There are many versions of formal dining for newly weds. There are the ‘makan pengantin’, the makan beradat’, the makan berdamai’. Makan means eat or dining.-A better choice of word would be Jamuan which is more formal in nature . A jamuan is a feast.
I insisted that it was going to be Jamuan Berdamai. Liiterally translated Makan Berdamai is the the Feast of celebrating Peace .
It was becoming common to see a specially set up high table. The high table is reserved for newlyweds to dine accompanied by the VIPs. At the most there woulds be five couples of VIP guests.
I also insisted that the Jamuan Berdamai be done in the traditional Malay way, sitting crosslegged, with the spread on white “safrah” or serving spread. The Big House Ruang Tamu or Guest Living Area became the choice location. Even with a section taken up by the Pelamin the area can accommodate 56 guests.
The kampong makan bearadat team made up of the kampung makciks and fair maidens, whose specialisation was attending to guests in Malay formal dining and serving, was roped in. What an excellent service they provided. They looked awesome in their Malay baju kurung and batik sarung.
The menu was the same as the other guests but with two additional dishes. The AYAM PECEL was the mandatory special javanese Dish of grilled chicken in herbs and coconut milk. The Bagan Fresh White pomfret in acar sauce was the other family speciality.
The guest list was made up of the aunties and uncles of the bride and the 25 guests from the groom side. My brothers and sisters and their spouses including the in-laws have been working very hard to help out with the preparation. I included the godfather of the bride, my aunt and aunties and the six children to be part of the special occasion.
That was the wisdom of the Jamuan Berdamai. In the course of the preparation of the wedding, voices could have been raised, feelings could have been slighted, nerves could have been disturbed. The Jamuan Berdamai was the time to make peace. Many would attest that preparation for weddings could be very testing and stressful. What better way to then celebrate by honouring them, the time to forgive and forget in a joyful occasion.
It was also the time for the two families to get to know each other, to celebrate the newly cemented tie.
I decided to give a speech. The idea was to articulate the various proceedings, and for the guests to share the spirit of the occasion. Otherwise, although there was flow of the function the various activities could be disjointed. The Jamuan is not fopr show, but with a genuine desire to foster siraturahim. or good relations amongst those attending.
Addressing the bride, my emotion got the better of me when reciting Khalil Gibran’s, I am letting go the arrow………….
What better way to let go then during the Makan Berdamai. I was pleased.