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It’s time for another edition of Indonesia Banget. This time, I want to share something that totally different to western world (as far as I know). This won’t be along post, this is probably the shortest IB post ever.
Have you ever see this image on the right? (Copyright belongs to Inmagine)
A man kissing a woman’s hand as a way to respect the woman. If you ever seen such act in Indonesia, it is no doubt that the man has been influenced by western movies.
I am not saying we don’t have kissing hand’s tradition in Indonesia, we do have it but not like the picture shown above.
In Indonesia, the act of kissing someone’s hand is a way to say we respect that person, but not in away shown above. Here are the orders of who will kiss whose hand:
- Children will also kiss their aunt and uncle’s hand as well as their grandparents.
- Younger brother or/and sister will kiss the hand of their older brother or/and sister. This act mostly takes place once they’re no longer living in the same house.
- Students will kiss their teachers’ hand. It is their way to show they respect the teachers. However, you will not see this act in any international school.
- Wife will kiss her husband’s hand.
As you can see…the hierarchy of kissing hand is from the younger ones to the older ones.
- The president and his wife
Javanese even has a tradition called sungkeman, where the younger ones not only kissed the hand of the older ones but they also did it with a position that looked like kissing the knees of the older ones (See the picture).
I saw a funny scene once, an Indonesian celebrity was marrying a western man (I didn’t know the nationality of that man), when the ceremony was over, the wife immediately kissed the man’s hand…and thinking that was our tradition, the man kissed the wife’s hand in return. The woman was laughing because that was not how it was supposed to be.
Unfortunately, this act to show respect has decreased in some parts of my country. My family tries to maintain this act of respect till today (and many years to come).
Updated on May 18,
I realized I have forgotten to say some important things, I have to set it right so that I won’t give wrong information.
- When I said Western Movie, it doesn’t mean cowboy movie. We, Indonesian, often refer Asian as East people whereas American and European as West People. Therefore,what I meant by western movie is movies made by both American and European.
- This act of kissing hand is not LITERALL kissing the hand like in Mafia Movies where they kissed the Mafia boss’ ring. We often put the hand on forehead or give a little ouch with our nose or lip.
- Sungkeman only takes place during special event,such as Idhul Fitri (Islamic Holiday where we forgive each other) and Wedding (from the children toward their parents)
Sorry for this missing information.
Previous Indonesia Banget Post:
- 17 Agustusan (Independence Day’s Celebration )
- Mudik (Going back to the Village)
- Bedong (The art of wrapping the infant)
- Malam Bainai (a Minang tradition on the night before the wedding)
- Kerokan (One of many Indonesian traditional folk-cures)
- Topeng Monyet (Traditional Monkey Circus)
- Death Ceremonies
- Traditional Houses
- Sangkuriang, a Folklore From Indonesia