishah's family. So, as u may have guessed by now, Malay engagement ceremonies require family representatives to do all the talking and customs stuff...
We settled into the main hall of the house to great awe as when we walked in we noticed that they had a "pelamin" prepared for the ceremony! I did not expect this. A pelamin is a raised platform with a chair or bench for the newly weds or in this case, the engaged couple/girl. It's usually reserved for the actual wedding ceremony/the walimah (Wedding feast). Actually I a really traditional Malay engagement, the male fiancée is not allowed to be at the ceremony as it is a sign of gelojoh (over keeness) but i guess times have changed. The hantaran from the girl's side was also very impressive.
left: Aishah's hantaran, right: Our hantaran
I sat down next to our representative as I was bearing the tepak sireh. The ladies sat on one side and the men on the opposite side.
The ladies from my family
The balas pantun bit. both reps were very good. It was entertaining =)
The event kicked off with the customary Doa (supplication/prayer). After the doa, the actual event kicked off. This was the fun bit. We kicked of the event with a pantun from our representative to state the reason for our visit. I know I'm not one for pantuns but the whole pantun and reply of pantun is really entertaining and fun! =) I enjoyed it. It is customary to start a discussion in traditional Malay customs by offering the host some sireh. Most modern people do not eat sireh anymore so it was funny when the host's rep actually took one and actually took a bit, tho he did not actually eat it. I personally can't get my head around how people of yesteryear could actually consume such a thing. It has also been been proven to be linked to mouth cancer, it's really nasty stuff. Nowadays, it is purely customary to offer the host some sireh.
After open the discussion with the sireh our rep recapped on the events that lead up to the engagement ceremony and also the outcome of the discussions prior to the engagement. After re-capping all that we presented the family with the engagement ring. Later my mother will put the ring on Aishah to symbolise that she is now engaged. Similar to western culture. Lastly the host family was presented with a symbolic representation of the wang hantaran which was in fact the rose bouquet made of money as shown above. The value of this rose flower was 1% of the actual wang hantaran value. After that was something that was new to me. Our rep informed the host's rep that if the wedding did not pull through due to any fault on the male side, then our hantaran would be forfeited and if the the wedding did not pull through due to any reason from the lady's side then her hantaran would be forfeited. Sort of a pre-prenup... hahaha.. whatever.
So, the ceremony ended with my mum putting on the ring onto Aishah's finger.
So, it's now official.
So, she has two rings now - The cincin belah rotan (plain ring like the lord of the rings ring) for the merisik and the engagement ring. She will get another ring for the wedding/Nikah.
My parents and the couple
The family + my grandma + my dad's sis and the couple
After that was the feast. The girl's family is of Javanese decent so the food was typical Javenese food - Nasi Ambang (pronounced Ambng). Here, my uncle will demonstrate what it looks like. Real nasi ambang is served in trays where guests will eat communally in the trays. Nowadays, it's easier to serve in plates.
Do not ask me how to make nasi ambang as me and my mum do not know. My grandma might know as her mother was Javanese. One thing though, I can never eat tempe (fermented bean soya beans). Tempe is a common Javanese delicacy and is closely linked with the Javanese. I like the kerabu and the serunding kelapa/kerisik though! I like!
K lah... I'll post some random pics after this and maybe add more after I get back from Taekwondo today. The event basically ended after the makan2 and we loaded all the hantaran into the cars and drove back. It was all really tiring but fun! =)
From the left, my aunt, my sis, Aishah, my cousin, behind - my aunt, Aishah's step mother
My baby brother is no longer a baby. He's even wearing my baju Melayu! 12 years separate us. Can you see the years?
Ok. Till the next post!
credit to my eldest brother =D