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Some common practices from a traditional Sundanese (West Java) wedding ceremony:
Welcoming the bridegroom ceremony
- The bridegroom is welcomed with the umbul-umbul, a decoration indicating that a wedding ceremony is going on, which is also auspicious for the bridegroom.
- The welcome is followed by a procession of ladies with candles. They pray to the Almighty seeking His blessing in order that there maybe no hindrances in the ceremony.
- The showering of flowers by the dancers is symbolic of a fragrant future for the couple.
- The umbrella held over the couple's heads, apart from serving as a protective symbol, indicates esteem and respect.
- The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a garland of flowers indicating his acceptability to the family.
- The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a keris, a hidden message to the son-in-law not to be disheartened while toiling for his family.
The bride and groom are seated next to each other with a selendang or veil covering their heads indicating two people but having one mind.
The bride and groom bend forward and kiss the knees of their parents, called sungkem, asking for forgiveness and blessing and reassuring them that they will continue to serve their parents.
This ceremony should take place in front of the sawer or gargoyle. The water flowing from the gargoyle indicates the continuous flow of priceless parental love for their children.
The bride and groom are seated under an umbrella in front of the entrance to the house. There are two singers, a man and a woman, who sing on behalf of the parents. The song, called kidung, advises the couple to treat each other well, living in harmony, and serves as a prayer to the Almighty to bless the couple.
Then the sawer is showered on the couple. It consists of:
Turmeric rice Rice is a sign of prosperity and yellow stands for everlasting love
Coins Reminding the couple to share their wealth with the less fortunate
Candy Indicates sweetness and fragrance throughout their marriage
A betel nut set near the couple is a reminder that their different customs should not spoil their harmonious marriage.
This is the egg breaking ceremony. The couple are required to stand facing each other in front of the entrance of the house. The bridegroom stands outside the entrance and the bride is inside the entrance.
This ceremony is conducted by the lady in charge of the bridal makeup and serves as advice to the couple for their happiness and long wedded life.
The following items are used:
- Harupat, seven broomsticks, are burnt and thrown away symbolizing the discarding of bad habits which endanger one. s married life.
- An egg is broken, indicating that the groom will be the master of the house henceforth and the bride will serve him.
- Ajug, seven candles, represents the direction the couple should follow to ensure a happy married life.
- Elekon, hollow bamboo, which symbolizes emptiness.
- Kendi, an earthen water jug filled with water, which stands for peace.
- In the past, unmarried girls were not allowed to cross over logs. Here the bride is made to cross the log as a sign that she will always obey her husband.
The lady in charge of the ceremony gives the bride the harupat. The groom lights the harupat with the ajug. Then the flames are put out and the sticks are broken and thrown away. After the groom breaks the egg with his right foot, the bride cleans the groom's foot with the water from the kendi. Then the bride throws the kendi to break it.
Then the couple are escorted to the house. The bride crosses the log and enters the house while the groom remains outside to perform the buka pintu ceremony.
This is a dialogue between the bride and groom in front of the house. However, they are represented by a couple who also sings for them. First, the couple knocks three times on the door, then enters into a dialogue whereby permission is requested by the groom to enter the bride's house. The bride consents on the condition that the groom will say the syahadat (confirming his Moslem faith). The song also solemnizes the importance of the nuptial ceremony.
Symbolic of the last time the parents of the bride will feed their daughter. This is also the first dish prepared by the daughter in her new home. The dish consists of turmeric sticky rice with yellow spiced chicken on top of it.
The couple are given a barbecued spiced chicken. On hearing the word . go. from the lady conducting the ceremony, the couple has to pull the chicken apart. The one who gets the larger piece supposedly will bring in the larger share of the family fortune. This ceremony also serves to remind the couple to encourage each other to work hard together to gain good fortune.
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