Istiadat Bersiram at Istana
By Lyna Mohamad & Yusrin Junaidi

Thanksgiving prayers for the "Istiadat Bersiram" of Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar on the occasion of the birth of His Majesty's daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah were held yesterday afternoon at the Istana Nurul Iman's Surau.

The ceremony, headed by YAM Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Hj Idris Pg Maharaja Lela Pg Muda Abd Kahar, began with the mass recital of al-fatihah followed by Dikir "Assalaimuali" and several Dikir recitals including "Rawi" and Zikir "Assrakal Badru" by Pehin-Pehin Khatibs and Mudim-Mudims led by Pehin Khatib Hj Mustapa. It ended with Dikir Marhaban.

Towards the end of the Dikir, 21 shots of the cannon were fired. Yesterday's royal ceremony concluded with a doa selamat read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Abd Aziz Juned.

Amongst those present at the ceremony were Pengiran-Pengiran Cheterias, Cabinet Ministers, Privy Council members, Deputy Ministers, Pengiran-Pengiran Peranakan, Pehin-Pehin Manteri and Manteri-Manteri Hulubalang, LegCo members, Permanent Secretaries and senior government officers.

Meanwhile, spouses of Pengiran-Pengiran Cheterias, Cabinet Ministers, Privy Council Members, Deputy Ministers, Pengiran-Pengiran Peranakan, Pehin-Pehin Manteri and Manteri-Manteri Hulubalang, LegCo members, Permanent Secretaries, and other female guests were seated at the Balai Indera Kencana of the Istana Nurul Iman.

HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah was born on Saturday, 19 Muharram, 1429 Hijrah corresponding to January 28, 2008 at 4.21pm at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital.

The Istiadat Bersiram or Royal Bathing Ceremony is done on special occasions like weddings, coronations, as well as to mark the closing of confinement for a lady member of the aristocrats.

In the ceremony, the lady member of the aristocrat is showered with a variety of fragrant water with several royal regalia and Pahawai (royal attendance) in tow.

To mark the occasion, a doa selamat is held in the balai or lapau. This ceremony is equivalent to the istiadat 'mandi berlawat' among the Brunei public.

During the function, dignitaries, Cheterias, Pengiran Peranakan and other guests are invited in accordance to the position of the lady aristocrat celebrated and in some occasions, invited women guests sit in accordance to their positions also.

Istiadat Bersiram is carried out in another part of the palace while the religious function is conducted in the balai, Royal Surau (prayer hall) or lapau where invited personnel and invited guests recite prayers.

In a gesture of appreciation, guests are given a 'Champur' and a 'Pacak Talur' to mark their attendance at the 'Istiadat Bersiram'. The ceremony is also a way to welcome and honour the newest member of the royal family. - Borneo Bulletin (1st April 2008)