This month’s Indonesia Banget is more like Minang Banget 🙂
To know what Indonesia Banget is, you need to read the first post of Indonesia banget, here.
Minangkabau is how people in West Sumatra called their land. Sumatra is one of many Islands in Indonesia. It is located on the west side of Indonesia. Both my Parents come from west Sumatra. It can be said that I have west Sumatra blood, but I was born and raised in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.
I choose to talk about Malam Bainai (Bainai Night) because my best friend had held this tradition 2 months ago. This is not national tradition, it belongs only to Minangkabau people.
What is Malam Bainai?
Malam Bainai is held a night before the wedding. It is held by the bride family. At this night, 9 women will put inai on Anak Daro’s nails. I don’t know how to translate Inai, it’s like nail polish but made of inai’s leaves. It turns the nail color into something between red and orange. Women in Muslim counties often wear inai because they are still allowed to do Sholat when wearing inai (they can not do Sholat when wearing nail polish made of chemical stuff). Anak Daro is bride in Padang Language (west Sumatra traditional language)
This traditional event is usually held when the bride is the 1st daughter of the family. The reason is very simple, to let everyone knows that they are about to let go their first daughter into a marriage life. They’ll invite all their family and friends to attend this event.
Long time ago, putting inai on the bride’s nail was not only to make their nails became beautiful. It was also believed that those red fingernails would protect the bride from everyone who felt jealous at her. It would also protect her from the danger that lied ahead of her while preparing for her wedding. After the wedding, those red fingernails became a sign that the woman had married.
Those belief was no longer become the reason of Malam Bainai because it isn’t appropriate with Islam. Nowadays, inai is only to make the bride looks more beautiful.
The dress for Malai Bainai is called Tokah. Tokah is a kind of long fabric wraps around the bride’s chest and shoulder. It might be hard to see it in the picture. It has the color of gold and covered with accessories with the same pattern as the cloth.
The bride will also wear Sunting. Sunting is the accessories on her head that looks like golden flowers. Every Minang’s bride will wear sunting on her head on their wedding day. But the sunting for malam bainai is shorter than the one she will wear on her wedding day. The one she is wearing for her malam bainai is a simple kind of sunting.
It begins with walking the bride into the house. She is then sitting in front of the pelaminan (small version of wedding’s pelaminan). The bride’s parents will sit on the pelaminan. The parents will give advice to their daughter and the daughter will say thank you for the things her parents had done to raise her up.
The second thing to do in malam bainai is showering. It’s not an actual showering like in Java Island, the showering is only a symbolic act. The showering is done by both parents and family from both parents. They will give her more advices.
After the showering comes the main event, putting inai on the bride’s nail. The number of inai has to be odd number, the most is 9 inai. Some will be put by the bride’s family and some others will be put buy the groom’s family. 1 will be put by the bride’s friend who is still single.
The purpose of 9 inai, instead of 10 inai for 10 fingernails, is to remind us that no body is perfect.
Once all inai have been put, the procession is officially over. Throughout the procession, the groom doesn’t present in the house.
Malam bainai is not often done anymore by Minang people. To tell you the truth, that was the first time I saw malam bainai.
All the pictures were taken by me (Click on the pictures to enlarge it) on my best friend’s Malam Bainai. My part in this procession was as the bride’s friend who is still single 😉
I hope you enjoy reading this glimpse of Indonesian tradition which I’ll keep on sharing every month.