The younger generation have been treated to the rich and colourful heritage of the Sultanate as the country celebrates the royal union of Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah and Yang Mulia Awang Abdullah Nabil Mahmoud Al-Hashimi.
One of the highlights of the royal wedding is the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony, where the royal bride and groom were decorated in regalia.
A royal wedding showcases traditions in parallel with today’s digital world. The process that took place prior to the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony and all the fine details that were incorporated into the event allow the younger generations to learn, understand and appreciate the nation’s culture and heritage in line with its philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).
The Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony was held in the evening and attended by the royal family and invited guests.
Upon arrival of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam at Balai Singgahsana Indera Buana of Istana Nurul Iman, a permission is sought to start the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony.
As the nation witnessed on Wednesday night, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Haji Mohd Yusof approached Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Haji Idris bin Pengiran Maharaja Lela Pengiran Muda Abdul Kahar to inform that the ceremony was ready to begin.
Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Haji Idris then informed His Majesty regarding the matter, to which His Majesty consented to the commencement of the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja for the royal bride.
What we can take from it is how the culture of permission-seeking and giving teaches about respect prior to making a decision. The graceful ceremony also helps us to understand that the protocol, culture and custom for a royal event are still highly regarded and practised, despite the assimilation and influence of other cultures.
After receiving consent from His Majesty, Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah entered the Balai Singgahsana Indera Buana – dressed in traditional wedding costume referred as sepengadak merah – accompanied by Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna.
It was a picturesque moment as the royal bride walked gracefully, among all-white attired guests, in the middle of the hall before being seated at the royal dais.
The royal bride was decorated in specially-designed accessories, including regalia.
Accompanying Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah were a dian (single ceremonial candle), kasur namat, a puan, a tarian, a kiap, chupu, pasigupan, and dian 16 carried by 16 pahawai (female carrier). Other regalias include 16 pedang and perisai (swords and shields), 16 tumbak bendarangan (spears) and eight kabok and panastan carried by Awang-Awang.
The royal bride was also led by 40 sinipit standing on both sides, while Hulubalang Diraja and Hulubalang Asgar and Juru Bini Dayang Hajah Rokiah awaited Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah in front of the Balai Singgahsana Indera Buana.
All eyes were centred on the royal bride as a piece of red cloth covering the bride’s face was lifted.
The younger generation could learn and understand traditional local costumes – pakaian Brunei – including the accessories worn by the royal bride.
On the royal bride’s head was ayam-ayam bernaga tied with bunga melor (jasmine flower), sisir, bunga goyang, subang (earrings), a kancing (studs), mudapun (necklace), tajok, serbang, sindat, gelang penguluan (bracelet), a panding (belt), gelang geronchong (anklet), karang tembusa and gagatar.
One of the most significant accessories was the jong sarat, a cloth with intricate designs made from woven gold thread worn by the bride and the groom during the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony.
Once the Dikir Marhaban resonated, His Majesty was invited to lead the ceremony of Menculiki Bedak Diraja on Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah, followed by 17 cannon shots indicating the start of the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja for the royal bride.
The Istiadat Menculiki Bedak Diraja was next performed by Her Majesty followed by other royal family members and the groom’s parents. A special powder made from seven coloured dyes was created for the occasion.
The Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja ceremony then continued with royal groom Yang Mulia Awang Abdullah Nabil Mahmoud Al-Hashimi at the same venue.
The royal groom was also followed by companions – 12 sinipit carried by Awang-Awang; seven male pahawai carrying puan, a pasigupan, a kaskol and 16 dian brought by 16 Awang-Awang. Other regalia included six pedang and perisai, six tumbak bendarangan, four kabok and panastan carried by Awang-Awang.
A similar process was carried out for the royal groom where His Majesty led the ceremony of Istiadat Menculiki Pengantin Diraja Lelaki, followed by 17 cannon shots.
Her Majesty, other members of the royal family and the groom’s parents followed suit.
The groom’s attire consisted of kopiah berpisnin, kuas, puntu, gimat, serbang, kanching, mudapun, sigup berbujung, panding, gelang penguluan, keris and jong sarat.
The most important event of the royal wedding was the Istiadat Akad Nikah Diraja ceremony (solemnisation) held on Thursday at the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the capital.
The much-awaited Istiadat Bersanding Pengantin Diraja will be held tomorrow morning, followed by the Istiadat Persantapan Diraja on Monday. The Doa Selamat and the Istiadat Menutup Gendang Jaga-Jaga ceremony to mark the conclusion of the royal wedding will be held on January 25.
The use of royal regalia and decorations during the royal wedding ceremony is unique to the Sultanate, decorating the royal couple in full traditional attire.
It also symbolises the nation’s effort in preserving its rich culture and custom.