0918 GMT October 17, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, just a handful of family members were on hand to witness the Miolon pinisi or Mi’lang ceremony of Elvin Chin and his wife Jacynthia Janett Jackson at her village of Kampung Kionsom in Sabah, Malaysia, freemalaysiatoday.com reported.
The Mi’lang is the ritual performed at Kadazandusun weddings but it has largely been done away with new wedding rites.
“We wanted our wedding to be a memorable one despite the standard operating procedure (SOPs) and restrictions. What better way than to re-enact a wedding rite from the old days,” said Jacynthia, 23, a medical clinic assistant. Elvin, 27, is an offshore oil rig worker.
Only her mother Jenny Maskir and her grandfather Maskir Gitom, village chief Gilbert Liaw as well as Elvin’s mother Tina Chew and two family members were on hand to witness the ceremony.
To ensure they got things right, the elder Maskir consulted Kota Kinabalu Native Chief — a Kadazandusun community elder — Eric Majimbun about the rite while Jacynthia and Elvin’s families did their own research as well.
As their extended families and friends witnessed the ceremony via live feeds on social media, the Mi’lang ceremony got underway with Jacynthia and Elvin sitting on a single woven mat to signify a life together.
As the family elder, Maskir addressed the gathering, expressing happiness that his granddaughter and her spouse decided on having the ceremony which he had personally not witnessed in decades.
“From what I know, this ceremony is just 20% of the original ritual, but at least it is a reminder to the younger generation of our ancient wedding rites,” he said.
Maskir said the rites involved the feeding of food between the groom and bride and that this symbolised that the couple were about to embark on a life together. It was not, he added, merely a “photo op” like in modern wedding receptions when couples feed each other a slice of their cake.
“You are about to feed each other food. This act is a symbol of the pledge of your love and care for each other for the rest of your lives,” he said.
The family members then brought a tray of food that included linopot, a dish of rice, yam and sweet potatoes wrapped in leaves. Also on the tray was losun, a vegetable similar to spring onions or chives.
The couple then simultaneously declared a matrimonial pledge to each other in Kadazandusun.
Amid jokes and laughter, Jacynthia and Elvin exchanged rings and then fed each other by hand the linopot rice and the various dishes.
The couple then fed their mothers before Maskir declared the ceremony as completed amid the recorded beating of gongs.
“I’m thankful we’ve had this opportunity to have this ceremony despite the challenging circumstances but it is important that elements of our culture are not forgotten,” Maskir said later.