Blog / Wedding Ideas / A Simple Insight on Various Engagement Ceremony Traditions in Indonesia

A Simple Insight on Various Engagement Ceremony Traditions in Indonesia


When talking about the many traditions of engagement ceremonies and weddings in Indonesia, of course there is no end to it. In this modern era, many prospective brides and grooms have chosen to carry out a simple engagement ceremony while still inserting various elements of culture from the origin of both sides. Want to know what your traditional engagement ceremony is like? Check out our scope on the following engagement ceremony traditions!

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Photography: Alexo Pictures

1. Javanese

In the Javanese custom engagement ceremony, an official meeting is held between the two parents, and it is necessary to involve the presence of several witnesses. If the woman agrees with the proposal by the man, then the agreement is sealed with a paningset. This paningset concept is a tradition that binds both parties. There is a penalty if one broke the agreement. Generally, the paningset is handed over by the prospective groom to the bride no later than five days before the marriage ceremony is held. However, the gifts or srah-srahan procession is often also combined with midodareni ceremony. There are also three types of Javanese paningset, namely the main paningset consisting of plain rings without diamond beads and a set of women's clothing, a paningset abon-abon which consists of various foods that have their own meaning, and the accompaniment of various kinds of produce, including rice, tubers, and so on.

2. Sundanese

Before holding a traditional Sundanese application, the man who want to propose needs to do a conversation first. The process is quite simple where parents or family's trustees of both parties meet and set the date of the engagement ceremony. The engagement ceremony itself is called narosan or ngalamar. The man will bring a few items, such as food, rings, betel nut, and women's clothings which certainly have their own meaning. Each family then chooses someone who is considered experienced or representatives of both families as a spokesperson. Details for the upcoming wedding are also generally discussed at this event.

3. Riau Malay

The engagement procession in Riau Malay custom begins with the process of snapping needles or otherwise called as ' merisik'. This process is carried out secretly by the man to the woman proposed. The appointed representative who will gather information about the woman's family has to be a person who gets full trust from the parents and from the family of the man. The next step is the proposal. In this event, the family from the groom-to-be announce that they would visit the woman's house to propose. The woman's family then prepares various traditional items, such as tepak sirih to complete with its contents. After the delegation from the man's family came, the women's family will start the process of sorong tepak as a sign of reception with a sincere heart. Then, the engagement ceremony is continued with a welcoming word that began with a set of Malay rhymes.

4. Batak

The official engagement ceremony in Batak customs is called marhusip. During marhusip, a large family from the groom's side will carry a delivery of pinu lobu or pork (can also be replaced with a beef), whereas the bride must prepare a dekke or a goldfish to signal her readiness to receive the arrival of a large family. The two extended families then sit face to face and are represented by the raja parhata from each party who will exchange rhymes to begin the engagement procession. When the two big families have reached an agreement, then the prospective bride shows herself to meet the man who proposed to her. Then, the prospective groom will be given ingot ingot which is money on rice as a reminder for the next traditional ceremony.

5. Betawi

Like any other engagement ceremony, the groom's family will visit the women's residence. A matchmaker or mak comblang who serve as a spokesman for the family of the groom is also present. There are also several gifts of Betawi customs that must be brought by the man's family, such as sirih lamaran: a complete set of beautiful betel as a symbol of honor and appreciation for the family of the woman. After the proposal from the man has reached an understanding from both parties, the man's family will come back to the woman's house a week later to bring tande putus, which is usually a ring to mark the girl being bound to him and cannot be contested by another party.

6. Minangkabau

The Minangkabau custom engagement ceremony is different from the traditional proposal in general. The Minang culture adheres to a matrilineal system, so the application procession is carried out by the family of the bride to the family of the groom who are going to be proposed. The Minang traditional proposal process is called maminang. During maminang, baruka tando is held in which the two parties exchange signs as a symbol of the agreement of the marriage plan. The objects that are exchanged are heirlooms, such as keris or traditional fabrics that are rich in history. There are also some mandatory gifts, such as betel nut which symbolizes the acceptance of shortcomings from both parties.

7. Bugis

Bugis traditional engagement procession is called mappettuada. Mappettu means 'decide' and ada means 'word', so this event is essentially a negotiation between the man's family and the woman's family. The event is attended by the family of the man's side at the residence of the prospective bride. During the procession, various kinds of traditional traditional Bugis cakes are served to the families of prospective groom. The man brings coconuts that are sprouting as a symbol of prosperity and prayer for the bride and groom to be able to benefit from all sides of life, just like a coconut tree. After finishing eating the traditional cake and accepting the proposal, the family will discuss the wedding day, time, and other details together.

8. Bali

The traditional Balinese engagement ceremony is quite simple. The first step is to choose a good date and day according to the Balinese calendar. Such proposals are generally carried out by the family members of the groom-to-be who visit the house of the prospective bride. However, because Bali has a caste system, sometimes proposals like this cannot be implemented. If the prospective bride is a member of a higher caste than the prospective groom, the woman will be 'kidnapped' to the groom's house. Then, the whole family of the man will come to the woman's family house to say that their daughter will marry and ask for the blessing from her family. In both scenarios, all conversations, including the marriage details, must be carried out by the family elders. There are no gifts in Balinese custom engagements, only sesajen offerings with extensive ingredients than usual.

9. Chinese

The engagement ceremony in the Chinese tradition in Indonesia is referred to as dingjing. The event begins with a welcome to the family of the man who also bring trays of gifts for the woman's family. There are six types of personalized trays that are mandatory, namely boy and girl cake, sesame cake, rice cake, sponge cake, cake and also ting-ting candy, as well as oranges and apples. Usually the decoration for the gifts is all red, following the look of Chinese clothes. The number of trays and the contents in the tray must be an even number and start at six, because two is considered too few and four has a negative meaning in Chinese Language. After the man has conveyed his purpose and his proposal has been accepted, the eldest woman or mother puts on a necklace to the woman as a sign of binding the woman. At the end of the event, a portion of the gifts will be returned to the prospective groom's family as a symbol that the prospective bride's family does not fully hand over their daughter to the prospective groom's family.

10. Manado

The Maso minta from the Minahasa tribe is the most common engagement ceremony from Manado customs. The ceremony begins with toki pintu or "knock on the door" where the bride's residence must be completely quiet, all the windows and doors are closed, and the lights are turned off. Soon after, the man will knock on the door of the woman's residence three times, then the door can be opened. During this event, the woman is not allowed to go out to meet the prospective groom. The man must ask to meet her three times first before the prospective bride can show herself. There is a bargaining procession by the representatives of the woman's family regarding the objects given as gifts by the man's family, and also pepeko'an which is calculating the number of objects in the gift trays to see if it suits the wishes of the prospective bride's family. The conductive objects that are generally carried during the maso minta are traditional Minahasa woven fabrics, tubers or grains, fruits especially bananas, a set of clothing and cosmetics, jewelery, as well as various typical Manado snacks.

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