Customary Engagement Etiquette in Indonesia

by Rachel Alexander

Indonesia’s religious landscape is a diverse blend of several different religious traditions. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism and animism have heavily influenced the type of Islam practiced on the Islands. Marriage and engagement customs and etiquette reflect this hybrid of cultures.

Arranged Marriage

The Indonesian system of arranged marriage reflects its Hindu and Muslim roots. In Indonesian society, social standing is highly valued. As a result of this class consciousness, engagements are traditionally arranged through relatives. The extent to which marriages are arranged can vary greatly, as now many people opt to choose their own partners. Despite this shift, many engagements are still secured in the traditional way. Bride price is offered by the groom’s family to the bride’s family to secure the engagement. This can come in the form of gifts, property or money.

Photo Credits

  • Pinnacle Pictures/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Rachel Alexander is a cultural and political area specialist of South Asia and the Middle East. She received the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship in 2011, and again in 2012, to live in northern India and study advanced Hindi. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Loyola University of Chicago.