Last weekend, I got to go to a pre-wedding ceremony for mbak Sinta, who works at the International Office at UNY. The pre-wedding ceremony is all about the bride. It is even more important and longer than the actual wedding, which is held the day after. There were many guests there, and we all sat in chairs and listened to many speeches. Indonesians love speeches! We even got to have a snack, given in a small cardboard box while we listened to the speeches. Everyone was dressed up in beautiful, traditional batik.
There were people sitting inside the house, these seats were reserved for the guests of honour and the close family, and then there were chairs outside the house on the large veranda, and outside in the front yard too.
After the speeches, we went to a small side room, and the bride-to-be sat in a chair, and was anointed and cleansed with water and flower petals. After her parents poured water over her head, other important people were called up to pour water, and wash mbak Sinta’s arms and legs too. During this part of the ceremony, the list of people called upon was in the high speech register of Javanese, which is called “kromo”. Then, her father cut a piece of her hair, and put it into another bowl with water and flower petals. A little bit later, her parents buried the contents of this bowl in their front garden.
After this part, all the guests had lunch; there was lots and lots of food. I had rice with spinach, bean sprouts, and some shredded coconut and spicy peanut sauce, this is called nasi pecel. It is my favourite dish here. And for desert, I had salak, snake fruit. They are quite hard to peel, but it’s worth the effort!
After the lunch, we “bought” a “drink” from the bride’s parents, presenting them with this coin. The drink is made out of rice flour goo and coconut milk and lots o’ sugar. This part of the ceremony is called the “Siraman”. Then we chatted and met people and thanked the parents of the bride for having us!