15 August 2009

Traditional Dusun Wedding (part 1)

I notice lately that in my hometown, traditional wedding ceremony is making a comeback. It is something I silently applaud. For years, the Dusuns were so engrossed in embracing modernisation that most aspects of the culture were let slip away slowly.

Anyway, I really enjoyed looking at my cousin's traditional wedding pictures. Of whether it was 'traditional' in every sense of the word, it doesn't matter. At least there were the food: linopot (wrapped rice), sup polod (soup made of some kind of root plant), tuhau (pickled 'tuhau' plant with chillies) and sup nangko (young jackfruit soup) served in coconut shells:



and there was the 'panau' ceremony even though it was done in broad daylight.


In my grandmother's time, there were no such things as fancy engagement ceremonies. The bride wouldn't even be told that she was getting married, for every marriage was arranged by their parents/elder relatives. By the time a girl turned about 9 or 10 years of age, somebody's parents would secretly 'book' her to be their future daughter in-law. Wedding date would be agreed upon between the parents, and preparation would soon be underway without any of the non-married members of the family knowing. They would definitely suspect that one of them was going to be married off, but no one would ever tell them till the day of the wedding.

On the big day, the girl would be woken up in the middle of the night, and taken to the bridegroom's place. (known as panau = journey) It was then that she would be told that she was being married off! And grandmother told me "Of course there would be tears! Who in their right mind would want to be married to a stranger!" But no one escaped anyway.

They would then be married off. The people would come help them celebrate in the morning with all the merry makings, eating and drinking. But that was only part one...the bride wouldn't be united with the bridegroom yet, until part two was done...



(Above: my cousin's 'panau' picture. I wish I was there to witness this beautiful tradition)

6 comments:

Marcus Shapie said...

I think it is worthy if this preciuos arrangements of Dusun Medding's 'panau' being establihsed as compulsory in wedding ceremony besides the church's proceduers.

Rem said...

I agree with Marcus. It's something that could make the big day more colourful, and merrier. Seriously, I'm getting bored with all those dull, monotonous and generic weddings – despite the fact that we, the Dusuns, inherit one of (if not) the richest cultural heritages in Malaysia! ‘Panau’ definitely brings more meaning to the already meaningful day. And, I think… wedding day couldn't be the more appropriate time for each and everyone of us being reminded of our long forgotten root.

Veron: nanti kau boleh buat kompilasi bah entri-entri ini. Buat buku. :-)

vpa73 said...

Marcus and Rem- yes we should start some kind of organization offering traditional wedding service advice or event providing the people to conduct the ritual. The older I get, the more I appreciate the culture.
Rem- when it is your day, I want to be there for you to make it meaningful :-) And, these entries are just 'simple thoughts' dear. As you once mentioned in your own blog- it si 'mental therapy'. They couldn't be good enough to be compiled as a book...but thanks anyway. Your encouragement makes me excited to write more ;-).

Wel^Beiolman said...

wah..sia inda pena tahu pasal ni o...haha..apa inda 10 thn membesar d sandakan apa la sia belajar selain bekawan sama bugis, sungai n suluk..haha..

adventerous jg tu panau..bayaya o..tp mungking suda kana rancang ba tu cuma buat tu majlis ikut adat sja kan....

R.N. Tiam Sinusun said...

Veron, buat buku laini :) Very interesting, never known these until I saw Memel/Boboq's picture.

vpa73 said...

Wel- yang modern punya mimang sudah kena rancang. Tinggal buat majlis ikut adat. Wait till you hear part II. Lucu tau...Ba, nanti ko kawin lain kali buli lah pikir2 buat tradisional jg :-)

Nell- yes, I think our culture is very interesting. I think the reason why our grandparents/parents never bothered to tell us is that 'it wasn't pleasant to them'. Bah, sepa la mo kena kawin paksa kan hehe...but then people started to want to have some kind of sense of belonging and they go back to culture. I have snatches of interview with some komolohingan in which they talked about their wedding days. Tapi telampau banyak kenangan sampai mo tau mcm mana sebenarnya tu majlis kena kasi jalan, terpaksa mendengar beberapa sequence interview, with all the chicken noise and ambient background hehe...it's fun though. I love this. Nantilah satu hari nanti buli juga kena pikir tu buku demi untuk generasi akan datang...