Indonesian royal wedding begins in Yogyakarta with rituals

Yogyakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The four-day wedding ceremony of Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono X's youngest daughter, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara, 25, and Kanjeng Pengeran Haryo Yudhanegara, 30, began with a plangkahan ritual held at the sultan's residence, the Kraton Kilen, on Sunday.

The ritual was needed as Bendara was marrying before her older sister, Gusti Raden Ajeng Nurabra Juwita, 28, Sultan's fourth daughter. Palace tradition requires Bendara to ask permission from Nurabra first.

"I have no problem with it. I see a mate as a fortune. We each have our own fortune and I'm happy for Reni," Nurabra said after the ritual, referring to Bendara's nickname.

The ritual requires Bendara to present Nurabra with two bunches of sanggan banana fruit and several gifts of her request.

"The gifts include a handbag, a purse and a pair of shoes that Reni and I bought together in Jakarta. These are gifts that I picked myself," Nurabra, who works for a software company in Jakarta, said.

Nurabra said she long expected that Bendara would marry before she did as her younger siste had been dating Yudanegara, the head of the Vice President's print media political communications section, for almost five years.

"I just hope they both will find happiness in their marriage and will not forget the family," Nurabra said.

The plangkahan was followed by a ngabekten, a ritual during which Bendara performed sungkeman, kneeling before her parents and pressing her nose to their knees to show her esteem and humility for asking for permission to undergo the wedding.

Bendara was then escorted to the palace's Kaputren compound to undergo the sengkeran, or seclusion ritual, in the Kaputren's Sekar Kedhaton building until Monday.

Meanwhile, the groom moved from the Mangkubumen royal mansion to the palace's Kasatriyan complex for the nyantri ritual.

"This is a ritual that marks the first entrance of the groom to the palace and is only required of a groom who is not from a royal family," Hamengkubuwono's younger brother, Gusti Bendara Pangeran Harya Prabukusumo, said on the sidelines of the ritual on Sunday.

Yudhanegara, formerly Achmad Ubaidillah, was born to civil servants in Lampung on Sumatra Island. He was officially received at the palace's Magangan gate by Bendara's mother, Sultana Hemas, and was escorted to the Kasatriyan's Gedhong Srikaton building to undergo the nyantri ritual.

People greeted the groom with enthusiasm as his procession of three royal carriages passed from the Mangkubumen royal mansion to Magangan gate.

The first carriage was the Kyai Kuthakaraharja, carrying palace officials Kanjeng Raden Temenggung Jatiningrat and Kanjeng Raden Temenggung Yudahadiningrat, who were tasked with fetching the groom.

The Puspaka Manik, was next, carrying the groom, followed by the Kyai Kus Gading, carrying the groom's family.

President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono, Vice President Boediono, and 20 cabinet ministers are expected to attend the wedding.

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