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Pelamin (Malay wedding)

Source:  Pahangdelights.com
(Wedding Dais)

The pelamin or wedding dais is specially created for the "bersanding" ceremony -- the highlight and perhaps the most essential event besides the akad nikah (marriage contract)-- in a traditional Malay wedding.

It is usually grandly designed and gaily decorated, to create some symbolism of a king and queen sitting in state.

As you know, Malays call the bride and groom or the wedded couple as "Raja Sehari" or "Royals for the day". They are therefore treated as such on their wedding day. And royal colors like yellow and tints of yellow are appropriately used during weddings to bring out the ambiance.


                                           With Bestman and Bridesmaid fanning the Couple

The pelamin, with seats for two on a raised platform, serves at least a dual purpose.

For one, as royals for the day, the wedded couple "sitting in state" must, according to stature, be higher than their "subjects" or rather guests.

Secondly, guests and visitors are able to see more clearly the wedded couple (and the "merenjis" ceremony) when they are higher than the rest. Well, one of the reasons for a wedding ceremony is to enable the public and close relatives to know and recognise the newly married husband and wife.

But alas, guests can also clearly see the embarassing blushes of the bride or groom on the dais! Oh well, let them be. They are royals for the day, and they can blush or laugh or cry or do funny things on the dais as they like, right? But on a day like this, when all eyes are on them, they usually are elegance personified, like royals are.

          The structure for the pelamin is mostly made of wood (planks) and covered with carpets or colored cloth and other decorations. The cost for the construction will depend on the elaborateness of the decorations and the variety of items used.

          Skilled decorators are sought to create a wonderful theme for the wedding. To achieve the desired effect, the pelamin is usually made at least three to five days beforehand. This is to be in time for other decorations to be made in the hall or house compound to create a wonderful wedding atmosphere.

          Of course, nowadays, especially in the towns, there are ready-made and packaged pelamin designs with the accompaniments like seats, cushions, etc., that can be assembled and fixed up quickly.

          But in the villages, skilled kampung carpenters usually make them from scratch and therefore more time is needed to make them ready.

          Fragrant and beautiful flowers and floral arrangements always add to the liveliness and beauty of a place. And you can be sure that floral arrangements are part of the decorations for a pelamin.

          You will notice that at both sides of the dais there are some bouquet and bunches of floral arrangements, most often placed on a pedestal.

          These are called "sirih junjung", with betel leaves making the bulk of the arrangement mixed with other beautiful flowers. As you know, Malay weddings always include the sirih (betel) leaves as an essential part of the wedding custom and tradition.

And usually, you will also find a pot or vase of "bunga telur" also on both sides at the front of the dais. A bunga telur is immediately given to those who do the "merenjis" ceremony -- the traditional sprinkling of rice, fragrant potpourri and scented water on the wedded couple.

The seats used are usually specially created wedding chairs or sofa, although creative decorators can use normal chairs or sofa and make them look different and unique.

The wedding dais is usually decorated in the color of the theme for the wedding and also to match the colors of the costumes worn by the wedded couple.

          Well, in this page are samples of the pelamin for a Malay traditional wedding. Just observe the imaginative decorations used.

         And observe the "sirih junjung" decorations on both sides (normally at the back) and the vases of "bunga telur" (at the front) of the pelamin.

          Well, I hope you now know how a "pelamin" generally looks like. In fact the designs can range from the simple to the elaborate.

          The bersanding ceremony is the highlight of a traditional Malay wedding. And the pelamin is therefore the one "location" all potential newlyweds look forward to be on.

          It is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the couple, and hence happy and joyous memories of their bersanding ceremony will always remain in their thoughts, to be cherished forever.


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