Adat Resam Perkahwinan

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for all these “adat temurun” practices, but there are many terms that I don’t understand, or certain customs that I’m not even sure of the name. Even my mom, when wanting to pass down these customs to my wedding, found it hard to explain the terms in a way that I could understand, because most of her wedding preparations was done by my grandmum. Kirakan, she just sailed through her wedding pretty obliviously heheh. Luckily enough, my aunt from KL, who does kahwin2 stuff in her free time like arranging barang hantaran etc, came down to give our family a visit recently. I knew she would be knowledgeable about all the customs practiced in our family, so I asked her if she could explain some for me. Some of them were:-


Malam Berinai

Unlike current “Henna Night” practices where professional henna artists are hired, traditionally this night is where the closest female relatives will come over to the bride’s place to help put on her bridal henna and also take turns on each other. This sounds like it can be potentially kecoh and fun! Brings families closer together, especially when your henna is done lovingly by your family members. In the past, the bride even goes through some costume changes for photo shoot purposes, which is hardly done anymore.


Mandi Bunga / Siraman

In the past, especially pre-Islamic times, usually the family will call upon someone yang berilmu to siramkan air bunga on the bride to cleanse her and ward off any unpleasant things. Nowadays, my aunt mentioned that “kita hanya ambil adat yang baik aje”, so if we were to practice this, tak perlu lah panggil bomoh segala. Moreover, she said that flowers contain this natural, pleasant-smelling aura that can have a positive effect on the bride, and also to signify her as a “flower” that hasn’t been touched. Cheyyy bedah! And unlike being previously done depan khalayak ramai, this siraman should only be done among closest mahrams untuk menjaga aurat pengantin perempuan. This really appeals to me, as my mom also had this done on her, and she mentioned it was very refreshing after that! All we need is a big container (tembaga) and mix water with some of your favourite flowers, and a gayung to scoop the air bunga onto the bride. But of course kalau semangat, boleh buat cantik2 macam gini lahhh (but truthfully I’d prefer an intimate one with just me and my mom) :



Usually flowers used are comprised from the bunga rampai as they are sweet-smelling.

(Source: Jentayu Gallery)


This used to involve sprinkling air mawar onto the palms of the bride/groom, then lightly throwing dough or rice onto them, as a sign of good luck and warding bad spirits away. Since this belief cannot be taken into account anymore as it is syirik, plus throwing beras/tepung is like tengah buang rezeki, again we take only yang baik by preserving the adat but switching them to throwing bunga rampai or rose petals instead, just to pass on the aura to the newly weds. I’m seriously love this adat; I find it intriguing, and gives a chance for the elders to have some personal time with the newlyweds to slip in some words of advice and blessings, symbolising our Malay culture of respecting the older generation. So glad that my mom still keeps the apparatus (i think it’s called tepak sirih and the alat perenjis) so I can use it during the wedding and continue passing it on yayyy!



(Source: Chase Hasemi)


Bunga Pahar / Bunga Telur

By right, this should be given to those sedara-mara terdekat yang merenjis. So after merenjis-ing, they proceed to take one. One would need only either bunga pahar or bunga telur, because basically it’s the same thing. Just that you have a choice; if you give a full-size boiled telur (usually wrapped in a net and attached to a flower) then it’s called bunga telur, and if you were to give pulut pahar (which is usually pulut and boiled quail eggs) then it would be called bunga pahar. This symbolises fertility, with the eggs and also the pulut(rice) which means rezeki, probably in the form of offsprings.


Bunga telur by Jentayu Gallery


Bunga pahar at my friend Lily’s wedding. So creative kannn!

Bunga Rampai

Commonly used interchangeably with bunga telur/pahar, this berkat is actually to be given out to people who attended the majlis pernikahan as a token of gratitude. But since the practice of merenjis is rarely carried out anymore, these three types of berkats are almost all regarded as the same thing now.


I love how current trends do not stick to the conventional bunga rampai mixture, and venturing into using other flowers like full roses which can be much prettier than the traditional kind!

(Source: Chase Hasemi)

Sireh Junjung / Sireh Dara

From the name, I think it’s supposed to symbolise the “dara-ness” of the bride. I feel it’s quite weird to portray the bride’s virginity out in the open and to symbolise it in this form. So kalau kahwin dengan janda macam mana? Tak dapat ke? Wouldn’t that be rude? So yeahhhh I kind of feel this is an unnecessary display, but memang ikut our culture, shows that it really values and respects woman ahhh. ANYWAYS, it’s supposed to be initiated by the groom and has to be reciprocated by the girl’s side as part of the exchange of wedding trays. After that, it’s supposed to be placed in the centre of the pelamin, in between the bride and groom, as a centrepiece but also to show that distance between them and to symbolise that dara-ness is still there because they havent well… spent their first night hahaha. Then the bunga pahar/bunga telur, usually two of them, one will be placed on the right and left of the pelamin, like so:


(Source: Jentayu Gallery)

I feel much clearer after talking to my aunt and more confident to use these terms now that I understand them more thoroughly. There may have been some things she said that you many not agree with, but like I said, these are what my family has been practising and customs differ across different families and heritages, so to each his own lah kan. And it would be so interesting to incorporate all these into my wedding! Extra cost? Maybe. It may also be an extra step for some, melecehkan even, but if we as the current generation do not practice these precious customs, then there might not be any left for us to pass down anymore. Sedih or whaaaat. Jangan macam gini ah please guys!! Chey passionate ke pe, hahahaha.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s