Royal Wedding to remember
By M K Anwar

The closing of the Gendang Jaga-Jaga officially marked the end of two weeks of ceremonies for the royal wedding between Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah and YAM Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil.

HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah is the fourth child of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha.

While, the groom, YAM Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil, is the eldest son and second child of Pengiran Syed Hj Jaafari bin Pengiran Syed Hj Mashor and Hjh Sarbanun Hj Abdi Manaf. The grand ceremonies, rich in Brunei traditions and culture, marked a great heritage passed from generation to generation.

The opening of the Gendang Jaga-Jaga two weeks ago symbolised the beginning of the ceremonial period of 14 days of nightly vigil that ended yesterday. For the locals it marked the start of the celebration of the royal wedding.

A series of ceremonies followed -- 'Istiadat Menghantar Tanda Diraja', 'Istiadat Menghantar Pertunangan Diraja', 'Istiadat Akad Nikah', Istiadat Berbedak', `Istiadat Berinai', 'Istiadat Persandingan Diraja' and finally the 'Istiadat Muleh Tiga Hari'.

Each 'istiadat' told a different story and brought the couple closer to the day when they officially became husband and wife. The ceremonies' deep-rooted culture despite the modern age showed how well they are respected, and most importantly remembered.

The ceremonies are part of the community in the country we call Brunei. Nothing much has changed over the years and each of these weddings are unique in their own way, said a senior citizen. While an expatriate said that Bruneians are so lucky to still practise this unique and opulent tradition. The capital was bathed in glory and looked resplendent with colourful lightings, banners wishing the royal couple and arches.

Cultural and religious shows were performed at the 'Tamu Perayaan' in front of the Royal Regalia building and the Jubilee Park, where stalls were also set up. The venues became the focal point for the public to soak in the festivity.

Nearly three years after the royal wedding between His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah bte Pg Salleh Ab Rahaman, a wealth of royal regalia used for royal functions were brought back to life over the last fortnight.

Royal regalia such as 'Puan', 'Kabok' and 'Panastan', 'Tarian', 'Kiap', Chupu', 'Pesigupan', 'Kaskul', 'Sinipit' and 'Kampitan', 'Pahawai', 'Kasur' and `Namat' that are not seen in a normal wedding glistened during the royal wedding. The advancement of digital photography and newsgathering means that occasions like this are recorded for posterity compared to similar events long time back.

International crews from wire services, such as Reuters, AFP, AP and dpa, as well as women's magazines and photo agencies descended on the country and the ceremonies were beamed worldwide for millions to see.

The climax of the event, the 'Bersanding' ceremony and the procession that followed, will be etched in the memory of thousands of Bruneians and foreigners alike. The streets in the capital were full of people from all walks of life from all districts eager to see the royal couple up close.

The royal couple, wearing full woven Brunei fabric in the pattern of 'Kain Lubang Bangsi' with patterns interwoven with gold threads and inserts of red, throughout the procession shared the joy of the people who wished them well.

Amidst the splendour and glory of this royal wedding, customs and traditions remained at their best. The signs are bright that they will continue to be a part of Brunei Darussalam for years to come. - Borneo Bulletin (15th June 2007)