Malay Wedding


Mengagai or Berjarum-jarum

In the old days when men and women did not openly court each other, this ceremony was meant to be an opportunity for the guy's representative, such as his parents, to find out whether the girl is still available for marriage. Nowadays, it signals the start of the whole process, when parents from both sides first meet each other. This is also when they discuss when they can send a proper entourage to seal the formal engagement.

Menghantar Tanda Pertunangan

This is when the proper entourage comes to the bride side. The groom side will usually offer 2 rings. One is called the "pembuka mulut" to signify the groom's real interest to ask for the daughter's hand in marriage. The other is the official engagement ring. Both sides will also discuss details on the upcoming wedding, particularly the date, as well as the "hantaran" or lists of requests (wedding gifts) by the bride.

Menghantar Berian

Menghantar Berian means delivering gifts which consists of all the requests during the engagement ceremony, and may also include additional gifts by the groom. The bride would also, if she so wishes, respond in kind. The delivery of the gifts is usually a grand affair, with an entourage of men or women carrying silver trays adorned with beautiful cloths on top of which would display each gift.

Berbedak Mandi

Berbedak Mandi is a ceremony to bless the soon-to-be groom and bride by close family members especially the parents, siblings and elders in their own homes. Here, they are scrubbed with traditional body-scrub powder which is applied to the whole body by the close family members. It symbolizes fertility and wealth.

Akad Nikah

This is the solemnisation ceremony. It is presided over by a religious official and only involves the groom. the bride is not usually present but she will be represented by her father or a "wali" (legal family representative). Here, under the grace of Allah (God), the groom vows to accept the bride's hand in front of witnesses.

Malam Berbedak

The Malam Berbedak or Night of Powdering is a ceremonial event where family members and friends/family are invited to 'bless' the Bride/Groom by anointing the Bride/Groom with an ointment made from colored rice flour and scented oils. The Bride and Groom are dressed up in traditional Berbedak attire which is different for each one. The Bride has on a heavy brass (sometimes gold plated) headgear that has either a symbol/statuette of a chicken (called Ayam-ayam) or dragon (Naga) and is surrounded (wrapped) round with scented flowers. The groom has on a songkok (Muslim hat) or Dastar (crown made from songket cloth). Both are adorn with brass/gold plated arm bands, wrist bands, ankle bands and necklace. The Bride is also wrapped around her waist with a kain songket (usually red) that was given by the groom as part of her dowry (hantaran).

Malam Berinai/Berpacar/Pengganggunan

The Berinai / Berpacar is an event usually attended by close family and its also commonly known as the Henna Night. Here, the Bride, dressed up in attire similar to the Malam Berbedak sits on the 'throne' with her hands on her lap and family members apply a pinch of 'pacar' (Henna) on the palm of her hand. Bunga Rampai (fragrant shreddings of pandan and flower petals) are also scattered over her hands signifying a blessing. Some weddings, these may be carried out on the same night of the Malam Berbedak whilst others keep them separate. This tradition is mostly practiced by only those in the Brunei Muara District and not in Tutong or the other districts.

Later that night, after all the guests have left, the elders of the family then bring the bride to her bridal room where the Penganggun (Wedding Attendant?) then lights 3 candles and passes them to one elderly lady sitting on the bride's bed and to another who follows behind her. The Bride then puts her arms around the Penganggun and is led around the bed behind her three times. The Bride then proceeds to sit on the bed and blows out the three candles ending the initiation. Again, this practice is only carried out in weddings from the Brunei Muara District.

Brunei sultan's daughter weds in spectacular ceremony

Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, 32, and Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, 29, were presented to the royal court in a lavish traditional ceremony at the sultan's 1,700-room palace on Sunday.

Although the couples were legally wed on Thursday after signing the marriage contract, Sunday's event marks the height of more than a week of festivities in the tiny oil-rich Muslim sultanate on Borneo Island.

The bride, dressed in a crystal-beaded beige and silver gown, was ushered into the throne room by sixteen royal guards carrying ceremonial spears and shields.

She was seated at the head of the hall in front of 3,000 guests, including Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Philippines President Benigno Aquino and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Visibly nervous, the groom, wearing beige and gold brocade to complement his wife's ensemble, was escorted to the bridal dias where the sultan took Ruzaini's hand and placed it on the bride's forehead -- a symbolic blessing and gesture of affection in Malay culture.

The monarch also bestowed the groom with the royal title "Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak", which roughly translates as "Son of His Highness" and is reserved only for the upper tiers of Brunei's aristocracy.

Two pots of crystal flowers, with eggs tied on to the stalks, were placed next to the bride and groom on the dias to represent the hope of a fertile marriage.

The brief 20-minute ceremony concluded with the state religious leader reading a prayer for the newlyweds asking for God's blessing of the union.

As the smiling couples were ushered out of the room by the bride's younger brother Prince Abdul Mateen, they took turns to kiss the hands of the royal family, including the monarch and Queen Saleha.

A state banquet will be held in the evening, where Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other foreign dignitaries are expected to attend.

ueen Elizabeth II also sent a message to the Brunei royal family -- which has ruled the sultanate for 600 years -- congratulating the newlyweds and wishing them "a happy wedding day and many blessed years together".

The pomp and pageantry of the royal wedding is a rare source of excitement in Brunei, which is known for its slow pace of life and lack of nightlife -- alcohol is largely banned under Islamic practice.

It is the first time one of the sultan's children -- five sons and seven daughters from three marriages -- has married since 2007.

Hafizah, who has a degree in business administration, is the fifth child of the sultan and Queen Saleha and works as an officer at the finance ministry. Ruzaini is a civil servant in the prime minister's office.

The sultanate, which dates back to the 15th century, is a Malay Muslim absolute monarchy which gained full independence from Britain in 1984.

Situated on a sliver of Borneo island, with Malaysia and Indonesia occupying the rest, it is a major producer of oil and liquefied natural gas.

The energy wealth has brought Brunei's citizens, who number fewer than 400,000, one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia.