Hantaran: What to Give?

Exchanging of wedding gifts between Malay couples is generally easy because it's mostly from experience as we grow up. Since a good amount of my readers are as international as my partner, I figured I would give a low down of hantaran. At least I try the best I can, okay?

Hantaran comes from the word hantar which means to send. There's really no special meaning on the concept of it besides it's a gift exchange. Over the years, types of gifts changes especially when everything is becoming more modern.


Here are the types:

📖 The Islamic Way

According to Islam, the only gift is from the groom to the bride which is the mahar. It symbolizes the beginning of a husband's responsibility towards his wife in fulfilling her everyday needs. It can be in cash (minimum S$100 according to ROMM) or some form of jewelry. In the past, Prophet Muhammad PBUH has even married off a man whose mahar is a verse from the Quran.

It is well known in Islam that getting married is never intended to be an inconvenience.

🎆 The Malay Traditional Way

You may hear facts about the groom has to give an extra tray (or more) to the bride. But from my Mom's experience from the kampung, it's actually purely depending of the situations. The groom may plan to give 8 but the relatives usually volunteer to add more trays (with fruits or chocolates) and 5 might turn into 11.

The amount of the trays exchanged between bride and groom is an average of 8 trays. It usually consists of

Rings: No specific market value but men are discouraged from wearing gold rings

Dowry: Groom to Bride - Cash amount to be predetermined by parents and that money is to help pay the wedding ceremony on the bride's side.

Mahar: Groom to bride - can be S$100 or form of jewelry. It can be the wedding ring too.

Sireh dara/ Junjung: To signify virginity of the couple

Bunga Rampai: 30 pieces - No meaning but to make the atmosphere aromatic.

Religious Items: Quran, Prayer Mat and or Telekung

Traditional clothes/ cloth to be tailored into one: This is to be worn on the couple's first Hari Raya as a husband and wife

Shoes/ Capal: Shoes that will be worn on the wedding ceremony

Misc. (any or all of these) : Fruit Baskets, Cake, Chocolates, Watch, Perfume set, etc.

💝 The Modern Way

There are no concrete amount of trays that needed to be exchanged but on average, trays exchanged can go up to 10 or even 12. In the modern age, the groom exchange the exact same amount with the bride. The items are more or less like the Malay Traditional way but with a more personal taste.

Rings: No specific market value but men are discouraged from wearing gold rings

Dowry: Groom to Bride -  Cash or cheque amount to be predetermined by parents or the couple themselves and that money is to help pay the wedding ceremony if the parents had helped. If not, it can be saved for future purposes.

Mahar: Groom to bride - can be S$100 or form of jewelry. It can be the wedding ring too.

Sireh dara/ Junjung: To signify virginity of the couple but now it tend to serve as a Malay wedding decor as meaning is forgotten.

Bunga Rampai: 20-30 pieces - No meaning but to make the atmosphere aromatic.

Religious Items: Quran, Prayer Mat and or Telekung

Clothes: Any shirt for groom and cloth to be tailored for bride.

Shoes: Shoes that will be worn on the wedding ceremony or shoes for daily wear such as sports shoes or boots.

Personal Choice: Items the individual couple likes such as a camera, helmet, sunglasses, gaming console, handbag, make up, etc.

Misc. (any or all of these) : Fruit Baskets, Cake, Chocolates, Perfume set, etc.

As you can see, as time passes, the more items and more personalized it gets. To be honest, there's no black and white guide to what to give except for the rings, dowry, mahar, sireh dara/junjung. bunga rampai and religious items. You may have an option to add items depending on your preference and yes, this too should be discussed between the old folks. Some Malay parents prefer a minimum amount of trays exchange while others don't mind.

Most importantly, please be logical and realistic. Spend only if you can afford. Never mind what others say because by the end of the day, they are not the ones paying the bills. For my wedding, we are only exchanging 4 trays. Follow traditions, do what is proper and do you.

   

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