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What To Include in Your ‘Hantaran’ Wedding Gift


Introduction to ‘Hantaran’

In Malay weddings, ‘hantaran’ stands out as a pivotal tradition, embodying the exchange of gifts between the bride and groom. This practice is intertwined with the dowry or ‘mahar’, which remains a compulsory element in Islamic marriages. The ‘mahar’, usually in the form of cash or a piece of jewelry like a wedding band, symbolizes the husband’s commitment to fulfill his wife’s everyday needs, marking the start of their shared responsibilities.

Presentation of Hantaran

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During the wedding, these gifts are elegantly displayed on elaborately decorated trays known as ‘dulang’. Each gift is carried and presented by specially chosen tray bearers—’dulang boys’ from the groom’s side and ‘dulang girls’ from the bride’s. The tradition mandates that the number of gifts exchanged must be odd, with the bride typically offering two additional gifts compared to the groom, balancing the total on each side to either seven, nine, or eleven gifts.

Types of Gifts to Include

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Traditional Items:

  • Al-Quran: Central to the spiritual foundation of the couple’s future.
  • Wedding Bands: Symbol of pledge to each other
  • Prayer Mat and ‘Telekung’ : Encourages a life centered around faith.
  • Sireh Dara/Junjung: Betel leaves symbolizing the purity and sanctity of their union.
  • Bunga Rampai: Shredded pandan leaves mixed with jasmine flowers or rose petals sprinkled in rose water, a wish for the marriage’s everlasting sweetness.
  • Traditional Clothing: To be worn during the newlyweds’ first Hari Raya together.

Modern Items:

  • Designer Handbags: Adding a touch of modern elegance and luxury.
  • Couple Watches: Reflecting personal style and contemporary tastes.
  • Fragrances and Shoes: Practical yet significant items of daily living.

Tips on How to Prepare for Hantaran

When preparing for ‘hantaran’, consider these practical tips to ensure elegance without extravagance:

  1. Keep it Balanced: While there’s no set limit on the number of gifts, remember that more gifts mean more tray bearers. This can quickly escalate costs due to the need for matching outfits and other related expenses.
  2. Cost-Effective Decor: Opt for faux flowers for the ‘dulang’ to beautifully decorate the trays at a fraction of the cost of fresh flowers.
  3. Shop Smart: Plan your purchases around annual sales events. Shopping early can lead to significant savings, allowing you to secure the best items for less.

The ‘hantaran’ is not just a display of wealth or creativity; it is a deeply symbolic and loving part of the Malay wedding ceremony. By combining traditional elements with modern gifts, and managing preparations thoughtfully, couples can honor this cherished tradition while making practical choices that reflect their personalities and values.

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