By Nicholas Yeo
Weddings are often the main functions where we proudly display our ethnic and religious identities for all to see, a chance for those outside our concentric circle of beliefs to experience the intricacies of culture that we steadfastly follow.
For 25 years I have never had the chance to attend a Malay wedding, the smell of the biryani when I do walk pass one often making me wish I had to opportunity to. I always consider these open air celebrations to be so much more inclusive, not just for their friends and relatives but for other members of the neighbourhood and community as well.
So imagine the excitement in me when I was invited to attend the wedding of Emah & Ridhuan.
The traditional colours of yellow, green and silver adorned the massive pavilion in Pasir Ris, with the groom and his posse being stopped by bride’s family who cheekily tested his resolve and dedication to his future wife, as evident from the laughs and ‘oohhhhhhs’ generating from both sides of the family.
While most hotel wedding dinners would immediately cue any song by Jason Mraz, it was the traditional banging of the drums to a distinctive beat that meant one could hardly take their eyes away from the lively procession.
The bride’s face hidden behind the fan, traditional dancers took to the stage to bless the couple to be before the posse resumed their embarrassing antics as demanded by the bridesmaids to show the grooms dedication to his wife to be.
And as the couple finally took their seats in the centre of the stage before the matrimonial ceremony took place and relatives flocked to have that momentous picture with the couple, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude that I was able to learn, understand and just be part of this traditional celebration of matrimony.
It was then that I knew I had earned the right to partake in that plate of briyani i had always dreamed of.