"Arab"/Javanese wedding in Banyuwangi

john madden

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Some time ago I was privileged to attend the wedding of a nephew of my wife who married a girl of Arab extraction. I'd previously had next to no contact with this group in Indonesia and had read little about them. There's one family in our town who own a Jamu shop and I've chatted to another chap in a nearby town who has a perfume stall. Very occasionally I've noticed facial features reminiscent of the Lebanese and Turks in Australia.

Turns out there is a large enclave in a kampong in Banyuwangi city. We males attended the first segment of the proceedings early afternoon. The ceremony was not dissimilar to the usual KUA event other than the entire absence of females including the bride - she was sequestered alone in a room in the house - her father acted as her proxy I gather. Attendance I estimate at more than 600, 80% of whom looked decidedly "Arab". Dress was quite casual and not particularly other than normal. A dish of goat biriyani was provided.

We returned in the evening for the ladies event. Maybe 800 ladies 90%+ of whom looked very, very "Arab" and of course done up to the nines. We male visitors from the groom's side and a few other men were allowed to attend but were seated off to one side, separated from the women and with a poor view of proceedings. The groom of course spent the evening with his bride sitting on display on the stage, other than for a stately procession they made down the central aisle and back.

The ladies were entertained for a couple for hours by a three-piece male band - vocals, keyboard and a round bodied stringed instrument that I didn't get a good enough look at to identify. The ladies had a hoot and I think there were the usual mildly ribald numbers judging by the acclamation. Chicken with wet rice.

Interesting all round and actually more enjoyable than the usual eat and run Javanese do.

Brother-in-law and I chatted for a while to an old bloke who said he was fifth generation, forebears from the Hadramat. Unfortunately there was no other opportunity to enquire further so I'm now keen to do some reading about the history or this group in Indonesian society. Interesting that the "Arabs" are reputed to not intermarry much and while this was borne out by the physical appearances of most, there were also clear cases of intermarriage and certainly no signs of resentment at the marriage we attended.
 

fastpitch17

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From some stories I have heard from family members in Jakarta who have a fair amount of Arab descended friends, it is not uncommon for an Arab male to marry and Indonesian female but frowned upon by family for an Arab descended female to marry a non Arab descendant male.
 

john madden

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From some stories I have heard from family members in Jakarta who have a fair amount of Arab descended friends, it is not uncommon for an Arab male to marry and Indonesian female but frowned upon by family for an Arab descended female to marry a non Arab descendant male.

And yet that was the case with the bride (Arab) and groom (jowo) at the event I attended. And there was another such appearing couple there that I noticed throughout the course of the day (we hung around the house and kampong between events). Of course I wasn't looking hard so there may well have been couples of the persuasion you describe as well.
 

scouser59

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I wonder why the arabs ended up in banyuwangi ? maybe the port , I did some searching about banyuwangi online , there is little about the history and conflicting info, some disturbing images in the 60s of osing ,dead, being dragged around behind motorbikes , which the local people seemed to know little about , people in that period changing from hindu to muslim for fear of their life .but ya locals will tell you different .

Just like the massacres here in bali around that period .
 

Puspawarna

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This feels rather frivolous coming directly after scouer59's post, but ... how was the food? Any Arabic influences?
 

john madden

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This feels rather frivolous coming directly after scouer59's post, but ... how was the food? Any Arabic influences?

Goat biriyani (rather than kari ayam/rendang which are the usual options at a local do) on a plastic plate with a plastic glass of water. No free smokes in evidence, and minimal jajan, only for the (human) kids.
 

Puspawarna

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Oops, you already mentioned the goat biryani. In the time between your post and when I responded, I forgot. ::embarassed::
 

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