6 Unique Wedding Traditions in Indonesia You Should Know

Indonesia is a country with rich cultural diversity and a variety of unique traditions. With lots of cultures in this country, there are also various marriage traditions. People from all over Indonesia such as the Javanese or the Bataknese have different traditions. Up until now, many Indonesians opt to have traditional wedding ceremonies as Indonesians are known to uphold their traditions to respect their elders and ancestors. You might be interested in the various marriage traditions here in Indonesia and want to know more about them. So, we have made a list of unique traditions you can find in Indonesia.

The Bride Proposing The Groom in Minangkabau

Bride Proposing The Groom in Minang

There is a unique twist in Minang marriage tradition. This is because the bride will be the one who will be proposing to the groom! It is very different than any other marriage tradition in Indonesia as well. The family of the bride will visit the groom’s family and they will propose to them with a ceremony. They will bring gifts to the groom’s family and the groom will choose either to accept or not. There is also a bachelorette party in the Minang wedding tradition! The night before the wedding, the bride will celebrate her last night as a single woman with her loved ones. The celebration is called Bainai Night and the bride-to-be will be given a nail polish from a crushed henna plant. The nail polish will give a pinkish hue to the bride’s nails and then the wedding can proceed. 

Sundanese Sungkeman Tradition

Sungkeman Tradition in Sunda

In the traditional Sundanese wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will do a Sungkeman. It is where both the bride and groom apologize to their parents about all of the mistakes they have made. Then there will do the Meuleum Harupat, where the groom will hold 7 sticks and the bride will light them. The groom will then dip the sticks in a water-filled jug to extinguish it and throw them away. This ceremony represents the husband’s anger that can be extinguished by the wife’s tenderness. After this ceremony, the bride and groom will have to do the Nincak Endok. it is where the groom will step on eggshells until it breaks and the wife will clean his feet afterward. Last and not least, the bride and groom will release white pigeons which symbolizes that they are ready to leave their parent’s nest.

Bataknese Sinamot Procession

Sinamot Procession in Batak

The Bataknese wedding ceremony might be one of the most expensive traditional weddings in Indonesia. There is a procession called Sinamot where both families of the bride and groom will negotiate the dowries. The dowries that will be given is usually determined by the career choice and social status of the bride’s family. The higher the status, the greater is the dowry given by the groom’s family. A lot of people would be thinking that Bataknese is very materialistic, but there is a reason behind it. The worth of the dowries is thought to keep the bride and groom from a divorce after the marriage. They will then initiate the Martumpol ceremony. This ceremony will be attended by both friends and families of the bride and groom. The ceremony will usually be held in the church because this ceremony is usually held by Christian Batak Toba people. 

Tidung People Tradition in Borneo

Tidung People Tradition from Borneo

This next wedding ceremony might seem very extreme to most of you out there. That is because the Tidung people from Borneo are prohibited to go to the bathroom during the wedding ceremony. The bridal couple will not be allowed to go to the toilet for any reason for 3 days and nights. During these three days, the bride and groom will be given a minimal portion of food and drinks. If it turns out that they fail, both of them will get disasters that will affect their wedding. Some of the disasters include things such as infidelity or the death of their child. After the three days have passed, they are obligated to return to their usual and normal habits. There are a lot of people who strongly disagree with this ceremony, but it’s still held to respect their ancestors. 

Also read the many culinary delights of Indonesia and where to find them!

Traditional Wedding in Bali

Traditional Marriage in Bali

In a traditional Balinese wedding, there are several steps of the ceremony differing from year to year. First, the bride and groom’s families will have to pick the perfect date for the wedding. After picking the date, they will have to do Ngekeb, which means that they need to prepare the bride. They will prepare the bride by picking the right dress and give her a full makeover. After that, the groom will “pick-up” the bride from their parents while bringing baskets. The baskets symbolize how the husband and wife must compliment each other. A cleansing ceremony called the Mendengen-dengengan will then be carried out. The ceremony will symbolize the cleansing of both the bride and groom of all their past mistakes.

Javanese Wedding Tradition

Javanese Wedding Tradition

The Javanese wedding tradition is probably one of the most common wedding ceremonies seen in Indonesia. Several stages need to be fulfilled by the bride and groom before the marriage. The first stage is the Serah-serahan where the groom will propose the bride with a ring, foods, and other things. The second part is the Siraman where the ritual is performed a day or two before the wedding. Then they will do the Midodareni at the night after the Siraman. The fourth stage is the Ngerik, where the bride’s face will be scraped to make her even more beautiful. Then it’s time for the wedding ceremony that will be held in a spiritual place based on their religion. 

So, these are 6 of the unique wedding traditions you can see in Indonesia. We hope this list can help you further understand Indonesian culture.  

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