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Making the first step with ‘Cincin Tanda’

So, you are ready to tie the knot, your heart is set on that one and only special someone.

The very first step towards a marriage is the proposal. In traditional Malay culture, the proposal is initiated through a searching custom known as ‘merisik’, whereby an elderly and respected member of the suitor’s family visits the potential bride’s family as a spokesperson to learn about her background and investigate whether she is single and available to be engaged. The spokesperson will then ask whether she is agreeable to marriage with the groom. Usually he is accompanied by a small entourage bearing gifts and a ring.

In modern times, ‘merisik’ may just be a formality for the two families to get to know each other, but the highlight of the ‘merisik’ ceremony is handing over of the ‘marking ring’ or ‘cincin tanda’, to be worn by the future bride to symbolize her initial agreement to the marriage. The commonly chosen ring for ‘merisik’ is a simple band known as ‘cincin belah rotan’ as it looks like rattan, and is usually made of gold.