Wedding for Minangkabau is a significant event, a family, especially if it has daughters, begins to save money almost from their very birth.
Traveling in Western Sumatra, you can often see beautiful tents, large, decorated with flowers stands and, of course, the flags of the Minangkabau on the way to the house where the celebration is held. In most cases this is a wedding.
A bit about the flag of Minangkabau. The flag of Minagkabau or Marawa has three colors: yellow, red, black. Yellow colour is symbolized the oldest region – Luhak, the vicinity of the volcano Merapi, the capital – Batusangkar. Red is the colour of the Luhak Agam region, it is Bukittingi and Maninjau, the capital is Lubuk Basung. Black is the colour of the Luhak Limo Puluh Kota region, the capital is Payakambuh. The The colour of the dress of the bride and groom matches the colour of the region of their origin.
You can attend the wedding as a guest, host or hero of the occasion.
If you are invited as a guest, then do not forget to prepare a gift, usually this is money put in an envelope, the amount is at your discretion. It’s good practice to come to the wedding after the time of Lohor, that is, after one o’clock in the afternoon. When approaching the house, you will be greeted by a Datuk (Datuk is the clan’s most respected man) or close relatives. Usually they are dressed in uniforms (identical or similar costumes).
At the entrance there is a table at which young girls are sitting, after you put your gift in a special box (usually a miniature copy of the Rumah Gadang which is the traditional house of Minangkabau), you sign in the guest book, and the girls give you a small gift in gratitude.
Next you are invited for lunch. Lunch can be traditional, that is, guests are sitting on the floor, treating traditional Padang Food. Minangkabau is eaten by hand, but you can feel free to ask for a spoon and a fork. At large weddings, food is presented as a buffet.
After the meal, you come to the bride and groom to congratulate them and take a picture for memory. The bride and groom are sitting on the throne, because on this day they are king and queen. The headdress of the groom is the headdress of the clan leader, and on the bride’s head, of amazing beauty, is a huge crown. The crown can be either rounded or in a shape resembling a buffalo horn.
If there is karaoke at the wedding, and the Indonesians love karaoke, then you can sit a bit, listen to the performers, and if you are invited, then sing. It’s not accepted to stay long, because invited guests at the wedding can be more than 1000 people.
In the event that the wedding is played by your close relatives or people who consider you to be part of the family, then any help is your responsibility. Most importantly, you must be present at the wedding all the time, and this is one or two full days, plus help in preparing for the wedding. Any help is appreciated: meeting guests, help in the kitchen, photographing, that is, what you have skills or opportunities in, whether material or physical.
Before the wedding, families should be introduced according to tradition or Adat (Adat is translated as “traditional behaviour”). Most couples knew each other from school, others met while studying at the university. So, the young people decided to get married. At the very beginning of the path to marriage, the mothers of the parties participate in the negotiations, no matter who starts the negotiations first. After this, according to tradition, the future bride and her uncle come to the groom’s house to get married, do not forget that we are talking about a matriarchal society. If everything is in order, the wedding day is set and preparation begins: renting tents, a throne, home decorations, renting or sewing a suit for the bride and groom and not one, ordering and paying for professional makeup for the bride, ordering fabric and sewing clothes for close relatives , ordering food, karaoke, possibly renting a room, buying furniture, arranging a room where the couple will live. Costs are borne by the bride’s family.
At the same time, the couple goes to the Office of Religion (Kantor Agama), and that’s how it is, because in Indonesia it is not accepted, or rather impossible to get married if the bride and groom have different religions. There they give documents and the day of the official ceremony is appointed, the ceremony is called “Nikah”. Nikah is a Muslim ceremony, symbolizes the conclusion of an agreement between the fathers of the parties on the transfer of responsibility of the care of the father for the daughter to her husband.
The Nikah can take place at the bride’s house, at the Religion Office or at the mosque, usually on Fridays. At the end of the ceremony, the groom receives a husband’s certificate, and the bride receives a wife’s certificate. After the ceremony, close relatives are invited to the wife’s house for a joint meal. On this the first day ends.
The second day of the celebration is less formal, but no less important. On this day, most guests come. The bride and groom spend almost the whole day on their throne, accept congratulations, interrupting only to eat, relax a bit and change their clothes.
After the wedding, following one tradition, the husband remains in his wife’s house (tradition of Luhak, the oldest region) according to other traditions, the husband returns to his mother’s house and only the next day moves to his wife’s house. From this moment begins a life together. The husband’s duties include not only taking care of his wife, but also of her relatives living under the same roof. Well, in the case of a quarrel between husband and wife, which is actually a matter of everyday life, the husband leaves for his mother’s house, this behaviour is called “bagani”. He can return only if the wife, in the presence of, for example, her uncle, asks him to return.