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Joan Lucky B.

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Javanese Wedding Ceremony

Every culture has different ways of conducting a wedding ceremony. The differences may vary
according to cultures, ethnic groups, religion, and countries. In Javanese culture, in which a family
bound is still very strong, wedding is not only about the union of two people, but it is also the union of
two families. Since marriage is a very important stage in life, there are some rituals which have to be
done and are intended to make the groom and bride can have a long lasting marriage-life. The processes
of Javanese wedding ceremony are (1) siraman, (2) ngerik, (3) midodareni, (4) ijab kabul, and (5)
panggih.
The first ritual is siraman. The word siraman is derived from the Javanese word siram, which
means to shower. One day before the wedding, the bride and groom are showered by seven closest
members of their family. The bride should hold this ritual at her parents’ house and the groom would
hold it at his parents’ house. The purpose of this ritual is to purify their body and soul before the
wedding. After siraman, a pemaes, a traditional beautician who takes care of the make-up and hair and
who dresses the bride and groom, performs the next ritual, ngerik. Ngerik is shaving soft hair which
grows around the forehead and putting make-up and hair-do on the bride. After finishing the make-up,
the pemaes dressed the bride in traditional shirt, kebaya, and batik cloth with sidomukti or sidoasih
pattern, symbolizing the hope that the bride and grrom will have a prosperous life.
The next ritual is midodareni. It takes place at the bride’s house after siraman and ngerik. The
bride is not allowed to sleep nor get out of her room, while the groom gives visit to her house and
meets-up with her family. The bride should stay awake from 6 p.m. until midnight and is accompanied
by some elder women who give her some advices on marriage. According to ancient belief, on this
night the bride is visited by some goddesses from heaven. Ijab kabul is the next ritual in the ceremony.
It is the sacral agreement between the bride and groom and is an important requirement to legalize the
marriage. The terms ijab kabul comes from Islamic religion, ijab qabul. Ijab means offer and qabul
means acceptance. Though the words come from Islamic religion, the implementation of ijab qabul is
based on the couple’s religion. This ritual is followed by signing the marriage certificate which
legitimates the marriage. The last ritual is panggih. Panggih means to meet. In this ritual, the groom can
finally meet the bride. The groom is accompanied by his close relatives because parents are not allowed
to present during this ritual. This ritual symbolizes the hope that the newly married couples can live
their marriage-life happily and prosperously.
In summary, the Javanese wedding ceremony has five rituals: siraman, ngerik, midodareni, ijab
kabul, and panggih. These rituals show that Javanese are philosophical. Every ritual in the ceremony is
not just done for any reason, but contains deep meaning behind it.