INDONESIA - The peak of the three-day royal wedding procession of Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X's fourth daughter, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Hayu, was concluded on Tuesday morning with the ijab qobul (Islamic wedding ceremony) held at the Palace's Panepen Mosque.
The ceremony started at 7:15 a.m. and was directly conducted by Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. The wedding prayers were conducted by Kanjeng Raden Penghulu Kamaludiningrat to open the ceremony and was eloquently delivered in Javanese.
"I, Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo Notonegoro, today carry out your majesty's command to marry your daughter Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hayu with the Holy Quran and a set of prayer outfits as a dowry. Thank you," KPH Notonegoro read out his wedding vows in fluent Javanese.
The ceremony was followed by more prayers and the signing of the ijab qobul documents and ended with the sungkeman (kneeling down to show respect) ceremony by the groom as a symbolic gesture of asking for the Sultan's blessing after the marriage.
Historian Djoko Suryo of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Yogyakarta said that the Panepen Mosque was deliberately chosen as the venue for the ijab qobul because it was considered the closest place to the Sultan's heart.
"For a Sultan, the mosque is a place to surrender to God. That's why it was chosen for the ijab qobul ceremony although the building itself is quite small," Djoko said.
After the ijab qobul, the groom was sent back to the Palace's Bangsal Kesatrian hall while the bride was directed to the Sekar Kedaton hall in order for them to prepare for the panggih (meeting) ritual.
"Panggih is a moment when the groom meets the bride after being married," Djoko said.
In the past, he added, a groom and a bride would never meet each other prior to the wedding ceremony, which was the only part of this royal wedding that was not in line with tradition. However, following tradition, on the eve of the ijab qobul a tantingan (confirmation) ritual was held to verify the bride's commitment to the marriage.
The panggih ceremony on Tuesday started at about 10 a.m. in the Palace's Bangsal Kencono hall.
Also witnessing the ceremony were President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono, Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo and other VVIP guests.
Chairman of the royal wedding's organising committee, Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung (KRT) Yudho Hadiningrat, said that the panggih ceremony was opened with an edan-edanan dance conducted by the palace's royal servants wearing traditional clown costumes.
The dance, he said, was meant to protect the groom and the bride from danger.
Following the dance was the ritual of balang-balangan gantal (throwing betel leaves at each other). The groom threw four betel leaves while the bride threw three, meaning there were seven betel leaves in total. Seven, or pitu in Javanese is regarded as pitulungan (help) from God.
The next phase of the ceremony was the mecah tigan (breaking egg) ritual performed by the groom by stepping on an egg to symbolize the couple entering a new world as a family. The bride then washed the groom's feet as a symbolic gesture of a wife's devotion to her husband.
The panggih ceremony was completed with the pondhongan ritual in which the groom carries his bride to symbolize a husband's respect for his wife.
On Wednesday, a kirab (parade) procession will take the newlyweds from the Yogyakarta Palace to the Kepatihan compound, where the wedding reception will be held.
Twelve horse-driven carts have been prepared for the parade during which thousands of people are expected to see the royal couple as they are presented to the public for the first time after the wedding ceremony.