Barang hantaran are the wedding gifts exchanged between the bride and the groom on their engagement and wedding day. It’s a long-established tradition in Malay wedding to strengthen the bond between two uniting families and bring everyone together. The hantaran are commonly placed on trays and decorated artistically with flowers, foliage and ribbons.
At the wedding reception, the groom will make a grand entry accompanied by his family and friends who carry all the beautifully handcrafted hantaran. The bride’s family will then receive the hantaran, give away the bride to the groom and usher his side to the dining tables.
Recently, the long-lost trend of wrapping the hantaran with fabrics has made a comeback. Many have also put a spin on the tradition by placing the hantaran in closed boxes. One question is, should you cover your barang hantaran?
Should You Cover Your Hantaran?
The short answer is yes. There are a lot of reasons to hold on to this old tradition of covering the hantaran. So, stay put and find out what they are.
The Top 8 Reasons
Do you know that the vendor will charge you at least SGD45 per tray for a simple hantaran decoration? A bit of coloured ribbon and artificial flowers here and there. You wouldn’t want to spend so much on things you can manage yourself, would you?
So, covering the hantaran with fabrics or boxes are one of the ways to save on wedding costs. You can easily DIY the hantaran and don’t have to be an artistic genius to make them a masterpiece. Chances are, you’ve already wrapped gift boxes like a pro too many times in your life.
Look Elegant And Expensive
With some inexpensive craft papers or fabrics, the covered hantaran, or also known as hidden hantaran, look just as elegant and expensive as they do in a standard, artisanal decorating style. In fact, they can look classy even if they’re wrapped in plain white or brown papers.
Some couples go the extra miles to uphold the tradition by covering the hantaran in batik cloth, or kain batik. You see, there are a plethora of ways to wow everyone with your hantaran without forking out so much of your precious money.
Protect Your Privacy
They say, marriage is just the beginning of a more magnificent adventure. So, your hantaran don’t necessarily need to be all those fancy designer stuff. Of course, if you can afford them, then why not? But if you’re among the average couples that come from all walks of life, don’t feel pressured by society.
Your hantaran can surely be your everyday sandal (read: selipar jepun), kitchen utensils, cooking spices, undergarments, etc. – things that you really, really need in the future. But you might feel inappropriate to display them as a hantaran and bring unnecessary attention. So, covering them once and for all is the only solution to protect your privacy.
Avoid False Accusation
If you do buy a limited edition Rolex timepiece, a pair of Gucci shoes or a Prada bag for the hantaran, you’d surely want to avoid being accused of bragging. The thing is, our society can sometimes be so ‘bawang’! The word means onions, and a group of aunties gathering to cut onions always start gossiping about others. Hence, we, Malays, would call them ‘Makcik Bawang’. Sound familiar?
A group of Makcik Bawang always have their own ways to attack people personally. Even if you mean well, they can spin the story to make for hot gossip topics. Therefore, in order to cover their mouths, don’t you agree that you’ll need to cover your barang hantaran first?
Aside from protecting yourself from the Makcik Bawang, you can also prevent theft. There’ve been a lot of cases where a few of the hantaran suddenly go missing in action, usually the small but expensive one. It’s because they are usually left unattended in the rush of things. Here is a real case reported by HMetro.
There are indeed actual syndicates that are out to steal your hantaran, especially money and jewellery. So please, beware! Covering your hantaran will at least hide the physical form of the precious gifts meant for your partner, preventing from attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Easy To Carry
Besides that, covered hantaran are easier to carry from one place to another because they’re securely placed in the boxes or wrapped with fabrics. Imagine walking while holding the fragile chocolate and sweets tower on a tall raised gift tray. One wrong step and your hantaran will end up in disaster.
Nothing is sadder than watching your hantaran masterpiece crumbles to the ground. It won’t look good in camera and ruin your good mood the entire day which shouldn’t be happening especially on your big day.
Maintain Good Condition
Besides items of clothing and gadgets, the hantaran may include sweets such as cakes and puddings, as well as savoury food like yellow glutinous rice (pulut kuning). They should always be kept covered to prevent harmful bacterias and objects or chemicals from getting into them.
The foods made for hantaran are usually a treat for your new family and friends. The last thing you’d want for them is to have food poisoning and being rushed to the emergency room. So, take extra precautions to ensure that they’re received in eatable condition.
Surprise Your Partner
This last point is applicable if you’re buying the gifts yourself without your other half to make a surprise. Surprises can indeed make people feel special and valued. It can be quite risky, though, especially if you’re getting him or her some clothing items. But if you’re confident enough, then go for it and make a pleasant surprise. Odds are your partner will love it! After all, who doesn’t like good surprises?
There can actually be more than 8 good reasons to cover your barang hantaran. But most importantly, you can save money and make your hantaran more affordable without compromising on elegance, as well as keep all things in good condition.