Life Philosophy of Maja Labo Dahu for Newlyweds in Bima Society

By Rahmin Meilani Putri, Lecturer in Indonesian Literature at Sumbawa University of Technology (Instagram: prahminmeilani E-mail:

The form of marriage in Indonesia varies greatly. The diversity of ethnic groups makes Indonesian culture very rich in traditions, languages, noble values that guide the lives of its supporting communities, including the wedding procession. This wedding procession is quite diverse, depending on who and which tribe organizes it. For example, the fantastic value of panaik in the Bugis-Makassar tribe, carrying out the pingitan tradition in Javanese society, carrying out the merariq procession in Sasak society, the tradition of proposing to men in Minangkabau society, and many more.

If most people prepare a wedding by focusing on the core event or wedding ceremony, this is not the case with the Mbojo (Bima) community in West Nusa Tenggara. Bima people who will marry off their sons and daughters are more focused on preparing the early life of their children in navigating the household ark.

Like other communities, the Bima community also has a series of wedding processions. The procession begins with the panati activity, which is a procession of someone sent as a representative of the groom’s family to propose to a woman. This is done after ensuring that the woman is not in a relationship with another man. Furthermore, when the proposal is accepted by the woman, the relationship between the two is bound or commonly called wi.i nggahi. The inauguration of the proposal is carried out on a predetermined day which is commonly referred to by the people of Bima as pita nggahi. The pita nggahi procession is similar to the wedding procession commonly referred to as engagement in other ethnic communities.

The next event is nuntu co.i where both parties negotiate until they reach an agreement on the desired dowry. At this stage, the woman has the opportunity to confirm the amount of money brought, the gold offered, the availability of food needs to carry out the wedding procession and whether the groom is willing to provide a house for them to live in after marriage. After completing nuntu co.i, wa.a co.i or also sometimes called ampa co.i is carried out, which is a process of delivering the dowry some time before the wedding procession takes place.

At the core of the wedding, the night before the consent of marriage, a kapanca event is held or the activity of decorating the feet and hands of the bride with finely ground henna leaves. This activity is closed with the meeting of the bride-to-be with the groom-to-be or what is commonly called londe dende. The meeting is accompanied by the singing of tambourines which the people of Bima call hadrah.

This is then followed by the reception. Both events are held on the day after the kapanca night. One day after the wedding, the bride and groom go through the boho oi ndeu procession. This activity is a procession of bathing the bride and groom with fragrant water. The wedding procession in the Bima community is closed or ended with the lao leka activity, which is an activity to bring the bride to the groom’s residence.

For Bima people who have a son, it is an obligation to prepare a house or residence for their son who is getting married. In fact, not a few parents prepare a house for their son even though they do not have a prospective bride. It is also a special attraction for a young man who wants to get married and does not yet have a partner. Because by having a house first, the woman will not hesitate to accept if she is proposed to by the young man.

Furthermore, if the male party prepares a house as a provision for the household, the female party is expected to prepare a plot of land to place or build a house offered by the male party. In addition, a girl in the Bima community also tends to be provided with a number of assets other than the dowry (gold) obtained from the bridegroom. The provision does not need to be something fantastic, just a few grams of gold. Parents provide these provisions with the aim that their daughters will not only bring themselves to the marriage, but also with a little property that can be used during urgent conditions in the marriage that their daughters are about to undergo.

The provision of a house and land as well as gold for the bride-to-be in Bima society is not a form of generosity in a marriage procession. However, the Bima community is basically more focused on how their sons and daughters can run their early married life with enough thought and income for their living expenses. In addition, marriage is a place for them to build a household with various privacy that certainly requires a special space where no one else can interfere. Of course, by living in their own home, the new couple will gain personal freedom. Unlike the case with newly married couples who still live with their parents or extended family, everything will feel awkward for both of them.

Furthermore, the provision of marriage is in line with the philosophy of life of the Bima people, which reads maja labo dahu, which can literally be interpreted as shame and fear. They are ashamed if after marriage they still live with their parents. This means that if they still live in the same house, the newlyweds are still a burden to their parents, so to overcome this they provide their own house for their married children. Dahu or fear is a pillar of life for both married couples to maintain their household. Fear of still being a burden to their parents if they still live in the same house, worried that their household affairs will stick out even if it only reaches the ears of their own parents. Because actually after marriage, everything in the marriage becomes a matter for both husband and wife alone. Not only in household matters, maja labo dahu should always be a provision and self-guard in running life for the people of Bima wherever they are.


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