Ideas & Advice

Here's why Malay brides throw their clothes on the roof of their house

When it comes to Malay weddings, there are a number of taboos and practices (aka pantang-larang) that involve the bride and groom.

Malays have a lot of superstitions or pantang-larang, even when it comes to weddings. You might think no one would be practicing superstitions in this day and age, but you’d be surprised. After all, when it comes to such things, it might be better to be safe than sorry.

However, these taboos don’t involve wedding guests – rather, they require effort from the brides and grooms (or their family members). We asked a 63-year-old auntie and a few married millennials about these pantang-larang and whether they did it for their weddings. 


#1 Wear the bridal outfit from bottom-up

This is to ensure the bride's radiance doesn't get "swept away". We don't know how true this is, but could part part of the reason be that so she doesn't end up smearing her makeup on the outfit? Another version of this is that the bride can't look at the mirror once her makeup is done her wedding day. Sofia said, "My sister didn't look at the mirror at all when she had her makeup done."


#2 Go for a lulur scrub regularly a month before the wedding

Some spas, including Sri Bayu Balinese Spa, still offer this as a pre-wedding treatment. This scrub is a traditional ritual done on bride-to-be to make sure they look radiant on their wedding day. Zee said that while her mum asked her to go for it, she didn't. Her sister, however, did so religiously.


#3 Don't eat cucumbers and soy-based foods in the days leading up to your wedding

According to Malay culture, cucumbers and soya are considered "cold foods" that can lower chances of conceiving. While we couldn't find any scientific studies to back this up for women, a study did find that while consuming soy-based foods doesn't affect most men, it can further reduce sperm count for men whose sperm count is already on the low end.

(While we're on the topic of food, here are the 8 foods to avoid on your wedding day.)


#4 Don't eat chicken's neck before your wedding

The saying goes, "Jangan makan leher ayam, nanti bersanding kepala teleng." This means, "Don't eat chicken's neck or your head will be inclined to one side when you're on the dais."


#5 The bride and groom cannot meet a month before their wedding

The older folks would say 40 days, but these days, brides-to-be are advised not to meet their fiances a month before their weddings to avoid temptation and lust. After all, some people might think, "Since we're going to marry anyway..." But in this day and age where you have to do fittings for bridal outfits, most couples don't follow this practice. Sarah said, "I didn't follow this practice, but my cousin followed it closely, and did not meet her fiance for a month before the wedding. When it came to outfit fittings, he would go for the fitting first, and she would go to the shop after he left." 



#6 Throw the bride's clothes on the roof of the house

This practice is said to prevent rain from raining on your parade, literally. But hold that thought - don't throw your wedding outfit on the roof just yet. Rather, you're supposed to throw your everyday clothes (secretly, no less) and it has to stay on the roof all day until the ceremony is over. Kind of like a guarantor of sorts. But according to an auntie we spoke to, no one does that these days, because many people live in HDB flats. Instead, consider planting chillies and onions (believed to keep the rain away).


#7 The bride and groom's rooms shouldn't be left empty before the wedding

If they are not around, a family member should sleep in their rooms. This is to prevent people with malicious intentions from harming them. When asked for the reasoning behind this, an auntie simply said, "Tak bagus lah (not good lah)."


This story was originally published on Cleo