Dave Gullett

a miscellanea

A Javanese Wedding

The past few days since returning from our stay with our Indonesian hosts have been very eventful. This weekend we were privileged to be invited to a traditional Javanese wedding between one of the staff here and her fiancé. The ceremony can last up to seven days, though in Jakarta they are often shortened to a weekend. Some aspects of the ceremony are held privately and separately for the bride and groom and their families. The part which we attended on Friday afternoon was the Siraman, or ritual bathing. The bride is bathed with scented water by her parents and distinguished female relatives as a symbol of her purity. The ceremony took place in a garden like area of the family home, decorated with flowers and was accompanied by a traditional Javanese band. After the bathing, the guests are given Javanese coins to exchange with the parents for a kind of brown sugar beverage. Then the father releases a chicken which guest must catch as s symbol of good fortune for the marriage. Then there is the meal. And like most Indonesian meals they don’t hold much back. The variety and quantity of the food is amazing. The ceremony ends with greeting the bridal parents as you leave, since traditionally the bride is kept in seclusion until the next day. Saturday afternoon we attended what was basically the reception. The marriage ceremony, held earlier in private, is reenacted for the viewing of the guests. There is a lot of ritual and tradition in how the ceremony progresses and it is full of beauty. As the couple are Christians, it differed somewhat from the true traditional ritual, but held as close as possible to its form. The end of the reception was marked by another large meal and lots of celebrating. With all the ceremony, picture taking and feasting we didn’t make it back to the guest house til very late. There isn’t enough time to describe the whole thing in the detail it deserves, but these sites might help a little: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Pagoda/4455/inhoud.htm http://website.lineone.net/~suryo/suryowed.html(Bear in mind that they are outside links) The most obvious differences of the Javanese wedding are its adherence to tradition al culture and its emphasis on the whole involvement of both families. All in all it was an amazing experience to be allowed to be a part of.