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Apr '05

A Batak union is a family affair

Amid the rising trend in which urban couples would rather use wedding planners/organizers to handle their wedding, the Batak are among the few ethnic groups in the country who still think the wedding party is family business, part of their cultural tradition.

The wedding is planned and organized by members of the bride and bridegroom-to-be’s families, and no-one outside the family circle is allowed to become involved.

A wedding party is usually preceded by months-long preparations, including a series of meetings among the family members of the bride and bridegroom-to-be.

The first meeting between the family members of the bride and bridegroom-to-be is called marhusip (”whispering meeting”), where the wedding is first planned. Each of the families assigns between 20 and 30 family members to take part in the meeting to prepare the wedding.

The committee led by a raja adat (traditional leader) is responsible for making decisions on wedding venues, the exact date, money to be submitted by the bridegroom’s family to the bride’s family, and programs in the wedding ceremonies, including the mangulosi session during which family members will hand down ulos (traditional Batak clothes) to the couple.

“”Every Batak person, even the modern youth, must marry in accordance the tradition’s rules if they want to remain a part of Batak society,”" said Lenny Tambun, who tied the knot in a Batak wedding ceremony at the Hermina Hall in Mampang, South Jakarta late last year.

“”A Batak couple who do not follow the traditions in their wedding party would be rejected by other Batak people. They will be barred from enjoying their traditional rights until they fix their wedding in line with tradition,”" she said.

For some people, a Batak wedding party is too costly, she said. Thus, in some cases, some Batak get married without holding a party due to their limited budget. However, once the couple has enough funds, this couple is obliged to re-organize their wedding party in line with Batak tradition in order to reconcile themselves to their community. That is why some Batak people hold their wedding parties when they are older and have already had children.

Sumber : The Jakarta Post 

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