Saturday, May 9, 2009

Neighborhood Wedding

Anyone living in Malaysia for more than a few months will be subject to multiple wedding invitations during The Wedding Season. The Wedding Season runs year-round, but does tend to pick up closer to the school holidays, which normally fall in late November and early December, and the May/June period. Of course it is not usually the actual wedding ceremony to which one gets invited as a colleague, neighbor, tea-stall buddy or otherwise, but rather one of the two kenduris put on by either the bride's family in her kampung, or the groom's family in his kampung.
(Right: Thursdays setup)

This weekend we had a neighborhood wedding kenduri for the daughter of one of my neighbors. The caterers hired to do the kenduri began setting up on Thursday for the Saturday affair, and put up five tents blocking half of the road leading to our house. As can be seen from the photos, these tents are quite elaborate in that they have built-in fans and lighting which makes for a more pleasant time for conversation with the other invitees.

This particular kenduri had five tents in a row, which blocked off the driveways for several houses (5-6 houses). This being Malaysia, however, no one gets upset as neighbors extend the "live-and-let live" attitude to each other. Someday they will host their own kenduri and the same neighborliness will be extended to them also.

(Left: Fans keep the wedding crowd cool)

Typical food served at kenduris are at least a couple of different types of rice dishes (plain white rice and minyak rice, a mixture of oil and fragrant spices), with both chicken and beef pieces and sauces. Side dishes include acar, a spicy mix of pickled carrots, cucumbers and pineapple, and spicy sauces for whomever NOTHING is spicy enough! The typical Wedding Drink is air mawar -literally rose water- which is a red rose-infused syrup mixed with water.

Typically gifts to the bride and groom are given only by their peers, i.e., fellow classmates, co-workers and friends who are of the same age group. Older people give a monetary gift to the father of the bride to help offset the expense. One simply presses money into the palm of the father as you greet him upon entry or exit.

(Right: The bride awaits her groom)

Inside the house, the bride and/or groom sit "in-state' in an elaborate wedding dais. If you arrive too early, the bride may be there alone, the groom and his family not having arrived yet. When they do arrive, it is often to the sound of a kumpulan kumpang, a group of men hired to provide a drum beat by which the visiting family marches in to the kampung. Still, these events are held over a 4-6 hour period, and guests come and go as they please. Altogether, not a bad way to spend some time chatting with the neighbors, and getting a free meal in the process!





1 comment:

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