A Chetty wedding is an elaborate affair.
Chetty wedding slippers look like beaded Baba slippers.
Malay wedding couples on the dias.

Through sketches and demonstrations, the Melaka Traditional Weddings Appreciation event at Pesta Melaka 2017 throws light on the Malay, Chitty and Baba rituals, writes Zalina Mohd Som


SIDANG Muslihin Muhammad is in full character. He looks resplendent in a black baju Melayu with matching black-and-gold songket sampin, a songkok and a pair of leather capal (sandals).

In his deep masculine voice, he greets us with Assalamualaikum and then effortlessly continues with two sets of pantun (four-lined rhyming verses) as he ushers us to the foyer of the beautiful Hang Tuah Centre in Kampung Duyong, Melaka.

To our surprised reaction to his eloquent pantun recitation and fine attire, Muslihin responds, “This is our official attire for there’s proposal ceremony right after this and pantun welcomes are the norm at such events.

“In fact, we recite pantun at almost all of our traditional matrimonial practices. While there are popular often-used pantun, many are impromptu.”

“’We’ as in everyone in Melaka?” we ask.

“Oh, ‘we’ as in all the sidang or village headmen who are appointed by the State government,” replies Muslihin, who is also the secretary of Persatuan Ketua Kampung (Sidang) Melaka.

Representing a family in the adat nikah kahwin (wedding customs) is part and parcel of a sidang’s job.

“Usually, families of both parties will leave it to their respective sidang to run the show and it can be quite a show-stealer when the sidang ‘seals the deal’ in spontaneous pantun banter.”


ONE BIG CELEBRATION

But you know what? You can watch this colourful event staged at the Melaka Traditional Weddings Appreciation to be held at the Pesta Melaka 2017 this weekend.

“Visitors will see how the adat meminang (asking for the hand in marriage) is conducted as the sketch will be staged without a script, just like in a real event,” says Perbadadan Muzium Melaka general manager Datuk Khamis Abas.

The sketches on traditional Melaka weddings will include those from the Chitty and Baba communities, which are among the event’s highlights.

“There are similarities between these weddings which only goes to show the connection between the communities in Melaka,” Khamis says.

K. Nadarajan Raja, chairman of the Melaka Chitty Cultural Society, says Malay and Chitty weddings share many similarities.

“The most obvious is the bride’s wedding attire. We wear long kebaya or baju kurung just like the Malays. We also have the berinai and bersiram practices,” he adds.However, like the typical Hindu wedding, the Chitty wedding is also a long and elaborate affair.

While the sketches make for interesting scenarios for visitors, the exhibitions and seminar offer insight into traditional weddings that are not limited to Melaka but also participating states such as Perak, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Kedah.

The wedding exhibition will be open to visitors from Friday while a full-day seminar on traditional Melaka weddings takes place at Muzium Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam on Jalan Kota.

The celebration continues on Saturday with wedding-related demonstrations and competitions, a parade and a special rewang (community-based collaborative cooking activity). The day will end with an official opening ceremony.

On Sunday, the event goes full swing with a big kenduri kahwin (wedding reception) which is open to the public, before it ends with cultural shows and joget lambak, a traditional dance.


FAST FACTS

PERBADANAN MUZIUM MELAKA

WHERE Kompleks Warisan Melaka Jalan Kota, Banda Hilir Melaka

TEL 06-333 3333 FAX 06-282 6745

WEBSITE www.perzim.gov.my / facebook.com/MelakaMuseum


MELAKA TRADITIONAL WEDDINGS APPRECIATION

VENUE Muzium Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam, Jalan Kota, Melaka

DATES Nov 3-5

TIME 9am-6pm

SCEHEDULE

Nov 3

-Seminar on Traditional weddings in Melaka

-Exhibition on Traditional weddings in Melaka

Nov 4

-Demonstrations on multiracial proposal ceremonies.

-Parade of multi-racial traditional wedding attire.

-Competitions on hantaran (bridal gifts), betel leaves arrangement, yellow glutinous rice-making.

-Demonstration on henna ceremony.

-Open-to-public mass cooking.

-Official opening ceremony at 8pm.

Nov 5

-Parade of multi-racial traditional wedding attire.

-Demonstration on how to wear sanggul lintang, a traditional Malay headdress.

-Exhibition on traditional dias and wedding ceremonies.

-Wedding reception.

-Cultural show followed by joget lambak.

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