Wedding Traditions in Indonesia
Despite recent tragedies and civil unrest, Indonesia is breathtakingly beautiful with its sultry beaches, magnificent mountains, and volcanoes. It’s also full of traditions — find out what some of them are and discover how you can incorporate them into your own wedding.
Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. A man declares his intentions to marry by sending gifts to his intended’s father with the message that he would like “a sarong (cloth) to wrap around his body.” If the offer is accepted, there is a kawissoro (engagement meeting) where the sarong is presented and attendants chew betel nuts to celebrate.
A penghulu (imam) presides over the ceremony, reciting the Islamic creed and verses from the Koran while sprinkling the couple with henna and water to purify them. In Java, the bride is secluded for some time after the ceremony to protect her from evil spirits. In Bali, the couple lies on a table face down with their faces over the edge and their incisors are filed (a traditional Balinese rite of passage).
The groom dresses in silk trousers, the new sarong from his engagement, and a white shirt, plus a traditional kris (dagger) to ward off evil spirits. The bride also wears silk pants and a sarong.
With a red scarf wound around their necks, the newlyweds play-act cooking rice in a pot to symbolize their sharing of domestic life.
Food, Drink & Toasts
At the pesta (feast), the couple sits atop a wedding dais and is served a traditional meal of rice and palm sugar.
Tips and Ideas for Incorporating Traditions Into Your Modern-Day Wedding
- You may not be so keen on wearing pants to your wedding, but a silk dress would be beautiful and in the same realm of tradition!