Friday, October 15, 2010

CEREMONIES OF LIFE

a.
A ring being placed on the finger of the young lady. She must be thankful and grateful for this special day in her life.

 
b.
         The delegation brought five gifts with them. In return it's  seven pieces for them to take home.


THERE ARE CEREMONIES. A GALORE OF THEM. STATE AND NATIONAL CEREMONIES ARE NO EXCEPTION.

But through out our live ceremonies hemmed in too never sparing their calling and demand. Yet many a time we forget about them because they are not official yet they contribute to be part of our well being, development and maturity dictating our culture and beliefs. You may have just celebrated a birthday, maybe your own or your darling's wife or your daughter's.It is a simple case of reminding that they have added another notches in their life's and a fervent wish for many happier occasions to come. No elaborate planning at all.



When you help to orchestrate such celebration then you may realize their significance and their enduring attachments to our live circles. Last Sunday I was asked to help in a ceremony that saw the enjoining of two souls that simply marked their new adventure in live. "Majlis Perjodohan dan Pertunangan" you may call it. It's an engagement do yet rich in its ways, simple and can be complicated if handled amiss. No it is not simply the giving of a ring to the girl of his choice but the attendance of representatives from the lad's family to the girl's house or in this case at our home. At a prearranged time they arrived. The space between 'Zohor' and 'Asar' would be a good choice. All were welcomed and invited in. Pak Cik, Mak Cik, Abang and Kakak 'bersalaman' greeting each other in our best traditions. 

The living room is spacious enough to allow the guests and the hosts to sit down on the carpeted floor. The living room furniture has been put aside otherwise hindrances to such occasions or when congregations met for prayer and 'doa' at home. The room now gave a voluminous feel void of the decorative furniture. Being the host  and representative I greeted all in the customary tradition thanking all for their attendance and visitation.

The delegation too had brought with them several trays with 'gifts' for the occasion including the indomitable 'bekas sirih' ( betel leaves container). These were placed in the middle of the room. Tact and humour thrown in I mentioned that not often that we had visitors like this at home. "It is pleasant and great of course but why the trays and their contents? " Pak Hj Ayob a man of experience and equally my age too took the mike that was handed to him, recited some 'surah' and graciously thanked us for the friendly welcome. He conveyed 'salam' from the families at Padang Serai Pokok Sena where they came from and expressed their true intentions. The mike helped to define what were said and helped to focus the attendees attentions. A stage known as "meresik" or seeking to know if the flower in the garden has been plucked yet has not become necessary as the visitors have been consented to approach. And so they did today in respect of an engagement for the 'dara' and 'teruna', the former being my niece and subsequent arrangements if there is agreement or consent. The gifts they brought along included a ring symbolic of acceptance. Simplicity reigned as the issue has no doubt been acknowledged earlier. Only the verbal consent by me as spoke person would seal the agreement. Only then we moved further to the next stages.

"Syukur" and "Alhamdullilah" expressed. That done, now come to declaring the "mas kahwin", "belanja kahwin" and other "hantaran" or gifts on the part of the would be bridegroom on the wedding day. The first two items are necessary while the the gifts are left to discretion. Necessarily a piece of ring, gold and diamond is an added request. As spokes person I mentioned the request as earlier conveyed to me by the parents of the would be bride. The request was accepted. Imagine if the demand is high and the representation could not decide promptly. Anyway when it comes to such issue I suppose discretion takes its direction. Face value is at the forefront. Negotiation at its simplest order could be said to be the procedure then. All went smoothly. Yet I have seen proceedings that lasted longer than it should just because too many questions were asked and no answers given. 

This is one ceremony. A very important one at that. It marks an extraordinary stage in the life of a young man and a young woman. It meant that two persons have found love and blessed with their parents acceptance and commitment they would soon embark on a life of their own. They would leave their families, away from the confine and control of their parents to start a life and family of their own. Maturity and independence meet them soon. In the meantime officially engaged both the 'teruna' and 'dara' have to prepare for their up-coming marriage day with compulsory attendance at a marriage course plus other necessary duties. For sure they are reminded to uphold religious obligations and traditional decorum at all time.  

The gathering is not over yet. "Majlis menyarong cincin akan menyusuli". It was time for the young woman, the subject of this story to be sited amongst the gathering and the engagement ring to be placed on her finger. The honor is given to the mother of the bridegroom to be. She approached the young woman and lovingly placed a ring on the 'jari manis' of the left hand of Wan Nursyazwani bt Megat Nasir, her would be daughter-in-law.

Thus she and her family together with Megat Mohd Nasir and wiife would meet again to decide on the dates for the marriage ceremonies. Dates? It has to be at least two separate timing; one for the bride's side and another for the bridegroom.

The delegation left after a light refreshment. All were pleased with the outcome. Significantly it assures friendship and cordiality between people who were strangers only an hour or two ago. Personally I feel happy too to have helped and gained an experience not often offered to many persons.   

Looking back, there are many treasured moments that we experienced yet many escaped our attentions either because we were too young or since they were organised on our favour less our own involvement or commitments. The very day we were born is exemplary. Photos and videos now help to reminisce. Next perhaps our first day in school. Had our parents to stay back till the school break off at noon? How were we dressed and what of our first visitation to the school canteen? Majlis Berkhatan or circumcision is another with the added naughtiness and old traditions. Our acquirement of the first job, our marriage ceremonies etc all saw the involvement of our parents. They have been all along behind us assisting in no small way till we leave their homes to be on our own. Still the linkages continue with some unknowingly getting assistance even though their parents have aged. Yes ceremonies will continue till the last one. All along it has been with assistance of others: families, neighbors and friends.

I am reminded that many have helped me in seeing through the ceremonies of my life. Thank you. The least you could do in the seniority of age is to assist where and when it is due. Our definitions and commitments would help in circumstances where traditions seems unconcerning and forgotten. One last ceremony however, will not see you there helping out. Trusting only  others come forward.             
c

"Selamat Datang" Now don't we have a duty to perform this afternoon?Pak Hj Ayob now I leave it to you to say your pieces. We don't have scripts to read but it is intereting how things develop.




d

Tuan Hj Ayob representing the male side explaining his side of the story and the occasion can be pleasant as well as characteristic of our  tradition. Notice the five pieces of gifts that came together with the visitors.The betel leaf container takes the main position.  

10 comments:

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Orang Melayu penuh beradab dan beradat. Tetapi apabila orang-orang lama sudah tiada lagi, tak tahulah sejauh mana lagi adat-adat Melayu boleh bertahan?

KotaStar said...

Sdr Azizi,

Lama tak dengar berita. Blog pun sepi. I think you must meeting wth loads of works at the office.Anyhow good to see you again esp yr comment. I thought the article is something to write about remembering as you say we may forget many ..

Thanks

Padang Peri said...

"Looking back, there are many treasured moments that we experienced yet many escaped our attentions either because we were too young or since they were organised on our favour less our own involvement or commitments." these phrase mark our learning curve of life. We are still learning in our everyday busy life...

Al-Manar said...

Kota Star

I find that being a senior citizen I get more invitations to akad nikah ceremonies. That is a bonus we all enjoy , being appreciated.

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