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How shall we organize a traditional Nyonya wedding?  As we love to combine old traditions to present day society and culture, we share some thoughts of some points we consider while preparing the mixed cultural wedding.

You have probably heard the popular wedding tradition saying before, but not every bride to be knows exactly where it originated from or what the meaning behind the saying is. It is a darling saying and is one of the only wedding traditions in today’s society which makes some sense. It is a cute tradition – one which is performed to bring good luck to the newlywed couple.

The traditional saying is: Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue. And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

So following the tradition of having something old, my daughter choose to wear a hundred years old Nyonya red gown for her mixed cultural wedding, kind of like a link to the mother who she loves.  There are many things you can use as theme to rekindle “something old for your wedding.

And for something new, which means optimism and hope for the future. It sends the message that both the newly weds are creating a new union that will endure the test of time. Many brides choose to use a red wedding sari or bridal gown, flowers or rings to symbolize the “something new” in this tradition.

Something Borrowed, for that if you borrow an item from your happily married grandmother or mother, you can fulfill both of these meanings. Uvaraani chooses an hundred’s years old Sapu tangan Nyonya (Nyonya handkerchief) to wrap around the coconut she took to her new house on her wedding day. Doing this lets your parents (or grandparents) know that you admire their marriage and the respect they have for each other and that you hope to have an equally happy marriage.

Something Blue: The color blue has been connected to weddings for centuries as a symbol of love, modesty, fidelity, good luck, purity and loyalty. Many brides incorporate this color into their clothing, by either wearing a blue stoned jewelry item or wearing a blue garter. However for a modern spin, you could use blue toe nail polish, blue eye shadow, a blue ribbon tied into your flowers, blue underwear, even wear light blue shoes! The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

A Lucky Sixpence: A sixpence in the bride’s shoe represents wealth and financial security. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be worn in the left shoe. What I did as her mother, without her knowing was places an old coin in her coconut she carries. An old wives tale mention that both couple wont hide their wealth from each other.

As for Jivan and Uvaraani, honoring the something old, new borrowed, blue tradition by having a Muhibbah Nyonya and Indian Wedding seems an unforgettable day. Although some items are supposed to bring good luck to the bride, they are

following this tradition to honor people close to them on their wedding day.

The Sri Singamuga Kaliamman Floating Procession is the only unique Indian festival in Penang. Why, well the main highlights is a floating chariot procession where the lady deity with a lion as her companion or what the Indians called her vehicle take a ride to the sea.

Teluk Bahang Floating Chariot Procession

Strong men shoulders her to a specially prepared, heavily decorated floating chariot for a sea ride around the sea of Teluk Bahang.

The usual festivals commences a week before the main festival day. Days before the locals communities of Teluk Bahang heads each day to offer prayers or free food to the devotees coming to pay homage to “Ammah”, known to us as Sri Singamuga Kaliamman. Rather long right, so we addressed her as “Ammah”. As she is their protector and many villages or fisherman there have tales to share with you.Some will tell you how they were guided to safety whenever big storm are about to come. Some remembers the Tsunami that were turned away miraculously. No ones lives were lost or in trouble in the Teluk Bahang sea.

Such were her powers that yearly thousands of devotees form all over Malaysia and Singapore never failed to make their journey home to offer homage for their success in life.

Beautiful styrofoam dishes of light floated in the dusk of the Teluk Bahang sea. But this year, she circles the sea early and return to land as before the total lunar eclipse starts to dazzle us.

Another year is here, so may I wish you a Happy Awesome and fanstatic New Year 2008!!!

January is an exciting month for us Penang people as the Thaipusam festival is here again. Last year was my first year as I went around four full days with Chandra, my Indian hubby. We met lots of people and foreigners and every one wanted to know what is going on. So our days were spent meeting new friends, having them together with us as they were so awe inspired and fascinated by this festival

Read our experience last year.

This year we are organising a tour to help those interested. From early morning before the real Thaipusam day till the second day evening. The pictures both taken day and night adds to your memory. It is defitenely as kick ass lifetime experience for many who were with us last year.

Some said it is amazing what people do to fulfill their wishes. As for me, I only know taking pictures without really watching cos I was scared and cannot bear seeing the big hooks. In some instance, our new found friends were in tears seeing them in spears, hooks hanging on their faces and back. Join our tour this year. And learn form Chandra an insider propsective of Thaipusam.

Recently, life has been so busy for Chandra and I. Zooming all over Malaysia and Singapore, distributing cards for our daughter’s marriage in September.

Mums exchanging ceremonial rites

As we were distributing the wedding cards, it suddenly occurs to us, people are getting more advance and modern.

Older relatives seemed to think delivering cards by coming in person is a norm. They enjoyed our visits, had time to catch up. Enquiries of other siblings seemed warm and sincere, which makes us very pleased. The old ways of “stay for lunch or dinner” still exist with them. Our very old aunt who is over 80, immediately goes to the kitchen to hook something light for us even though we said we have already had our food.

But not the ones in their 30’s. Most felt that sending a card through email, a snail mail or a phone call is acceptable. These are the ones that makes our day long.

It is definitely a long day traveling in overnight buses, not sleeping well, no proper bath and not drinking enough water. Me… I am so particular about drinking water but for trips, I couldn’t drink more because of the funny stops the buses made. The pit stops they made, is not desirable for the bums and also our taste buds.

So customs and traditions is very much alive as the excited aunts and uncles keep asking what are their roles in the wedding, what must they do and all. Seems interesting to me to hear the 30’s not wanting cards hand delivered but happy to be told what is expected of them.

So my conclusions for handling wedding cards is still very traditional. Do it and your results will be : 80% attendance from those you delivered the cards by hand and 60% for those you delivered through others means.

Engagement Card of Uva and Jivan

Beside that we just went through the engagement ceremony in our home recently. Read how Indian engagement prior to marriage is performed in Malaysia. The roles the bride and groom and parents played in this ceremony is fun.

Though I must say this, our kids would not go through this traditional ceremony had it not been the parents advising them how important it is. They would opt for a honeymoon in Paris, which they still do, anyway.

But being good kids, it is gratifying to know they are respectful and filial towards us “old foggies”

Blessing from Grandma Kamachi

If you respect customs and tradition and not sure how to go about it for Indian Wedding performed by our Southern Indian Malaysian standard, keep coming back to my blogs or site.

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