Sundanese Traditional Bathing Ceremony
I just arrived in this beautiful city for few days to visit my relative families here after more than twenty years not seeing each other. When one of my relatives asked me to accompany her to attend the wedding of one of her best friend's wedding.
I thought it was going a modern wedding ceremony where people had usually had in these days. I was wrong. This particular wedding ceremony was very impressed me because it was such a glorious wedding of traditional Sundanese wedding. Only few people want to get married traditionally, not just because the costs to celebrate is expensive, and also it takes a lot of efforts to have all the procedures done.
There are many ceremony of traditional wedding around the world. Even in one country, they got different ritual ceremony which able to show their own amazing cultures. The way of the ceremony taken place will described their culture.
Sundanese is one of the largest ethnic in West Java, Indonesia. As far as I know, most of the traditional weddings in Indonesia have got their own religious ritual. I was feeling lucky to be on this ritual bathing ceremony and witness all those procedures. That I think was unique because not many traditional wedding is around these days.
There are few segments for bridge and groom to get involved before the final day of wedding. The bathing ceremony is one of them. The bathing ceremony is usually conducted one day before the wedding day. Both the bride and the groom are showered by her or his elders. This showering ceremony was taking place on bride's place in the morning.
Before the bathing ceremony had begun some women were chanting some phrases from the Koran lead by one woman, who gave a short speech, advising either bride and groom about their future and their duties each etc.
The ceremony was guided by MC, who knows the procedures of Sundanese traditional wedding. They conduct the ritual, read some poetic sentences. This ritual started when she asked the parents of the bride to look closely at her daughter who was sitting in front of them on the floor while the parents sat on the chairs, reminding them of who they have been all those years. All women were wearing the traditional clothing called "Kebaya".
Basically the bride asks for permission to get on with her life outside own her home, and the parents said that they would let her go, to lead her to her new life as a wife, because they has approved of her choice of a man as a husband. They words were not clearly heard, ?cause they were sobbing while they were speaking.
Afterwards, it was time to shower the bride with flowery water. The traditional utensils made from gold plated bronze for this bathing ceremony also have been used. The parents of the bride took the first place in this followed by the other members of the families.
The same thing was repeated for the groom and all of his families. However this time the parents of the groom were asking to pour the water from the small bottle, made of clay, into the bowl full with flower which brought by the groom. This is a symbol of pouring parents love over him.
The ritual was even more touching me when the groom asked the parents to put their feet on his lap (on s small cloth), rubbed them with the flowery water, dried them off and sprayed them with a perfume and kisses them. In Islam it says "Haven is at the sole of a mother's feet".
Before the showering, like the bride, the groom was asking their parents as well to get blessing to get into his life as a husband. The groom also was wearing a traditional sarong with white t-shirt, over which he wore a knitted vest made of jasmine flowers.
This particular wedding reception need to be maintained, not just because it a unique also symbol of their culture, more over it is one of an attractive tourist activity.
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Published on 10/22/03