Learning More about Javanese Weddings

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Cultural Dance
The Javanese Dance
Indonesia is renowned worldwide for its complex and rich Javanese history. Indonesia, a country composed of over 13,677 islands, is a land filled with a hodgepodge of practices and subcultures that offer unique experiences to witnesses of and participants in the country’s numerous events and festivities. (If you want to know more about Indonesia, read Introducing the Amazing Archipelago of Indonesia)

For young couples in Indonesia, a special way to celebrate a couple’s nuptials is a traditional Javanese wedding. Due to the country’s immensely rich culture, it’s impossible to pinpoint or cite a singular wedding ceremony as the quintessential Javanese wedding. You can expect Javanese wedding ceremonies to differ from place to place according to religion, personal preferences and beliefs.

What you have to remember when it comes to a Javanese wedding is that it’s not just a marriage of two individuals, but the joining of two families as well.

The Javanese Wedding

javanese wedding
A javanese couple together with their parents
A Javanese wedding may start out as a betrothal between a couple whose parents wish for them to marry, or two lovers who have chosen each other as their ideal lifelong partners. Whatever reason a couple has for marrying, there is no disputing the solemnity and the validity of the Javanese wedding.

javanese wedding
A sweet javanese newly-wed couple
Javanese weddings differ from place to place, but one of the most popular Javanese rituals done during a traditional wedding ceremony: the Siraman.

A direct translation of the word “Siraman” leads to the English definition “to bathe.” A couple participating in this type of ritual must first cleanse not just their bodies but also their souls from impurities. A ritual like the Siraman may take an entire afternoon before the couple can be pronounced as properly cleansed

The Groom and Bride
The Javanese Groom and Bride
The bride and her groom are expected to undergo this ritual separately. Most of the time, an elder woman is given the task of bathing the couple, but up to seven people can be involved in this long bathing ritual.

During this ritual, the couple is also asked to give an offering or the Sajen. The Sajen is a request of the couple to the Creator to have their ancestors remember them and bless their union before the actual wedding ceremony.

Javanese Wedding Attire

Javanese Wedding
Traditional Javanese Attire
Just like any other culture, one of the most important aspects of the Javanese wedding includes the wedding attire. The bride may be given the choice between the Western wedding gown and the usual local dress, or she can opt for the lovely Javanese combination of the kebaya and a batik sarong.

The kebaya is a traditional blouse worn by women from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Made almost completely from sheer and diaphanous materials, the kebaya is usually worn with a batik sarong or a songket.

Planning a Javanese Wedding

Planning any type of wedding is never an easy affair. The important thing to remember when planning a Javanese wedding is to find the right rituals that will work best with the couple’s personal beliefs and preferences.

Click here to watch the Javanese Traditional Wedding.

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What Other People Thought

ronaldo2005 said on, September 22, 2008
Hahaha when I saw the second picture (the one where the groom has his chest bare) I thought that that was how Indonesians marry. Imagine, being bare-chested on our wedding! That would actually be kind of cool.

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