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THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE BERUNAI ETHNIC THE MARRIAGE CUSTOM: THE POWDER BATH AND HENNA NIGHT CEREMONIES

THE POWDER BATH CEREMONY

This ceremony in Membakut in Beaufort District is held separately between the future bride and future groom and only among their family members. The future bride/groom is blessed with powder made of rice flour mixed with jasmine, and then smeared with the traditional powder from face to toe. The future bride/groom is then bathed with water mixed with lime juice, encircled by seven children wearing different colours of shawls and holding candles. The future bride/groom then extinguishes the candles by spurting water from their mouths three times.

After the bath ceremony the future bride/groom is confined with the powder still intake on their bodies. They have their meal served by the pengangun(the lady that dresses up the bride/groom) in the bride/groom wedding room.

THE POWDERING NIGHT

The future bride is carried on someone back to the dias with its square seat made of velvet with golden embroidery. Yellow candles are placed on the four corners of the dias. The traditional powder coloured with seven colours is placed in a special container.

As for the future groom he is accompanied to walk to the dias for this ceremony.

THE SMEARING OF HENNA CUSTOM

This ceremony is normally held at midnight before the wedding and at the future bride/groom respective residence. For this custom the future bride/groom stands beside the bed led by the pengangun. Then they are requested to sit on the bed while the pengangun raises her hand for prayers followed by the future bride/groom, after which the pengangun holds their hands and recites prayers. The future bride/groom is then brought to encircle the bed three times then sits on the bed. After that the elders in the family take turn to smear henna on the future bride/groom.

Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, Sabah

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88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
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