I should put a photo of coconut palm blossoms here, to welcome visitors who are genuinely trying to learn about Bahasa Malaysia. Traditionally, Malay folks hold freshly pluck coconut palm blossoms to lead in a procession to welcome the bride and bridegroom or a political leader, serenaded by rhythmic beating of kompangs.
No coconut flowers no kompangs means you are not welcome.
Since we belong to a generation who seldom has access to fresh coconut flowers, we have to make do with artificial ones. So prevalent the artificial ones that a reference book defines the traditional coconut flowers pom-pom as : "thin bamboo sticks with with shiny paper strips spewing ( sometimes together with pineapples ) from top end...they serve as helpful landmarks to help guests find the wedding reception."
Funnylah, in the Terengganu uliK/uliT mayang dance, the bomoh uses the same real thing to chase away pretty sea spirits who enticed the soul of a fisherman. So this flower welcomes humans but shoos evil spirits, eh?
What is the name of the flower in Bahasa Malaysia?
-Blue pea flower, a natural blue colouring for nasi kerabu and kuih tai-tai.
Bunga kantan-The pink torch ginger flower, a must for my Penang asam laksa.
Bunga cengkih-cloves, I love to see them in my chutneys.
Bunga betik- I wonder how many actually know that papaya flowers are among the tastiest vegetable. I love mine fried with kangkung.
Bunga Rampai --Rampai means assorted. Bunga rampai is therefore an assortment of flowers.
What kind of flowers are used? Jasmine, frangipani,kesidang and ros kampung. Fragrant leaves of pandanus and rough skinned lime are shredded to mix with the flowers, and--perfume as well. All these lovely ingredients are put into a small basket made of screw pine and smoked with incense.
Bunga rampai is used in many important occasions of the Malay folks : circumcision, graduation of Koran study, shaving a baby's hair, funeral , wedding etc. In a Malay wedding, it is an essential dowry item and is smoked all night long in the nuptial chamber.
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