“Suntiang” (Crown) in Minangkabau

figure 1. goldess and silveress “suntiang kambang”

“Suntiang” is most likely a crown of bride in her wedding in Traditional Wedding of Minangkabau. The big crown, that goldess or silveress color, makes wedding party in Minangkabau is different than other, beside the bride clothes is “baju kurung” and “sarung balapak”. Actually, there are many kind of this crowns or “suntiang”. Like fig 1, for instance, one of them named “suntiang kambang” from Padang Pariaman. The other “suntiang”, those are “suntiang pisang saparak” from Solok Salayo, that’s built without wires; “suntiang pinang bararak” from Koto nan Godang Payakumbuah; “suntiang Mangkuto” from Sungayang (Tanah Datar); “sutiang kipeh” from Kurai Limo Jorong (Bukittinggi); “suntiang Sariantan” from Padang Panjang (where i’m from, Tanah Datar), that has crown; “suntiang Matua Palambaian”, etc.


figure 2. some kind of “suntiang” and “tingkuluak”

Beside “suntiang”, there are different forms of bride crown, named “tikuluak”. Some kind of “tikuluak”, “tikuluak tanduak” and “tikuluak talakuang”, like fig 2. In this below, I will discuss about the facts of “suntiang”.

“Suntiang Gadang” (big size) has 7 levels or over 11 levels, while “Suntiang Ketek” (small size) has 3 – 5 levels. “Suntiang” is contained with some decorations, from the lowest level contains with some “sarunai” flowers form 3-5 layers; next level contains with some “big” flowers form 3-5 layers; and for the highest level contains with “kambang goyang” (such thing of flower) as the complement of “suntiang”. And something was hanging beside the bride’s cheek is named “kote-kote”. The weigth of “suntiang” is over 3.5kg – 5kg, and the bride has to wears it almost 2 hours or along day.

But now, “suntiang” has modified in order to make easy for the bride. It’s like a ban, so the bride can wears it easily. Because of the glamour, elegant, and unique crown (“suntiang”) make every women in Minangkabau feels like a “Universe Queen” along day, in the wedding day.

figure 3. front and back look



“Talempong” – Traditional Musical Instrument of Minangkabau


Talempong is one of musical instrument from Minangkabau. It’s almost like bonang instrument in gamelan instrument. It can be formed from the brass, but also from woods and rocks. Talempong is looked like circle with diameter 15-17.5 cms, the side below making a hole and the upper making a circle bulge with diameter five cms which is the side you hit. Talempong has different pitch each other. Its sound is from a couple of woods that is hit to its face.

1. How to play “Talempong”

  • Talempongs are put on a stand, that are composed neatly then it can be played while we kneeling on the floor mat. This kinf of talempong is called as sitting talempong (talempong duduk).In the ancient time, this talempong always existed in every “Rumah Gadang” (traditional house of Minangkabau, West Sumatera) that was played by the girls for filling leisure. However, today this talempong is found rarely. This talempong is only exist around borderland like Talang Maun and Lima Puluh Kota District.
  • The second way is called as “talempong pacik” (handful talempong) that is played while hanging it on your tumb. This talempong can be played while sitting down, standing up, or walking. Usually, who play this talempong is the old mans or the young mans. This talempong’s music is a kind of ensemble talempong. Then it has to be played by a group. This group has an effect for the interlocking among the instrument in the ensemble.

Genre of the “talempong pacik” features rithm performance due to a output the form short melodies that always evolve, followed by many other instruments in rithm function like “gandang” and “rapa’i” (single headed frame drum) and brass instruments, “pupuik gadang”, that function as melodies. “Pupuik gadang” or “pupuik liolo” thet has multiple-reed is also considered not too important in the composision of “talempong pacik”; its musical function is not related directly with the interlocking aspects.

Relatively, “talempong pacik” is often considered from the names of the song, but not rarely we can find the same basic of the song between repertoar of “talempong pacik” of one region and another region, while the name and the title of thesong are different. The otherwise, the name and the title of the song are same, while the composision is different, it’s just the same. It happen, because of the artist rule who gived the tradition. In the development process, there is cross of inheritance. For example, the heir gived it to the artist of another region. Sometime, the artists do not know the name of the song, they just know the composision of the music. But because of something, they have to name the music on the order from the current side and the name of the song can be same.

“Gendang” has not the same function in an ensemble of “talempong pacik”. The general differences seem in the rhythm tone of “gendang” with the “talempong” has. Many other group use the “gandang” to confirm interlocking of “talempong’s” performance, while in another group it just for tempo arranger and give accent in a form of constant rhythm.

Like other instrument traditional music of Minangkabau, “talempong pacik” is performed in a custom event. For example in a wedding resepsion and other custom resepsions. For conserving it, usually organized a competition of “talempong pacik” in province level. In Minangkabau, “talempong” musical keep survive as ancestor’s heritage purely. The title of the song was taken from people livelihoods. As a tradisional art, “talempong” has two gamuts that are notated, are 5-6-1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4-5.

As functionally, “talempong” is consisted from a few kind of it :

  • “Talempong duduk” (sitting talempong)

Put on a stand which 14 number of pencons, lined two rows.


  • “Talempong Pacik” (holding talempong)

Held by the left hand, while the right hand hit it.

Mens playing “talempong pacik”
  • “Talempong Garetek” (trembling talempong)

For melody.

  • “Talempong Tingkah”

For rhythm.

  • “Talempong Sawut”

For the main tones.

  • “Talempong Batu” (stone talempong)

Those are 6,that arranged neatly on a pad made from bamboo. On each of it, there is a picture of foot, the color is black sallow as a metal that would hit, it will release aloud sound like “talempong” made from metal.

Base on the public story, this “talempong” was found by Syeikh Syamsudin, a theologian. Estimated time was about 12M century, when he dreamed approached by a man in the white cloack, with long beard, and wear turban. The old man in that dream told him that many straggle things in the forest that is overgrown by chamfer and enau leaf. That things could give some good use for children and grandchildren if it is be gathered.

There is a magic in that stone, is before played, it has to be smoked with white incense. If not, then that stone will not make aloud sound like “talempong” but like the sound of hit rock. It will be worse if the hitter does not believe about the mitos, people say he will be cursed.

Source : Minagkabausiana. “Talempong”. http://minangkabausiana.bpa.sumbarprov.go.id/

Tari Piriang (Plate Dance) – Minangkabau, West Sumatera


“Tari Piriang” performance at an special event, by UKM-ITB

Tari Piring (Plate Dance), or Tari Piriang in the Minangkabau language, is one of many traditional dances from West Sumatra province. This particular dance uses two plates tightly held by the dancers on the palm of their hands featuring quick, swaying motions. Tinging sounds occur when a dancer’s ringed finger comes in contact with the plate during movements.

Tari piring was originally a ritual performed by the locals immediately after a big harvest as gratitude to the Gods. This specific ritual was conducted by bringing offerings, such as food, presented on plates while at the same time performing these dance-like movements while walking. With the arrival of Islam, the tari piring tradition ceased to be a ritual practiced by the Minangkabau to thank the Gods but instead became a dance-like performance for various events. Upon the completion of a tari piring dance, plates are thrown to the floor and the dancers continue to perform atop the broken piece of plates.

Minangkabau’s traditional music instruments, the Talempong and the Saluang, commonly accompany tari piriang performances. The total number of dancers must be an odd number, ranging form three to seven performers. The combination of the music’s fast tempo and quick dance movements is dynamic and exhilarating to watch. The dancers wear bright color costumes, mostly of red and golden yellow colors.

1. History of “Tari Piring” in Minagkabau

Once upon a time, Minangkabau people still adored Gods, they believed that the Gods had given the overflow harvest and then protected them from the danger. Therefore the girl dancers would give their harvest to the Gods, put it on the plate. They would wear beautiful traditional clothing and behaved gently for making a formal appearance to the Gods. The offerings was brought to front of the Gods while they danced, contorted the plate for showing their skill. This was the beginning of the tari piriang (plate dance) in Minangkabau, it was since about 800 years ago.

This dance was developing till regime Sriwijaya. But after Sriwijaya down by Majapahit, many dancers moved to Melayu as refugee of Sriwijaya. Then in Minagkabau, happened the change of tari piriang because of entering Islam in the region. They didn’t need making offerings for the Gods. Therefore tari piriang, today, for entertaining the honor guest. Then this dance also as a offerings for welcoming guest at wedding party.

“Tari Piriang” performance at a wedding party for welcoming guest, by UKM-ITB

2. Characteristic of “Tari Piriang”

As we knew, that the plate for bringing offerings for the Gods and now it’s banned. So, the plate is empty or put a flashed candle on it.

Like the history, this dance only  danced by dancer/s that odd amount (like a dancer, three or seven dancers, and so on). Usually this dance is danced until 10-15 minutes because during the dance there will be a ritual of obeisance for the king or the bridegroom. The dancer have to wear beautiful traditional clothing, especially in bright red and gold pattern that believed as carrier of lucky and riches. Accompanist music like, talempong, gandang, saluang, rapa’i, tasa, sarunai, and bansi. Today, the music added bass and keyboard for making contemporary music.

Traditional and modern musical instrument Minangkabau, by UKM-ITB

Gandang, saluang, and talempong

3. Throwing Plate and Stampede the Plate

This is the moment, where your heart beat is going to faster or stop beating. The plate will be threw to the height, then make it be pieces and pedal on it while continue dancing.

the dancer is dancing on the pieces of plate, by GoSumatera.com

It show happiness for the harvest that is overflow. Magically, there is no injury on the feet of the dancer even if they don’t wear sandals.

“Tari piriang” has been showed in many nation festivals, even in international festivals or event of traditional culture. Like “Malam Indonesia : Love Indonesia, Love Japan” in Kyoto, Jepang 2013.

How beautiful Minagkabau! You can feel it as a son of Minagkabau, you can learn it wherever you are. You can find it every where as I can.

Sources :

  • Sejarah Asal Usul Tari Piring serta Perkembangannya, by Kumpulan Sejarah, http://www.portalsejarah.com/
  • Tari Piring : Dance Tradition from West Sumatra, by Kris Tjokro, http://www.tnol.asia/arts-culture/
  • Tari Piring, Seni Budaya Khas Sumatera Barat, by Ika Wahyuni, http://www.gosumatra.com/

Baralek Gadang, Traditional Wedding Prosession of Minangkabau – Beauty of West Sumatera, Indonesia

Baralek Gadang, Wedding Resepsion – Minangkabau

Indonesia is acknowledged for its cultural and ethnic diversity. This diversity became one of Indonesia’s attractiveness in the eyes of the world. One part of Indonesian culture is the traditional wedding party. All elements of the wedding procession started from the customary fashion, wedding decorations, to the procedures for meaningful tradition, offers its own uniqueness.

As one of the ethnic group with the largest population in Indonesia, Minangkabau’s wedding traditions is a traditional wedding party that is usually found in Indonesia. Minangkabau itself consists of several areas called “nagari” (village). Each “nagari” has its own characteristics wedding dress. In addition, the use of jewelry such as bridal headdress worn by the bride also differ. However, basically any Minangkabau traditional wedding feast characterized by stately, luxurious and festive with shades of gold and silver on the altar. As well as for a wedding dress, it’s generally in the form of three-dimensional.

Traditional Altar of “Baralek Gadang”
Modern Altar of “Baralek Gadang”
Traditional Wedding Dress of “Baralek Gadang”
Modern Wedding Dress of “Baralek Gadang”

1. “Maresek” (Introduction)

This is an introductory stage between the soon-to-be bride and groom. In accordance with the kinship system in Minangkabau, the bride’s family (women’s family) went to the groom’s family (men’s family). Traditionally, the bride’s family who come will bring souvenirs such as cakes or fruits; according to the manners of eastern culture. At first some women experienced was sent to find out whether the intended youth interested in getting married and fit the girl. The procession may take place several times the negotiations until an agreement is reached on both sides of the family.

Fruits, Cakes, Traditional Sweet Desserts

2. Maminang/Batimbang Tando (Purposing/Engagement)

Family bride groom family came to woo. If the fiance is accepted, continued to exchange the sign as a symbol binding agreement and can not be decided unilaterally. The event involves a parent or ninik mamak and elders from both sides.

The prospective bride’s family entourage comes complete with betel nut or kampla Carano arranged in the bag made from pandanus leaves. Betel presenting early in hopes of meeting if there are deficiencies or irregularities will not be a rumor. Conversely, things that are sweet in a meeting will stick and be remembered forever. It also included a souvenir cakes and fruits. Objects that are exchanged are usually heirlooms such as kris, traditional fabric or other valuable thing for the family history. These objects will be returned in an official ceremony after a marriage ceremony.

Next is the exchange of family heirlooms between the two families. Objects that are exchanged are usually like a dagger, custom cloth or other objects that have historical value for each party. These objects will be returned in an official event after the wedding ceremony is completed. The last process is deliberation to discuss the procedures for pick-up the groom.

Women’s family and men’s family doing handover

3. Mahanta (A Permission for Elders)

The groom will preach and ask blessing for his marriage to his uncles, the brothers of his father, his brothers who had been married and elders who are respected. A similar process is also performed by the bride, represented by the bride’s relatives who are married by delivering the betel to the elders. For the groom, they bring “selapah” containing palm leaves and tobacco (but it’s been replaced with a cigarette). This ritual is intended to inform and asked for prayers for the wedding plans. Usually families who attended will provide assistance to share the burden and the cost of the wedding according to their ability.

the groom and the bride asking for blessing

4. Babako – Babaki

The family of the father of the prospective bride (called bako) wants to show their affection to participate according to their ability to bear the costs of wedding. The assistance usually in the form of betel, yellow rice with chicken singgang (traditional food), as well as the conduction of goods needed by the bride as a set of clothes, gold jewelry, side dishes, pastries and so on. By tradition, the prospective bride was picked up to be taken to the family home of his father and then the elders give their advice. The next day, the prospective bride would be marched back to her house accompanied by her paternal family by bringing a wide range of relief goods earlier.

The bride come to see her “bako” (her father family)

5. Malam Bainai

Bainai means to embed the smooth paste of henna leaves on the nails of the bride. Typically, this procession takes place at night before the wedding ceremony. This is an expression of the blessings from the elders of the bride’s family. Equipment used include: water containing seven kinds of flowers, delicate henna leaves, yellow umbrella, several Minangkabau’s traditional fabrics, and chair of the bride. The bride wearing a dress called “tokah” and a headdresses while she taken out of the room flanked by her peers.

Henna on the bride’s hand

6. Manjapuik Marapulai

This is the most essential ceremonies in a whole series of marriage according to Minangkabau’s Wedding Tradition. Grooms will be picked up and taken to the house of the bride to hold the ceremony. The procession is also accompanied by granting title to the groom as a sign of his maturity. Typically, the family of the bride must bring a betel in “Carano”, the groom’s clothes, yellow rice with chicken singgang (traditional food), side dishes, pastries and fruits. These goods as a sign of good faith from the family of the bride. Envoys from the bride’s family would pick up the groom carrying the goods. After the procession “sambah-mayambah” and explication the purpose of their arrival, the goods will be handed over to the groom’s family. Grooms with his entourage would be marched to the residence of the bride.

“Marapulai” (the groom) is picked up

7. Manyambuik Marapulai di Rumah Anak Daro (Welcoming the groom in the bride’s house)

The tradition to welcome the groom in the bride’s home is usually a festive moment. Accompanied by the sound of Minangkabau’ traditional music, the arrival of the groom greeted by rows of “Galombang Pasambahan” dancers, which is consist of young man dressed in martial arts custom as well as girls in traditional dress while presenting the betel. Throughout the procession, the groom will be housed within the family of the bride. Furthermore, the elders of the bride will strew the grooms with yellow rice. Before entering the house, the foot of the groom sprinkled with water as a symbol purify and groom will run up the white cloth heading to the venue for the ceremony.

“tari Galombang Pasambahan” to welcome the groom

8. Ritual After the Wedding Ceremony

There are five common Minangkabau‘s event which held after the wedding ceremony.

█ Mamulangkan Tando

After officially became husband and wife, the marks given as a sign of a binding promise during the proposal process will be refunded by both sides, because the goods have historical value and both families have become one family.

█ Malewakan Gala Marapulai

Title as a sign of honor and maturity are carried by the groom which is usually published directly by Ninik Mamak (man from the family). Something very typical about Minangkabau tradition is that every man who has been considered an adult should have a title. Adult term of a man determined if he had been married. Thus, for every youth in Minangkabau, on the day of his marriage he had given the title by his people.

█ Balantuang Kaniang

The bride and groom are seated facing each other and both their faces are separated by a fan, then, the fan will be lowered slowly. After that the bride’s forehead would be touching. The philosophy: They already legally become “Muhrim” so the skin contiguity between them no longer undo their “wudu'” (the process before prayer).

█ Mangaruak Nasi Kuniang

This procession hinted cooperative relationship between husband and wife who must always exercise restraint and complement each other. This ritual begins with the bride and groom are attempt to take the chicken meat which is hidden in the yellow rice. Chicken body parts were taken marks the respective roles in the household. Chicken head means dominant in marriage. Chicken breasts means tolerant and patient. Thigh and wing means being a protector for families and children.

█ Bamain Coki

Coki is a traditional game of Minangkabau, which is a kind of chess game performed by two people, resembling checkers game board. This game means that the bride and groom should be mutually soften their stiffness and ego in order to spawn the intimacy.

Sources :