The marriage of the Bajau ethnic in Kota Belud District on Sabah West Coast Division has slight similarities with that of the Malays in West Malaysia. This ethnic places importance the implementation of every ceremonie in their marriage custom that involves seven main tiers, beginning with the Tilau-Tilau and Mendo (enquiring and proposing), followed by Seruan (engagement), Norong (handing over the marriage dowry), Mandi Bedak (powder night or henna night), Marriage Solemnisation and Sitting on the Dias Ceremonies, Ngendo (inviting the bride to the groom house), and Ngedede (sending both newly-weds to the bride house).
TILAU-TILAU (ENQUIRING) AND MENDO(PROPOSING)
Parents choose the girl to be their daughter-in-law. Once identified preparations for the tilai-tilau (enquiring) are quickly arranged. Once enquiring is over the good chance is utilised to enquire about the girl&background as the Bajau community places importance on descendance.
The engagement ceremony is held at the girl house and the duration of the engagement as well as the marriage date are discussed. This ethnic is very conscientious in choosing the month and date of marriage.
NORONG (HANDING OVER THE MARRIAGE DOWRY)
After that is the handing over of the marriage dowry from the man side to the girl side. The norong day is called malad and usually held in the morning. In this ceremony the marriage date is fixed.
There are two types of norong. The first is held within three months while the second is within three days to a day before the wedding ceremony.
MANDI BEDAK (POWDER NIGHT OR HENNA NIGHT)
This event is held before the marriage solemnisation and sitting on the dias ceremonies. Among the ingredients used are yellow rice, henna, scented flower sprinkles and coconut milk with pandanus leaves. The powder is smeared on all over the bride body to discard dirt. Only close family members are allowed to attend. To make the occasion merrier the betitik and berunsai (Bajautraditional music and dance) are held throughout the night intermittently with quatrains after the blessing ceremony is over.
MARRIAGE SOLEMNISATION AND SITTING ON THE DIAS CEREMONIES
The arrival of the groomentourage at the bride house is publicised with a number of gun shots. The groomentourage must bring along damak or souvenirs. In yesteryears, the groom is forbidden to step on soil. Hence, grooms of Datu ancestry are paraded using a stretcher while ordinary ones are on horse. The groom ascends the bride house and is seated on peningkoon (a seat made of small mattress covered with seven tiers of tipo selisir, a Bajau traditional mat) flanked by two bestmen. Then the marriage solemnisation takes place, either while seated or standing, on the day of the sitting on the dias ceremony. After that the couple undergoes the sitting on the dias ceremony.
The dias has three tiers of curtains that the groom must pass through. He is also made to recite poem and pay curtain tax. Before sitting on the dias the groom turns his handkerchief three times above the bride head and then drop it onto the bride palms. After that the groom touches his palate with his right thumb then uses it to touch his wife forehead while reciting the verse of alliegence to Allah. Both these actions symbolise nullifying ritual ablutions.
NGANDO (INVITING THE BRIDE TO THE GROOM HOUSE) AND NGENDEDE (SENDING THE COUPLE BACK TO THE BRIDEHOUSE)
After the wedding ceremony is the ngando ceremony whereby inviting the bride to the groomâ€™s house. The bride needs to wash her feet to symbolise cleansing oneself apart from being confirmed as the groom family member. After a few days the ngedede ceremony is held whereby sending the newly-wed couple back to the brideâ€™s house. The couple is given gifts like kitchen equipment, bedding equipment, and the like.
Kompleks JKKN Sabah,
KM 4, Jalan Penampang,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Tel : 088 237052
Faks : 088 242 052