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Book Review

24 sepember 2008 00:07

Aqiqa in the Malay Society

Aqiqa in the Malay Society

Lagu Ayun Budak; Rampai Budaya Melayu Riau
Irwan Effendy and Muslim Nasution
The Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture in cooperation wit Adicita Publisher, Yogyakarta
1st edition, June 2008
vii + 32 pages
14,5 x 20,5 cm

The Malay people possess, and still actively organize, various traditional ceremonies that remain up to these days. One of them takes form in traditional ceremony which represents the sequence of life starting from birth to death. All of those indicate that the Malay people‘s lives are organized in such way by their ancestors, and inherited hereditarily from generation to generation.

In common, the Malay people invite their relatives to attend their traditional ceremonies. While some other Malay people, prefer to dish the guest with various banquets, or even celebrate the ceremonies in an atmosphere that is full of magical and sacred nuance. However, highlight of those various ways in celebrating traditional ceremonies is that traditional ceremony represents that human being has been organized as such by the existing value which is handed down from generation to generation.

Ayun Budak is a ceremony that is commonly held by the Malay people who have just given birth to a baby, especially on the seventh day after giving birth. Aqiqa – sacrificing the goat or ram on behalf of a new-born child on the seventh day after his birth - ceremony; Tepung Tawar – rice flour mixed with betel leaves, pounded into flour – ceremony; and cutting new-born child‘s hair usually sign the opening of Ayun Budak ceremony. Starting from this point, Irwan Effendi and Muslim Nasution attempt to raise a theme on this traditional ceremony for its abundant religious and social values in the Malay society.

In this 32-page book, Effendi and Nasution explain briefly and draw learning from the existence of Ayun Budak in the Malay society. Seemingly, the book tries to reveal cultural theme from every stages of Ayun Budak, such as treatment to new-born child and traditional songs in this ceremony.

Ayun Budak, according to this book, derives from two words, Ayun and Budak. Ayun or Ayunan is a piece of cloth hanged in such way used as a plaything to support a baby back and forth. And, Budak in Malay language, means children. Therefore, Ayun Budak can be interpreted as a ceremony in which the number of people enthusiastically swings an Ayun – wherein a baby is put within – while singing some traditional songs bearing advice about local wisdom, and reciting prayer for the baby. Female attendants are usually designated to sing songs while swinging the Ayun, which is beautifully decorated with colourful ribbons, papers, and cloths (page 3).

So far, there is no exact data telling the date of invention, origin, and creator of Ayun Budak ceremony. However, this book says that the ceremony was firstly carried out by Hajji Sulaiman – Effendi‘s grandfather – after coming back from Keddah, Malaysia. But, the information above may only develop in surrounding areas of Hajji Sulaiman‘s resident in Bangun Purba Sub-district, Rokan Hilir District, Riau Province. To the present, the ceremony has developed and spread through neighbouring regions such as Riau and North Sumatra. The author, likewise, finds the same ceremony in Malaysia (page 4).

Through this book, the authors would like to reveal and answer some questions dealing with Ayun Budak ceremony. This book, which was published by the Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture (BKPBM) and Adicita publisher, drives its readers to some topics such as the way of Riau Malay people conduct the ceremony; correlation of the ceremony to Islamic aqiqa ceremony; the acculturation of the ceremony with other cultures; and meanings of every stages in the ceremony.

According to this book, Ayun Budak is a way to express the Malay people‘s happiness and gratitude for the coming baby as a new member of their families. It can be seen from the songs which are sung reciprocally by both male and female attendants. The songs‘ lyrics are as follow:

Dengan Bismillah Rabbi kami mulai
Alhamdulillah selawatkan Nabi
Dengan Takdir Rabbi Ilahi Rabbi
Sampailah Maksud yang dicintai
Seorang anak Rabbi cinta yang lama
Sekaranglah sudah kami terima
Titiklah titik Rabbi diberi nama
Kami ayunkan bersama-sama
Dipanggil kami Rabbi orang sekalian
Oleh ibumu bapakmu tuan
Sesudah diberi Rabbi minum dan makan
Menyatakan syukur kepada Tuhan
Syukur kepada Rabbi Allah ta‘ala
Karena mendapat intan kumala
Memberi sedekah Rabbi beberapa pula
Dengan sekedarnya adalah pula

Besides, the celebration of Ayun Budak is likewise aimed at delivering wise advice to both the baby and the guests. Taking a look at the lyrics below, we will see that the songs are used as the media to express the parents‘ wishes to God:

Ibu bapakmu Rabbi mari dengarkan
Anak diayunkan kami nyanyikan
Bersama-sama Rabbi kita doakan
Harapan Allah minta perkenalkan
Adapun anak Rabbi masa kecilnya
Harum-haruman ibu bapaknya
Sehingga sampai Rabbi sudah umurnya
Satu tahun genap bilangan

To some extent, Ayun Budak ceremony is a way to strengthen ties of kinship between the family holding the ceremony and the guest attending the ceremony (page 4-5). It can be seen on the song‘s lyric below:

Dipanggil kami Rabbi kaum kerabat
Serta sekalian handai sahabat
Sekalian jiran Rabbi kawan terdekat
Semuanya datang dengan selamat
Jauh dan dekat Rabbi datang sekalian
Besar dan kecil laki-laki perempuan
Setengahnya datang berjalan sampan
Setengahnya datang berpayung sampan
Inilah kami Rabbi datang bertamu
Mengunjungi engkau hilir dan hulu
Mengayun engkau Rabbi maksud begitu
Karena hajat ibu bapakmu
Wahai anak Rabbi pikir olehmu
Besarnya hajat ibu bapakmu
Jika besar Rabbi sudah umurmu
Jasa mereka balas olehmu  

The lyric above clearly shows us the cordial welcome from the family holding the ceremony to the attendants. Its reciprocal way of singing, which is full of metaphorical sense, affirms a good intention from the attendants to both the family and the baby. At a glance, such way of singing is almost the same as berbalas pantun tradition (reciprocal presentation of pantun), which is commonly found in some religious rites, marriage ceremonies, customary traditions, and other social activities, presenting amongst the Malay people up to now.

Based on the brief explanation above, we may conclude that Ayun Budak bears philosophical values handed down from generation to generation. Taking a look at the entire stages of the ceremony and its songs‘ lyrics, we will see that the ceremony contains so much moralistic values and good wishes to the baby. Therefore, in the Malay society, there is no customary ceremony that does not bear any values like religious, moralistic, and social values.

Though some people argue that Ayun Budak is a mere elaborate ceremony, its existence in the Malay society never fade at all. Their loyalty to tradition is one of so many ways to keep their identity as Malay – for the consequence of following ancestors‘ traditions. Consequently, their loyalty then is materialized into the traditional ceremony of Ayun Budak.

As a result of creative thinking on literature, songs in Ayun Budak come from the oral tradition which is still exist amongst the Malay society for thousands years. So far, there is no any medium to save the meanings and learning that may be drawn from this oral tradition. Hence, oral tradition in Ayun Budak is possible to be threatened with extinction. Through the publishing of this book, Effendi and Nasution endeavour to write this oral tradition into this book so that it can be used as guidance for the coming generation in performing this ceremony. In another word, this book is published to cope with the limited memory capacity of human in learning oral tradition.

In conclusion, this book tries to reveal the detail procession of Ayun Budak ceremony. Completed with photographs and lyrics of the songs during the ceremony, this book is a proper reference for those who are undertaking research or study on Malay culture, especially Riau Malay. Prestigious appreciation should be delivered to the authors for their work materialized in this book.

(Tasyriq Hifzillah/resensi/01/09-08)

Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/57/09-08)

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