Monday, 10 December 2018

"Now You Are One Of Us"


One morning a week back we set out early for kampung to attend an important family event. An adat perpatih ceremony known as berkedim. I actually had no clear idea about it and could not anticipate what was going to transpire there.

My better half was quiet and seemed serious and jittery throughout the journey. Looked like I was talking to myself all the time. Well, it didn't matter, the repeated but beautiful scene of the landscape was there to lift my spirit high. From inside the moving car, I took some photos, something which can take off the boredom from just sitting.

The morning was cool n fresh.

There was still mist floating in the background, though the sky started to brighten as we traveled on, eastwards.

after more than one hour we then reached the junction with the characteristic arch

And then another junction . . .

No, not to this place, the palace . . .

. . . but to just a humble kampung house where the berkedim would take place, a ceremony, a rite, in Adat Perpatih whereby a person is officially declared to be adopted and accepted into a clan or suku. It is an important procedure because it has got to do with the passing on of property to the next generation.

In this particular case, a woman has the customary ancestral land and properties passed down to her by her mother but she herself has no daughter so the matrilineal descent stops there. (Adat Perpatih is matrilineal culture).

She also has no sisters but only brothers. In the event of her demise, she has no one, according to the culture, to take over the ancestral property. So she decided to adopt a daughter but this adopted daughter must first be accepted into the clan then only she can inherit the ancestral land and properties.

Also important is that there would be someone to carry the responsibility for her welfare in old age.

The adoption is also known as masuk suku. The process is called berkedim.

The adoption process was done in front of the chief of the clan, the Datuk Paduka Seri Maharajalela, the head of the perut ( smaller group in the clan) known as buapak , Ibu Soko and then the eldest son (most important to be present) in the family and other close relatives and clan members. 

The process started with a prologue, a reading of pantun and seloka deep in the local slang. I found it quite interesting though I could not understand some of the words.

The rites include the menepung tawar i.e the blessing by the buapak, the mencecah darah where the buapak, the woman and the adopted person dip their ring fingers into a blood-like solution and lastly the signing of the document .

Then the declaration of adoption was read aloud by the chief of the clan, the Datuk Paduka Seri Maharajalela, ( read, now you are one of us)

The blessing by the elders

The dipping, symbol for accepting 

The signing of the document 
Reading out the declaration for all to hear.

With the completion of the rites, the girl was declared masuk suku. And she would be the one who would inherit the adoptive mother's ancestral properties. No one else can dispute this in the future. So there would be no claims and counterclaims which could make life messy.

After everything was okay i.e no one dispute about the adoption and declaration, there was an interesting talk on Adat Perpatih by the buapak .

A pouch of significance in the culture

Oh, I forgot to tell. For this ceremony, there needs to be slaughtered a cow or a bull or a goat. I was told that in the old days the blood from the slaughtered animal was used in the rite mencecah darah.

A kenduri was held in conjunction with the occasion. The meat from the slaughtered animal cooked into curry and served as the main dish. And there was a special tray of goat head curry for the chief of the clan 😊

So there a little bit about the Adat Perpatih in action and how do I see it?

I might be wrong in interpreting what I saw but I would conclude that people here though modern in their ways still take to the custom and their culture seriously.

The women in a society practising this custom are well protected and taken care of in terms of their welfare in their future lives but then I notice that it is the men who are calling the shots.

All the clan chiefs are men except the Ibu Soko who has little say in the matter.

And the most important is without the agreement from the eldest male sibling this process of berkedim can't take place.

Till next post, bye.


  1. interesting place where women always comes first!

  2. Learnt about Adat Perpatih in our sejarah lesson. Never know people still practise it today. Women in that clan are so fortunate..

    1. The adat is still in practice. It is part of the identity of the people in this place.

  3. Daerah Kuala Pilah dan Rembau masih kuat lagi kot ikut adat tu...

    Mrs. A pernah juga tengok adat perpatih sewaktu majlis kenduri kahwin cousin Mrs. A adeh! rasa macam complicated dengan kepala kambinglah pastu dengan kain putih kena rentang dan hamparkan semua buapak dari suku-suku kena pakai baju adat.

    Sekarang dah generasi ke 4 dah tak ikut sangat pun

    1. Nampaknya begitu lah apa yang saya nampak mereka serius dan ambil berat tentang adat ini.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Selalu dengar orang cakap masuk suku tapi terus terang cakap tidak berapa fasih dengan adat peparih ini. Cuma tahu info basic saja.

    1. Saya pun begitu, tidak berapa ambil kisah sebab saya pun bukan berasal dari N9 Inilah kali pertama melihat upacara masuk suku. Tak sangka majlis nya di buat besar besaran juga.

  5. wah best nya. dulu saya selalu pasang impian nak kawin ngan orang nogori. sebab minat ngan adat pepatih ni. hahahahahha. tapi jodoh saya dengan orang kedah jugak. hahahhaha

  6. Kalau tak silap kalau kawin lelaki nogori boleh lah dikira masuk suku, tapi tak boleh dapat terima pusaka mereka kot.

  7. Teringat pula zaman belajar sejarah.

  8. complete with specific ceremony? wow.. dont know before this.