Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bunga Rampai (Wedding pot-pourri) - RT/ WW

At a heritage tour, I learnt to make a Bunga Rampai (wedding pot-pourri) that is used in a Malay wedding. Putting together an assortment of colourful fragrant flowers, finely sliced pandan leaves and with a sprinkling of rose water, the mixture was stuffed into a folded betel leaf.

It gave out a lovely fragrance which is refreshing.

slicing the pandan leaves finely

The tradition of having Bunga Rampai at Malay weddings has been passed down through the generations. According to our guide, the preparation of this gift brings family members and relatives closer.

Once they gather to slice the pandan leaves, those family members who were not on talking terms would somehow have to communicate with one another and hopefully, whatever misunderstanding or differences would be resolved.

Perfect! All the veins meet on this betel leaf

We were told the betel leaves used for preparing this gift have to be perfect. All the veins of the betel leaves have to meet, any broken vein would be a bad sign for the newly-weds. The marriage might not last. :P

Interesting. :)

I have found a great use for this pot-pourri. I make a huge amount of bunga rampai and put it in decorative bowls or small rattan baskets to let the fragrance permeate around my hall, study and bedroom. You can also put it in an organza pouch. Have fun. :)

First Commenter - Dora


  1. Perfect betel leaves? Then must have 100% quality control in choosing the leaves. ;)

    Thanks for sharing this interesting information.

  2. Dora,
    If I'm the mother of the bride or groom, I'll make sure the betel leaves are 100% perfect. :D

    Congrats for being FC of this post. :)

  3. I'll be making some bunga rampai pretty soon. Both my sis and my Brother in law will be getting married in June. :)

    Pity we'll be in Singapore after both of them get married (separately, not with each other) otherwise can always ask ECL help to make some. Hehehe

  4. Lina,
    Congrats to your sister and brother-in-law on their marriage!

    I would love to help out with the bunga rampai. :P

    I want to experience the kampung spirit too when there's a happy occasion in the neighbourhood.

    I envy the closeness of the family members in the Malay community.

  5. Im not familiar with Betel leaves but I guess it's the same on every country in the world thay we throw petals, flowers or rice to the newlyweds :)

  6. Joanne MV,
    We shower them with blessings and best wishes..... and
    To live happily ever after. :)

  7. Wow, nice tradition and flowers. Never knew that until you tell me. Haiz how can I not know when I got so many Malay friends? :p

    Congrats to Lina and family too. :D

  8. Thank you for sharing this interesting tradition, with red sprinkled throughout!

  9. @ECL,
    you are welcome with open arms to drop by. Their wedding is on 06/06/09. Do let me know if you want the invitation send over, OK? :)

    Anyway, on 08/06/09 come noon, we should be in Singapore oredi. Yay!

  10. JL,
    I have many Malay friends, colleagues and neighbours, but yet I still have so much to learn on their tradition and culture.

    It just gets more interesting. :)

  11. Hi Martha,
    Red is an auspicious colour in Asian culture. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Lina,
    6609! Buy 4D. hahaha....

    I wish I could participate!

    I have an important medical appointment that week. :(

  13. Looks interesting :)
    So will the smell only linger when the leaves and flowers are still fresh. Once the leaves and flowers dry up, we can add essential oils to the dried pot-pouri?

    p/s: Enjoy your film festival tmr nite! :)

  14. napaboaniya,
    The pandan leaves are such fragrant plants and even if they are dried up, there is still a faint scent in the room.

    I change the pot-pourri every week, I do sprinkle a few drops of rose water when I'm lazy to change but the smell of fresh flowers is not there. Easy to make and natural. :)

  15. What a lovely and informative article ECL.Its always nice to learn about the traditons of other cultures.Singapore is ideal for that.I think these bunga rampai pot-pourris would be nice at any wedding regardless of culture.A treasured touch of Malay tradition that everyone would appreciate I think.

  16. ECL,
    OK, tomorrow I go buy. If win, can belanja you makan. :)

  17. That's beautiful. You can use it to decorate your bedroom. :P

  18. Interesting post. The betel leaves have to be perfect? Wow! very dangerous - the survival of the marriage is at stake!

  19. You made a beautiful pot-pourri :D

    P.S. I am still in SGP leh!

  20. Looks like an interesting potpourri using pandan and betel leaves. Never thought! :-)

  21. The idea of getting family members who are not on talking terms to communicate with one another in the hope to resolve differences by gathering to slice the pandan leaves is rather symbolic and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  22. That looks baeuatiful. I bet it snells wonderful too

  23. How creative and beautiful!

    At first, I thought you've been in Holland and that it was real tulips :-)

  24. "Once they gather to slice the pandan leaves, those family members who were not on talking terms would somehow have to communicate with one another and hopefully, whatever misunderstanding or differences would be resolved." Hmmm, that sounds interesting!!!

  25. Lovely series of ruby photos ;--)
    Interesting traditions too!
    Hugs and blessings,

  26. I want to married again
    just for the decoration :))
    Happy WW !!

  27. Mmmm I can imagine the smell of pandan and rose water. Wonderful!

    Happy RT!

  28. Great story (learned something new) love the flowers (wish I could smell them). Interesting how if we look deeper into traditions we see a purpose behind them we never saw before, that Potpourri is a beautiful tradition.
    see mine here

  29. most people like the wonderful aroma of potpourri gifts in the workplace or at home, which make our daily lives so much more enriched.

  30. That is so beautiful and I am always so impressed at the traditions you have. I love it and wish I had more traditions.

  31. These are so beautiful and it's such a lovely tradition. I love your basket. Maybe the energy of the good potpourri has floated through cyber space because I feel happy just looking at them.

  32. looks fantastic and for sure smells good as well. how I wish I can make something like that. having a tradition like this is really worth treasuring.I find it so lovely.

    been new to blogging.hope you can visit me. (joe-ann.tongson.com) thanks.

  33. That's so pretty! I think it's a lovely tradition and it's nice that you had the chance to learn making it.

  34. Very cool. Looks like an unusual plant.

    Thanks for dropping by...

  35. ECL, we have call it pandan and betel leaves in the Phils, too. Very lovely!