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The Malay Marriage is a regal affair. The bride and groom are treated as king and queen for a day.

The pre-wedding meeting between the bride’s and the groom’s parents will determine the dowry that is to be given to the bride as well as the date of the solemnization.

The berinai (henna application) ceremony is held prior to the wedding. The bride’s palms and feet are ‘decorated’ with the dye from the henna leaves. Sometimes this is followed by the tukar pakaian (costume changes) and the bride and, less often, the groom will don different clothes for photography.

The pelamin (raised dais) will be beautifully decorated for the purpose.

The Iban Marriage, it is customary for the boy’s parents to make a proposal on behalf of his son to the girl they are interested to have as their daughter-in-law. However, should their son insist on marrying a girl of his choice this will be accepted with open arms by his parents.

Basically if an Iban boy is interested in a particular girl, he is to take the initiative to ngayap (court) the girl. It is the only way for him to find out whether of not the girl is the right one for his life time partner.

If the response of the girl is positive and there is no objection by the girl’s parents, the young man will tell his parents his intention to marry the girl. If there are disagreements between son and parents, these are discussed in a proper manner.

The boy is asked to stop visiting the girl and another girl who is related but not within the incestuous circle is recommended to the boy to visit (ngayap).

The Bidayuh society is agricultural based all activities centre around farming and the various festivals connected with these activities. When a young man becomes more interested with a young woman, he develops that relationship through the custom of maasu. Maasu, means to visit a girl at night.

It is a decent way of establishing a relationship between a young man and young woman of marriageable age in the longhouse.

The maasu is always carried out at night, usually after dinner and is always in the presence of the girl’s parents and other members of the family. The boy is allowed to stay with the girl until the family goes to sleep. If the parents of the girl object to such a visit, they politely advise the boy to keep away from their daughter.

Maasu has several functions: it is a channel of communication; it is a form of socializing; and the couple can plan to work together such as their work schedule (pingaji) for the days ahead.

While they converse, the girl will keep herself busy weaving basket, either for herself of for the boy and the boy will keep himself busy making the sheath (sibong) of his parang, weaving rattan belt which is known as babad, talut or sumbol, with which to secure the sheath of a parang, the handle of parang or the edges of a basket, either for himself or as a gift to the girl.

The Kayan-Kenyah wedding custom. Traditionally, the proper manner to get bethrothed is for the man’s parents to send an emissary to the woman’s parents for the purpose of asking the daughter’s hand in marriage. This process is known as tei Nyiouk(Kayan) or tai nesek/mutu ledo (Kenyah). An engagement token is given by the man to the woman in the presence of the headman, village elders & relatives. This custom is known in Kayan as atep hawa. The value of the token varies according to individual status.

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