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The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession

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Photography: David Salim Photography

Traditional weddings won't be complete without going through every rite and custom there is. Even so, most peope have started to leave behind traditional wedding processions, even though there are profound meanings behind each one of them. Today, we are going to pry into a Sundanese traditional procession called Ngeuyeuk Seureuh. This procession have become more known after being held by Raisa and Hamish Daud. However, what actually is Ngeuyeuk Seureuh procession?

The word ngeuyeuk seureuh originated from the Sundanese word 'ngaheuyeuk' which means process. The purpose of this procession is to ask for blessings from both sets of parents at the soon-to-be bride's home. Usually this procession is held the night before the wedding day together with the seserahan procession. It's also used to advise the bride and groom regarding marriage life and oftentimes, sex education.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 1

Photo by David Salim Photography

Ngeuyeuk seureuh is lead by an elderly woman who has a thorough understanding about the procession called Nini Pangeuyeuk. As for the guests, not everyone can attend this procession, only the bride and groom, along with their closest family and any elder who holds a spesific role in the procession. Not only that, a virgin and an adult who hasn't married are also probihited from attending the ceremony.

Through this procession, the couple is hoped to personify the Sundanese proverb 'kawas gula jeung peuet' which meands 'just like cooked sugar and nira (a sweet fluid from the stem of a plant).' This proverb portrays a life lived in harmony, where the people love each other and try their hardest to avoid dispute.

For further explanation, here are the steps to ngeuyeuk seureuh procession and the meaning behind them :

1. To start the procession, nini pangeuyeuk will give seven thread of kanteh yarn (a weaving yarn) as long as two spans of palm to the couple. The couple then will sit facing the parents while holding both ends of the yarn, which symbolizes love, to ask for their blessing. After giving their blessing, the parents will cut the yarns to start the procession.

2. Nini pangeuyeuk then will chant a verse which consist of wishes and prayers to the Almighty while showering rice to the couple, as a symbol for prosperity.

3. Afterwards,the couple will be hit slowly with broom stick, while given advice on marriage life. This is done so they can nourish love for each other and willing to work hard for their family.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 2

Photo by David Salim Photography

4. The white cloth covering the 'pangeuyeukan' is opened, as a symbol of faultless marriage. The couple then will carry a set of clothes on top of the pelekat fabric (sarong), which signifes the teamwork of husband and wife in their marriage.

5. Both sets of clothes carried will be brought to the bridal room, symbolizing the union of all their wealth that have to be treasured together, including nonmaterial wealth like parents. The groom then will come inside the bride's room as a sign that he is the only man that's allowed to enter that room.

6. After that, the groom needs to halve the mayang jambe carefully, so it won't be destroyed. Mayang jambe symbolizes the tenderness of a woman's heart, thus the husband has to treat his wife with patience and wisdom.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 3

Photo by David Salim Photography

7. Later, the groom will also be asked to halve a pinang (areca nut), which represents what a husband and wife has to be, pinang dibelah dua (two peas in a pod), This also epitomized the three primary views in life for the Sundanese, 'silih asih, silih asuh, dan silih asah' which means loving, treasuring and teaching each other. The soon-to-be groom then will pound the pestle to the mortar that is held by the bride.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 4

Photo by Derzia Photolab

8. Next, the couple will make lungkun, a betel leaf that is rolled into one and tied with kanteh yarn thread. This is done by the couple, along with every elder that is present, as a sign of harmony. The rest of the betel then will be given to every guests. This means that if in the future, the couple has abundant fortune, they will share it with their family in need.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 5

Photo by David Salim Photography

9. The couple and guests then will scramble to gather coins that has been put under the rug, upon nini pangeuyeuk's cue. This symbolizes that a husband and wife are willing to work hard for the prosperity of their family and also for the love of their family.

10. The remnant of ngeuyeuk seureuh then will be thrown into a crossroad by the couple and elders. After throwing it away, they are not allowed to look back towards the remnants. This is believed as a sign that the couple has thrown away all negative things and wishes for a happily ever after in marriage. The remnants are thrown at a crossroad so that the bad things from the four winds wouldn't be bestowed upon the couple.

The Meaning behind Ngeuyeuk Seureuh Procession Image 6

Photo by Antijitters Photo

11. Last but not least is to ignite seven candles. This is based on Sundanese cosmology about the days that's light up by the sun and signifies the hope and honesty in building a household.

That's all the meaning behind ngeuyeuk seureuh procession! Very intriguing, isn't it? Share your thoughts on the comments section below!

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