The family of a young man will usually decide on a young woman they would prefer their son to marry. Their decision is made known to their son, who will tell his parents how he feels about the choice. Upon his acceptance, the young woman is asked if she has any strong feelings against the union as it has been proposed. If she does not, an intermediate is used to determine if a bride's parents will be receptive to the proposal; if an acceptance is likely, the interceder will propose a marriage to the family of the bride.
The formal announcement of the marriage takes place
at the Engagement Meeting, with the readings from the Quran
and the cleansing ceremony taking place.
The intercedent may be accompanied by other representatives of the groom to make the formal marriage proposal. This proposal will take place at a ceremony where refreshments will be served. Giving of gifts is an important aspect of this ceremony, with the bride's family receiving gifts from that of the groom. A bride with a higher social status means that the groom's family has to ask what gifts are preferred, while equal rank means that the groom's family may give whatever gifts they choose.
Similarities between cultures
While each tribe of Indonesia has its own wedding customs,
there are several aspects of Indonesian wedding ceremonies
that are similar to each ethnicity.
• Indonesian weddings are large. Everyone remotely
associated with the couple are invited. Attendance is mandatory,
if the guest wishes not to offend the hosts.
• Receptions are raucous affairs, with dancing, many
dishes of food, and elaborate dresses.
• Among the Bugis, the marriage ceremony is known as
the nikah. The groom’s mother and father do not attend
this ceremony, which is conducted by an imam.
• In Northern Sumatra, the bride’s party recites
poetry to welcome the groom to the bride’s home, where
the ceremony is performed.
• On Bali, groom wears a sword during the wedding.
• On Java, the bride and groom both sit on the lap of
the father of the bride, one on each leg. The father states
that both of the individuals weigh the same; this symbolizes
that the couple are equal as individuals in the eyes of their
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