Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to make Bunga Rampai

My auntie Nah, Syikin's mom asked me to do Bunga Rampai fresh flower potpourri for her daughter's wedding since she saw me doing that for my brother's wedding feast (which I have not uploaded any pictures yet, sorry!) . In Malay, it is called Bunga Rampai. 'Bunga' means flower, and 'rampai' means varieties or assortment. So bunga rampai means an assortment of flowers.

Bunga rampai is used in many important occasions of the Malay folks : circumcision, graduation of Koran study, shaving a baby's hair, funeral , wedding etc. In Malay weddings during the olden days, it was an essential dowry item and was smoked all night long in the nuptial chamber.
I'm not sure how it's smoked though since I've never really learned how to make bunga rampai the 'real way'.

You can use any kind of nice smelling flowers, plus flowers with bright colors. The usual flowers that we always use, which are considered traditional smelling are like jasmines, frangipani/plumeria, roses, and chempakas (white and yellow versions of local magnolia flowers). But the MAIN ingredient of bunga rampai is always fresh pandan leaves or screwpine leaves. Sometimes shredded kaffir lime skin is also used since it has nice fresh smell.

Emir is busy cutting the pandan leaves at Tok's backyard.

Is this enough ma?

First, the pandan leaves need to be finely sliced as fine as possible like what would one do for cutting ginger strips). How much you need depends on how much you want the potpourri to be but rule of thumb for me is is to have 3/4 of the whole mixture from the leaves. Next is to shred flower petals coarsely if they're too big but it's really up to you as to how you want your potpourri to be. I always leave jasmines are they are coz they're already perfect. And then you mix all up!

Next is to mix the mixture with fragrance. I use jasmine concentrated oil as I love jasmine. Some people also use rose water and then they smoke it with incense (as I've mentioned earlier) so that the smell is stronger but I prefer to use simplied version =). I think it's best to mix the oil with the pandan leaves first until they're well coated and only then add the flowers. I found that when I mixed the flowers directly with the oil, they browned quickly.

When everything is well mixed, you can choose whatever ways to stuff your bunga rampai. I choose to use fine net or you can choose to put it in organza pouch. Or you can put it into small baskets made of screw pine just like the old days (which for me is really tedious to make), or put them in folded betel leaves or just leave them in bowls around the house or the place where the wedding is to be held and let the fragrance permeate the air and whoever wants to have some potpourri can just grab some. Mom used to do that and she would use a tissue paper to wrap them. Nowadays people prefer to have it conveniently packed for guests.

Take a handful of the potpourri and put it in the middle of the net.

Secure it with a fine wire and tie a ribbon to make it prettier =)

So here you go, a basket of bunga rampai!

Syikin's wedding

My cousin Syikin got married 2 weeks ago. A very simple ceremony, started with the 'akad nikah' (wedding solemnization) at the mosque a few days before the wedding feast.

The groom is the one sitting with off white/cream shirt. And I forgot to take Syikin's picture but don't worry you'll get to see her in the next entry =).

This is the 'sirih junjung', a must gift from the groom. It's comprises of betel nut leaves and accompaniments such as various kind of nice smelling flowers - jasmines & roses etc, star anise, cinnamon sticks just to name a few. I should have labeled my previous entry on this one coz I did write a pretty detail description about it.

Female guests at the other side.

My latest nephew! This one looks like a Japanese isn't it? So cute!

Emir seems a bit lost?

The electricity was out throughout the entire ceremony, but luckily mom brought her fan although she did look slightly irritated when I took this picture. But hey, look at that baby! He sure know how to pose =)

Mr Farhan is always ready for a pose.

Poor Ezzat sweating profusely.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sharina's wedding

Last Friday, I attended the "akad nikah" ceremony for my 2nd cousin, Sharina at the state mosque. "Akad nikah" is the formal contract of marriage or also commonly known as the marriage solemnization or wedding vows. This marriage contract is an Islamic requirement and that happens when the bridegroom seals the "contract" with either the bride’s father, or an authorised person called "wali" who is either the bride’s male sibling or uncle or very close relative, but nowadays usually the "imam" of the nearby mosque or his authorised deputy.
The wali represents and takes the place of the father of the bride in conducting the akad nikah, and this delegation of duty must first be formally agreed before the akad nikah proceedings.

Mom posing before entering the mosque.

The interior of the mosque.

I love this part with all the pillars.

Pretty in pink. Gifts for the groom to the bride.

Gifts from the bride to the groom.

"Sharina!" - Snap!

The bride is waiting patiently. Women and men usually sit separately.

Notice that everyone is seated on the floor, with witnesses surrounding the groom and the imam.

The groom listening attentively to what the Imam is saying before proceeding with the akad nikah. Before the akad nikah proper, as preliminaries, the imam will try to make the groom comfortable and gives out advice and suggestions on the duties of a good husband and wife. Sometimes, he might test the groom on religious matters by asking him to recite verses of the Al-Quran, or knowledge of the basic pillars of Islam and faith.

Here's the newly wedded couple!

"I'm glad everything went so well" =)

These 2 are pretty shy.

Snapped this view on my way out to the car. Definitely one of my favorite buildings.

View of the mosque from the back gate.

View of the mosque from the side. We're heading to the place where the wedding feast is taking place the next day for hi-tea.
Arriving at the homestay where the wedding feast is to be held the next day. Some far away relatives stay here too.

Usually after the akad, guests will proceed to the bride's house for some food, this time it's hi-tea. Sharina's dad, Uncle Din decided to rent this place for the wedding instead of holding it at his house. I think it's a brilliant idea! Definitely less hassle.

Tea time with the bride and groom.

Dad's teasing Tok Cik coz she hates his moustache and beard.

Hmm Abah...I think Tok Cik's right. You look so much nicer without the beard lah.

Chatting over tea between 2 generations. From left: Tok Cik, Dad, Mom, Tok Cik, and mom's eldest brother, Pak Long.

The homestay where the wedding took place.

Some parents opt to have 'pelamin'. It's where the bride and groom will sit and families and friends will be able to see them close up.

In Malay language, bride and groom are called 'Pengantin'. This is the pengantin's room. It's always been made up pretty and it's been sort of one of the main attractions with the female guests.

For 8 rooms @ RM900/night, I think it's pretty cheap!

Uncle Din, Sharina and hubby, Auntie Jah and me.

Wedding Feast - Nov 29th 2008

This is at the main table. The groom's parents are in green. And mom seems busy with the boys.

The groom with his brother as his best man, and Sharina with her sister, Sarah.

Random pic of guests from the bridegroom's side.

Sharina and hubby. Aren't they sweet?

Pretty goodie basket full of candy bags for kids.

The boys are busy checking out what's inside their candy bags.

Dad's telling Laily how tall she has grown to be. And Imah's (Laily's sister) looking at Pak Chaq, (dad's nickname) probably amused by his antics.

Dad, putting up his goofy face again with my cousin Laily. And no they don't plan to wear the same color =)

Here is a short video of an akad nikah proceeding taking place.

Well, the akad nikah will start with the groom sitting (on a small square mattress to make him comfortable,) facing the imam. They will then hold hands in a handshake manner, and the imam will say the words of the akad nikah to the groom who will then reply.
You will have noticed in the video that after the imam has said the words of marriage to the groom, he will shake the hand of the groom. This acts to signify to the groom to make the reply.
Normally the imam will say something like this:-
"___________ (name of groom), I hereby marry you to ____________ (name of bride) with mas kahwin (dowry) of $ _________ cash".
He will then shake the groom’s hand, and the groom will reply immediately:-
"I accept (or agree) to marry ____________ (name of bride) with mas kahwin of $ _________ cash".
The groom must utter those words in one breath and must be clearly heard by at least two of the main witnesses sitting beside the imam. The imam will then ask both witnesses and others whether the groom’s vows or recital can be accepted. If they agree, then the marriage is solemnized and the wedded ones are now deemed husband and wife.
And the imam then immediately recites prayers (do’a) for a happy and blissful marriage for the wedded ones.
Signing the Official Letters
So, after the akad nikah is accepted and the imam recites prayers for a happy and blissful marriage to the couple, he will then read to the groom the duties of a husband, his rights, the dos and don’ts, and also the duties and rights of the wife.
He will mention in particular the stages in pursuing the Islamic divorce and the consequences of reciting divorce intentions including incidences where it is lawful for the wife to seek divorce.
And after the imam has finished with his advice ( mostly read from prepared text), the groom, acknowledging the advice given, will then sign the formal papers of marriage for official documentation purpose. The Religious Department will, in about two weeks time, deliver him the official marriage certificate.
The groom will then do the Muslim two rakaah "Solah Syukur" (prayer) as gratitude to Allah on the successful proceedings and to seek guidance daily on his new status as a husband.

The groom went to 'salam' (handshake) the relatives and guests before proceeding to exchange rings with the bride.

The formalities of the akad nikah being over, and after his short prayer (solah), the groom now will go to his wife and slip in the marriage ring, in a brief Malay traditional ceremony known as "membatal air sembahyang" or "breaking the solah ablution".
This is essentially a symbol that he now can touch the bride being her lawful husband. In Islam, males are not allowed to touch unrelated females, and vice versa, unless the skin or parts are covered. Now, however, as husband and wife there are no such restrictions or prohibitions.
The ceremony ends with the bride kissing the groom’s hands after the placing of the ring.