Photo: Courtesy of All Seasons Photo (Instagram)

As we all already know, Kahiyang Ayu, the only daughter of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, wed property businessman Bobby Nasution in a solemn feast in the city of Surakarta recently. The wedding ceremony was well attended by family and friends of the couple, as well as distinguished guests and the who’s who of Indonesian politics and business—indeed, also many residents from around the Surakarta area who didn’t want to miss out on celebrating the momentous occasion. Big congrats to the families of the president and, of course, the happy couple!

Jokowi modestly led the Islamic solemnisation ceremony, or akad nikah, on November 8. Orchestrated in an array of centuries-old Javanese wedding traditions practiced by commoners, the two-day nuptials celebration was broadcast live by major TV stations and certainly reported by most media, which kept the entire country glued to the tube. For some interesting facts about the wedding event, check this out below.


On the traditional Javanese decorations... Since daybreak on November 7, the private residence of Jokowi at Jalan Kutai Utara, Sumber, a hamlet in Solo the vintage capital of Surakarta, was humming with activity. A big party tent erected with colourful decoration on the premises was ready to accommodate the guests.

Traditional Javanese decorations flanked the entrance, festooned with garlands of banyan tree leaves, strands of rice, stalks of sugar cane, young coconuts and banana bunches that bids welcome as the first family embark on a ceremony popular as “Pasang Bleketepe”. 


On the traditional Javanese classic outfit... At around 9am, President Jokowi, First Lady Iriana and the immediate family turned up at the doorway. Jokowi and Iriana were dressed in classic batik, called truntum, an ages-old motif that symbolises parental guidance in leading offspring to a new family life. The couple matched the classic outfit with an orange jacket for Jokowi and an orange tunic for Iriana.

The same coordination applied to the garb of first son Gibran Rakabuming, his wife Selvi Ananda, as well as second son Kaesang Pangarep, except that the three donned a different pattern called parang, a sacred motif contemporarily regarded as a symbol of struggle, strength and hard work.

On the traditional wedding ornament... The President then ascended an aluminium staircase, and with the help of the First Lady, he attached the bleketepe—a traditional wedding ornament constructed in the form of green coconut webbing—on top of the entrance. The stretch was then followed by the couple unwrapping tie-dye cloths called cindé that had covered a pair of banana bunches set as the centrepiece of the garlanded entrance.

Gibran then came forward to hand over strands of rice to Jokowi and Iriana, and gracefully the two rested the strands of the golden-coloured grains on the banana bunch; the final touch in a ritual that signalled the family’s preparedness to stage a wedding ceremony.

On the Javanese wedding traditions... The rite continued to the interior of the residence for a ceremony called cethik geni and adang kapisan, which literally means “lighting a kitchen’s fire and first cooking”. Jokowi and Iriana worked closely, symbolising the way that a husband and wife should to cooperate in running the household.

The symbolic act was then followed closely by siraman, the bride’s bath. A key ceremony in the Javanese wedding tradition, siraman signifies the cleansing of the bride’s body and soul.  Sungkeman, asking for blessings from the parents, elders and respected relatives followed; and, to call it a day, Jokowi and Iriana underwent dodol dawet, a custom in which the parents of the bride distribute dawet, the sweet traditional ice dessert popularly known as cendol.

On the bride and groom’s special train carriages... On the Wednesday, the wedding day threaded dynamically from 6:30am onwards, with citizens lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the bride and bridegroom en route to Graha Sabha Buana, the function hall owned by the family. Bobby Nasution and his entourage in three horse-drawn carriages were the first to arrive at Graha Sabha Buana at around 8:15am. At the lead of the procession is a women’s squad dressed in the elegance of traditional dress apparel from various ethnical groups of the archipelago.

A few minutes later, Kahiyang Ayu, on board a golden carriage called Kereta Kencana, and her entourage arrived at the scene. With her on the carriage especially designed by Gusti Bendara Pangeran Haryo Yudhaningrat, the younger brother of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta was Gibran Rakabuming and Ananda Selvi and their son Jan Ethes Srinarendra. Trailing behind were Jokowi and Iriana on board an open carriage drawn by two mares named Mulan Djamilah and Ratu Sangkar. Unlike the groom’s train that passed through the main street of Solo, the bride’s procession passed through the minor lanes that meander through residential areas.

On the solemnisation ceremony... At precisely at 9am, Kahiyang and Bobby tied the knot in an Islamic solemnisation ceremony, or akad nikah, held at the main hall of richly decorated Graha Saba Buana. In the ceremony led by Jokowi, Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Head of the Ulema Council Ma’ruf Amin acted as witnesseses for the bride, while Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution and former Head of Muhammadiyah Safii Ma'arif acted as witnesses for the groom. To conclude the ceremony, the Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Said Agil Siraj led a series of prayers.

On the celebrations for the local residents... Some 8,000 guests from all walks of life attended the event in three separate events: marriage solemnisation, daylight reception and evening reception. Thousands of residents spilled into the streets as they celebrated the marriage of the only daughter of Jokowi, the city’s, mayor who, at the beginning of this century, rediscovered the grandeur of Solo, the idyllic capital of Surakarta Hadiningrat. Yes, many local residents celebrated the matrimony as well as they didn’t want to miss out to celebrate the momentous occasion.

On the village style... “Alhamdulillah, Kahiyang and Bobby’s ijab qabul marriage solemnisation went smoothly: let’s pray that their marriage will always be filled with love and affection in building a new family: “Jkw,” tweeted Jokowi right after the marriage solemnisation. On another occasion, the down-to-earth president stated his daughter’s wedding ceremony was no different from others. “Don’t compare it with other wedding ceremonies. We celebrate it in a village, in a rural area... it is as it is."


Tags: Jokowi, Wedding, Javanese Wedding, Bobby Nasution, Kahiyang Ayu