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Malay prenatal tradition: Lenggang Perut (Rocking of the abdomen) / Journal 2 by Hasyimah Harith

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

Content disclaimer: The following post contains material that may be distressing to some viewers.

What are traditions related to birthing in Singapore?

What are items often used in a Lenggang Perut ceremony?

Who are present in Lenggang Perut ceremony?

Videos of Lenggang Perut Ceremony




Title: Keunikkan Adat Melenggang Perut

Title in English: The uniqueness of the custom of swinging the abdomen

(Educational format)


Year uploaded: 2021


My observations of cultural objects used in ceremony:

  • 7 batik cloth

  • Coconut

  • Massage Oil

  • Water

  • Flowers

  • Betel set (Tepak Sireh)

 




Title: Majlis Lenggang Perut Maimunah pada 17 Feb 1985

Title in English: Maimunah’s Lenggang Perut Ceremony on 17 Feb 1985

Year of ceremony: 1985

Country: Malaysia


Video description on Youtube:

This is Ramli's Video Journey-Family Album series Part 2 of 2. This is the video showing Ramli's wife, Maimunah celebrating her first pregnancy (my son - Zaim Aimran who was born on 27thApril,1985) with a simple ceremony called "Lenggang Perut". Here many of my relatives and close friends were present to "Doa" the safe delivery or birth of my son, Zaim and also to seek Allah's blessing and mercy to all present and to all that have passed away. To all my relatives and guests, THANK YOU so much for your kindness, presence and love to all of us. To my Dad and Mum,we seek Allah's SWT Blessings and Mercy for both of YOU in this world and in Paradise (Jannah). Al-Fatihah

 



Title: Lenggang Perut Ringkas

Title in English: A Brief Lenggang Perut Ceremony


Year of Ceremony: 2000

Country: Malaysia


My observations of the bodily gestures and sounds in this video:

  • Actions: Midwife wraps 7 layers of batik cloth over the pregnant mother’s head, shoulder and chest. She is fully covered and seated on a chair. Only 7 female family members such as aunties, cousins are invited to come forward one at a time to the pregnant mother and midwife. Then, the midwife instructs each person to use the dipper to collect water and to pour it over the mothers hair, while reciting some blessings. Then before leaving, they remove a piece of batik cloth. Some elders are seen to be reciting some blessings or saying words of wisdom or encouragement to the pregnant mother before they part.

  • Setting: Held outdoor and under a makeshift tentage. Family members both male and female are seated on chairs or standing and witnessing the ceremony.

  • Items used: Large plastic pail of water with flowers, plastic dipper, 7 pieces of batik cloth of different colours

  • Mood: Laughter, excitement, cheers can be heard from family members who are witnessing the brief ceremony.


 




 

Currently in Singapore in the year 2022, the Lenggang Perut ceremony is not widely practiced anymore as it is considered as a custom that raises religious doubts. Also known as syirik, in Islam it is the sin of idolatry or polytheism (i.e., the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides Allah).


My questions:

  • Why is the Lenggang Perut ceremony no longer practiced in Singapore?

  • What is the relationship between a midwife (mak bidan) and a pregnant mother?

  • What if the role of the midwife is replaced by the partner?




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