Istiadat Bersiram at Istana
by Lyna Mohamad

The Doa Selamat and Kesyukuran of the Istiadat Bersiram ceremony for Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah in conjunction with the birth of Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah binti Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah was held yesterday.

The ceremony began with the Pehin-Pehin Khatib and Begawan-Begawan Pehin Khatib as well as Mudim-Mudim entering the surau one by one and seated at the centre of the ceremony for the Berdikir ceremony.

After getting the consent from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for the ceremony to officially begin, the ceremony saw four Awang-Awang carrying the Dian Empat and three Awang-Awang carrying the Surat Dikir, Bantal Geguling and Pebarahan and placing at the designated place.

The ceremony then began with the recital of surah al-fatihah led by Pehin Khatib Mudim Hj Awg Mustafa Hj Murad who also headed the Dikir Assalamualaika followed with Dikir Syarafil Anam and continued with the recital of Rawi and Dikir Marhaban where at the "Ya Habibi" line, 19 shots of the cannon were fired.

In the meantime, Pehin Penyurat and Pehin Bendahari and Awang-Awang entered the ceremony bringing the "Anchit" filled with scented oil. Following the doa dikir, the doa selamat was then recited by the State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abd Aziz bin Juned.

HRH Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah was born on 28 Muharram 1432 corresponding to January 2, 2011 and is the second child of HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

Yesterday's royal ceremony was carried out in front of YAM Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar.

Amongst those present at the ceremony were YAM Pengiran-Pengiran Cheterias, Cabinet Ministers, Privy Council members, deputy ministers, Pengiran-Pengiran Peranakan, Pehin-Pehin Manteri and Manteri-Manteri Hulubalang, LegCo (Legislative Council) members, permanent secretaries and senior government officers.

The Istiadat Bersiram is a ceremony that is held on special occasions such as weddings and coronation. It is also held to mark the end of confinement for a lady member of the aristocrats.

In the ceremony, the lady member of the aristocrat is showered with a variety of fragrant water with several royal regalias and Pahawai (royal attendance) in tow. To mark the occasion, a doa selamat (thanksgiving prayer) is held at the balai or lapau. This ceremony is equivalent to the Istiadat 'Mandi Berlawat' among the Brunei public.

Cheterias, Pengiran-Pengiran Peranakan and other guests are invited in accordance to the position of the lady aristocrat who is celebrated and in some occasions, invited female guests sit in accordance to their positions also.

Istiadat Bersiram is carried out in another part of the palace while the religious function is held in the balai, royal surau (prayer hall) or lapau, where invited guests recite prayers like Dikir Syarafil Anam.

In a gesture of appreciation, guests are given a 'Champur' and a 'Pacak Talur' to signify their attendance at the 'Istiadat Bersiram'. The ceremony is also a way to honour, announce and welcome the baby who is the newest member of the royal family. - Borneo Bulletin (11th March 2011)