THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE CHETTY COMMUNITY OF MALACCA: SADANGGU OR SADENGGU
Malacca is a lucky state as it is rich in a variety of ethnicities, beside Malay, Chinese, and Indian, they are the Chetty, the Baba Nyonya, and the Portuguese who all live in peace and harmony. Every ethnicity is free to practice its own culture so long it does not breach the ethics and cross the limits of community living in the state. All these ethnicities still practice their inherited culture and custom.
The Sadanggu or Sadenggu custom of the Chetty community is especially for their daughters who have reached puberty. This custom has both ritual and religious elements and is still practiced. Among the necessities for this ceremony are a decorated dais, a tray containing the materials for the swirling of the tray ceremony, a white Malay attire of the teluk belanga type, a long kebaya, a sari, and traditional foods.
THE CUSTOMS LEVEL OF TIERS
According to the Chetty community beliefs, when a girl has her first menstrual the girl is forbidden to leave her house to avoid her body being drawn closer to evil spirits. The girl's family cannot visit the temple and the public too cannot visit the girl's house due to the supposed dirt on the girl.
The tiers involved are as follows:
1. The Blessing of the Bath Ceremony
This custom begins with bathing the girl when the sun is about to rise with the purpose of discarding mishaps, perennials, or evil spirits. The bathing water contains saffron and seven types of flowers. During the ceremony, the girl wears a white Malay attire of the teluk belanga type. The girl is then cleansed with clean water at the end of the ceremony. The girl's bathing attire is thrown away so as to discard all misfortunes that have fallen on the girl. Then the girl adorns a long kebaya.
2. The Serving of Traditional Cakes
The girl is served the traditional cake of the Chetty which is the putu piring.
3. The Sadanggu or Sadenggu Ceremony
The girl is made up akin to a bride complete with a hair bun with flowers, necklaces, and bracelets, and sits on a decorated dias covered with white cloth and paddy. The girl's relatives prepare a tray containing rice, water, dried cow dung, a lamp, paddy, putu piring cake, bread, and a small stone roller for the swirling ceremony. Her married aunties on her father's side and her married uncles on her mother's side need to prepare gifts for the girl like a sari, make-up accessories, bracelet, flower garland, comb, mirror, saffron, and fruits.
This ceremony begins with mantras by a monk to the girl. Then the tray containing food is swirled in front of the girl by the girl's uncles and aunties. Only relatives as stated are allowed to perform this ceremony. The uncles and aunts then hand over their gifts to the girl. Every sari presented must be worn by the girl. If there are five saris then the girl has to change saris five times. Lastly, the uncles and aunties adorn the girl with flower garlands placed crisscrossed meaning the girl is unmarried.
The guests are then ushered to a reception consisting of traditional cakes such as pulut tekan, seri kaya, tepung koma, and putu, or traditional cuisines like pindang style fish, cucumber sambal, and egg sambal.