3 Types of Rings in Malay Wedding Customs
Even though it’s been a long time, a fraction of the Malay community still practices the customs of the past. Among these are marriage customs like the merisik process and giving rings as gifts to the female side. However, during the engagement and wedding ceremonies, rings are also given by the male side. Altogether, the woman will receive 3 types of rings. But, what distinguishes each of these three rings?
Merisik Ring (cincin belah rotan)
‘Merisik’ by definition means to investigate or scout secretly. But, in the marriage context, merisik occurs when the male side sends a delegation to the female’s house to determine her relationship status.
Traditionally, merisik was done when families wanted to arrange a marriage for their children. However, today, even couples who already know each other might still perform the merisik ceremony so their families can meet.
There’s one type of ring that’s popular among the Malay community for this purpose: the cincin belah rotan. This ring is made from 916 gold and has a simple design. It’s also known as a signet ring, symbolizing that the woman has accepted the man’s proposal.
Engagement Ring (eternity ring)
Some couples want to speed up the wedding process by getting engaged on their own. During this ceremony, another ring is presented by the man to his fiancée as a sign that she will become his wife.
The design of this ring is typically more upscale and intricate than the merisik ring. While it’s usually made of 916 gold, it tends to be broader and thicker. Sometimes, it’s made from silver and typically has a small gemstone embedded.
However, nowadays, many give their fiancées an eternity ring or eternity band for engagement. This ring is crafted from 18k gold with small diamonds encircling it.
Wedding Ring (solitaire ring)
Finally, there’s the wedding or ‘nikah’ ring. During the wedding solemnization, both the bride and groom exchange rings, symbolizing their bond as husband and wife. They also partake in a ceremony called the ‘air wuduk’ or ‘air sembahyang’ ritual. In this ceremony, after the marriage contract (ijab qabul) is completed, both partners wear their wedding rings on their ring fingers.
The wedding ring holds the highest importance compared to the other two, representing their status as a married couple. Typically, this ring has one diamond and is often referred to as a solitaire ring.
Nowadays, many couples prefer to design their own wedding rings, seeking a unique design that stands out from typical rings.
Rings for Men
You might wonder, what about the men? Do they receive three types of rings from the women as well? The answer is no. Wearing engagement or wedding rings, including the ‘cincin nikah lelaki‘, isn’t an obligation for them.
However, there’s nothing wrong if the woman wishes to give her future husband an engagement or a ‘cincin nikah lelaki’ so they match during the ceremony. Remember, since the majority of Malays are Muslims, it’s forbidden for Muslim men to wear gold rings. So, if you’re considering buying your husband-to-be an engagement or wedding ring, choose one made from silver or platinum.
Wearing the Merisik, Engagement, and Wedding Rings
With all these ceremonies, that’s three rings given! You might wonder which finger to wear each on.
While it’s up to personal preference, some believe the merisik ring should be worn on the left ring finger, while the engagement ring goes on the right. Some even wear both the merisik and engagement rings together on the right ring finger.
Once married, you can wear your wedding ring alongside your engagement ring on the right, while the merisik ring remains on the left.
Regardless, remember that giving rings is just a tradition. From an Islamic point of view, what’s vital is the marriage solemnization. If you can afford it, go for it! Visit the Love & Co website at https://love-and-co.com.my/ to learn more about the different types of rings available.