Today being Sunday means someone somewhere (or rather in Brunei's context) a lot of ones are getting married in a lot of wheres but what gets me is that it has to be held at the height of noon. I have mentioned this once in a previous blog on spaces.msn about why must Brunei Malays have wedding ceremonies at the height of the day when the sun is right on top of us and the temperature is at its highest? For crying out loud, this is Brunei - a country smacked in the middle of the tropical equator with sunshine second to none. Maybe one day, one day, we will change the time of the ceremonies. I will start when my 6 year old son finally gets married in about two decades from now.
Two years ago, I was in Johor for my Malaysian cousin's wedding. It was a different wedding compared to the Brunei wedding. The jemputan (guests) were invited to come from about 10 am to 5 pm, so guests can actually choose to come at whatever time that suits them. You can come late if you have another 10 weddings to attend before that or come early if you have another 10 to go to. My uncle only had to prepare four tents instead of the 50 tents that we have over here in Brunei. We only served food to the guests when they come. But what I love is that we can avoid the hot noon sun if we wanted to. All in all, I thought that wedding ceremony was a lot more flexible than ours compared to the ones in Brunei.
Presumably the Malaysian wedding ceremony styles have changed to suit their culture and social changes. Our wedding ceremonies too have changed tremendously. For instance our tents which we now used are metal and can be dismantled and reused. About 25 years ago, I remembered if you want to hold a wedding ceremony, you have to construct your own tents or rather construct the frame complete with wooden or bamboo chairs and tables. You have to go rent the canvas for the top covering from someone; and before canvas arrived, you have to get coconut leaves as the roof covering. The food served too have changed. At the weddings, guests used to be served together with food, cigarettes (555 brand) and bananas. Prior to that, guests were even fetched from their houses. This was a Kampung Ayer practise which made the rounds even when our people had moved to the ground when guests were invited using perahus and on dry land, guests were invited by cars.
One practise which has disappeared is the 'sirih pinang' - this is when during the first night the groom and the bride retire together, they are asked to take with them a piece of white cloth. The purpose of which is to prove the existence of virgin blood to the family the next day. Hmmm. The first time I heard that, I have always wondered if whatever reason there was no blood. You better retire with a needle to get some spots on that white cloth! There are a number of other practises which remain but maybe I will reserve that for future blogs.