Indonesian Wedding Traditions and the Meaning of Date Night

September 11, 2017 by | Filed Under: Authentic Experiences, Culinary, Culture, Indonesia, Travel

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Benefits of Bali Weddings

In Bali, one type of wedding custom is known as ngerorod, which is basically a very dramatic way to flee from kidnappers. In this Indonesian wedding tradition, the consenting bride is “kidnapped” and taken away by the friends of the groom-to-be. She can be working in the field or walking about in the village before suddenly being swept away. Often the woman mockingly fights back kicking and screaming in high theatrics. She is then taken to meet her groom at a location that has been stocked with food, drink, offerings, as well as her bridal outfits.

Playing along with the pretend-kidnapping, the woman’s father sounds an alarm and rounds up a search party. Of course, they are unable to find her and return home tired and disappointed. Meanwhile the bride and groom consummate the marriage before their special offering, called sesayut tabuh rah. This Indonesian wedding tradition makes the union binding in the eyes of the Buddhist gods.

Within a few days the groom must go the father of his bride and discuss the wedding and argue why the marriage is beneficial. This will lead to a negotiation of a suitable payment to her father for her hand in marriage. The couple may have a public wedding later but this is merely a formality as the gods have already recognized the union.


Dating Complications in Lombok

Another Indonesian wedding tradition in neighboring Lombok can make dating life a bit more complicated. If a young man is out on a date with his girlfriend and it is getting late, he may feel compelled to get her home unless he wants to marry her. In some parts of the island, if a woman stays out on a date with a man past 10 pm, according to local custom, she and the man involved are considered married. In the coming days, the man’s family will contact the woman’s family telling them what happened and negotiate a price for the bride.

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Herman Hoven, General Manager
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