THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE KEDAYAN ETHNIC THE MARRIAGE CUSTOM
The Kedayan ethnic are found in the districts of Sipitang, Beaufort and Kuala Penyu, as well in the Federal Territory of Labuan. Their language is the Brunei Kedayan and they are Muslims.
ENQUIRING AND PROPOSING
This custom begins with the visit of the man side to the girl family to enquire. The event starts with handing over a ring and cash to the girl side as a discussion opener. The amount of cash is not fixed and depends on the request of the girl side. The present rate is RM50.
Upon receipt of the ring and cash, the man side then informs their intent to seek the hands in marriage of the host daughter. If the girl family accepts then they will inform the delegation about the customs and ceremonies, followed by discussions about the items to be prepared by the man side for the engagement ceremony, as follows:
1. A gold ring to signify the engagement.
2. A kris complete with its cover to symbolise as substitute for the fiance or guardian for the girl engaged. The kris is to be returned to the man side after the marriage solemnisation as it is to be worn by the groom during the sitting on the dias ceremony as regalia.
3. A traditional item called kipil and caamai to keep the ring. If it is unavailable then it can be substituted with cash according to current rate.
4. A full man attire from head to toe. Both parties can replace it with cash according to the estimated value as agreed collectively.
5. A gold ring for the elder sister of the girl to be engaged if she has an elder sister unengaged yet.
6. To prepare other needed items on the request of the girl side if the man is not of Kedayan ethnic.
TO BE ENGAGED/THE ENGAGEMENT CEREMONY
The date of engagement is determined by both the man and girl parties. On the engagement day, the man delegation arrives with the engagement dowry as discussed during the enquiring. The dowry is normally placed on decorated trays. The girl side then informs the audience that the dowry is according to the terms as agreed together. The girl side returns the trays with contents of suitable items to be brought home by the man delegation.
PRACTICES AND ABSTENTIONS DURING ENGAGEMENT
To ensure a good relationship between the families of both and begins since the engagement, this ethnic concern is about pure practices like badudun (visiting) among both families. When visiting normally souvenirs are brought for the host and vice versa. During the course of the engagement, to both parties are to safeguard their behaviors and the good names of their respective families.
THE MARRIAGE CUSTOM
Before the marriage solemnization the future bride normally takes a special bath to cleanse and beautify her face and skin. She is also forbidden to leave her house for seven to 14 days before the wedding ceremony.
THE POWDER NIGHT AND TAKING THE WEDDING BATH
On the evening after the marriage solemnization the newly-wed holds the powder night ceremony, also called the smearing of the henna ceremony, at their respective residences, with marhaban (religious songs) performance. In this ceremony normally seven selected men and seven selected women from the newly-wed close families bless the bride/groom, made merrier by religious songs performances, and praises to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The blessing of the bride/groom is done by family members and guests during the recital of praises to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is followed by music performances and dancing until late at night. This event was once very popular as three women drum beaters exchanged quatrains with guests.
The wedding bath is held full of customs and traditions accompanied by kulintangan (a traditional musical instrument) and drum beatings.
The groom that goes to the bride's house is led by a religious leader or equivalent using a handkerchief, accompanied by a group of kompang (drum) beaters and bunga manggar (hand-held flower decorations). The sitting on the dias ceremony follows suit that extends to the compound to give a chance for guests to see the newly-wed couple. That evening the newly-wed couple is forbidden to sleep as it is believed that whoever falls asleep meets death sooner.
The groom brings back his wife to his house with a delegation three or five days after the wedding ceremony.