The Malays have a lot of traditions. And one of it being wedding traditions. They are so many traditions, events whatsoever. Part of wedding tradition is the engagement tradition. Unlike the kneel-on-one-knee proposal, the Malay engagement is very much different. There’s a ceremony.
Now, let me clarify that I am not a fan of traditions. I couldn’t care less about the traditions if its nothing related to the requirements of Islam. In Islam, when the guy or the woman agrees when asked to be married, then they’re engaged. So, there are actually people who get engaged without knowing. You can dig more about this yourself.
So, what happens in Malay engagement ceremony? From what I’ve been told, it sounds like a very awkward ceremony, pardon me. The guy’s family and relatives come to the girl’s house where they will have representatives to talk on behalf of each other’s family. This will usually be the uncle or a family friend/ dad’s friend. They are then set the date, the hantaran and mahar. Hantaran is the amount of money for the guy to give to the girl’s family to support the wedding and mahar is the amount of money for the future bride to keep. Mahar is a requirement in Islam, while hantaran is just a tradition. Hantaran is usually at least RM5000 now. Back then, it used to be atleast RM1000. Mahar min is according to states and for Selangor, it’s RM300 which is not a burden at all for most people. Anyway, them talking about the amount of money is already awkward enough.
Then, the girl. The girl will sit at a corner, or a center or in a room where she’ll have a nicely decorated mini dais to sit on, alone obviously. And awkward. I’m not sure what’s the purpose of this but I think it’s pretty much related to the hantaran (gifts) for the engagement. As if we can’t put the gifts on a table. Maybe they want to emphasize that the girl is actually receiving/accepting the gifts? I don’t know. I understand it’s somekind of appreciation for the girl, but let’s face it. It’s not the guy’s side who’s doing the mini dais thing. And if they really want to show that they appreciate the gifts, the girl’s side is already giving back an extra two gifts. and there’s food and warm welcoming. It’s not that I’m a cheapskate but isn’t that already loud and clear? While I perfectly understand the girl wanting to look pretty and all, I don’t understand the girl’s overdressing to an extend it looks like it’s for solemnization. I mean, she’s a future bride for god’s sake not a bride!