Ceremonial language and social cohesion: An analysis of Seumapa in Acehnese wedding traditions

Kismullah Abdul Muthalib, Dohra Fitrisia, Nia Zahara


The Seumapa ceremony, a rhyming exchange ritual performed by a Syekh (reciter) representing both the bride’s (darabarô) and the bridegroom’s (lintôbarô) parties during Acehnese wedding ceremonies before the groom is allowed into the house of Acehnese society in Indonesia, stands as a testament to the role of cultural rituals in capturing and spreading societal values and norms. This study attempts to analyze this ceremony to reveal the social community, practice, and symbolic language within the Acehnese wedding context. It is to further understand how they shape the social cohesion and identity of the Acehnese community. By employing observations on three wedding ceremonies, and interviews with three elders of the community, the analysis of Seumapa’s cultural values reveals the ceremony’s emphasis on etiquette, respect, social and religious identity, customary knowledge, and educational significance. Ritualistic greetings and gift exchanges portray communal harmony, while symbolic acts symbolic acts like lifting the curtain and presenting ‘hantaran’ (ceremonial gifts) from the groom to the bride and vice versa represent social identity and mutual responsibility. The integration of religious knowledge depicts the community’s prioritization of spiritual preparedness, and the use of symbolic and metaphorical language reflects societal values and aspirations, signifying the importance of wisdom, respect, and communal bonds in preserving Acehnese cultural identity.


Acehnese wedding rituals; cultural adaptation; symbolic language; social cohesion; tradition and modernity

Full Text:



Adams, W. C. (2015). Conducting semi-structured interviews. In K. E. Newcomer, H. P. Hatry, & J. S. Wholey (Eds.), Handbook of practical program evaluation (4th ed, pp. 492-505). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119171386.ch19

Agustia, I. M. (2018). Seni teater tutur Aceh di Desa Cot Puklat Kabupaten Aceh Besar [The oral theatrical art of Aceh in Cot Puklat Village, Aceh Besar Regency] [Bachelor’s thesis, Universitas Syiah Kuala]. Electronic Theses and Dissertation Universitas Syiah Kuala. https://etd.usk.ac.id/index.php?p=show_detail&id=53441

Arby, I. (1989). Tata rias dan upacara adat perkawinan Aceh [Makeup and traditional wedding ceremony of Aceh]. Harpi Melati.

Aziansyah, D. G. (2017). Persepsi masyarakat Aceh pada upacara perkawinan adat Aceh tradisional ditinjau dari demografi [The perception of Acehnese society on traditional Acehnese wedding ceremonies as viewed through demographics] [Bachelor’s thesis, Universitas Negeri Jakarta]. Repository Universitas Negeri Jakarta. http://repository.unj.ac.id/id/eprint/273

Bell, C. (1997). Ritual: Perspectives and dimensions. Oxford University Press.

Bowen, J. R. (1993). Muslims through discourse: Religion and ritual in Gayo society. Princeton University Press.

Coyne, C. J., & Mathers, R. L. (2011). Rituals: An economic interpretation. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 78(1-2), 74-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2010.12.009

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Sage Publications.

Dianti, E., & Affandi, S. (2023). Tradisi berbalas pantun (Seumapa) dalam perkawinan adat Aceh [The tradition of exchanging rhymed verses (Seumapa) in Acehnese traditional weddings]. Literatur: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra, 5(1), 91-104. https://doi.org/10.47766/literatur.v5i1.1774

Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse: Textual analysis for social research. Routledge.

Flaut, T. (2021). Traditions, a means of safeguarding authentic spiritual values. Science & Philosophy, 9(1), 61-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.23756/sp.v9i1.598

Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. Basic Books.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2007). Language and society. Cambridge University Press.

Hamid, T. A. (2021, May 6). Indahnya adat Seumapa Aceh [The beauty of Seumapa tradition in Aceh]. Sekretariat Majelis Adat Aceh. https://www.maa.acehprov.go.id/berita/kategori/adat-istiadat/indahnya-adat-seumapa-aceh

Harun, M. (2015). Karakteristik pantun Aceh [Characteristics of Acehnese pantun]. Lingua: Journal of Language, Literature and Teaching, 12(1), 39-58. https://doi.org/10.30957/lingua.v12i1.70

Hawa, S., Kurnita, T., & Lindawati. (2018). Perubahan bentuk pada busana tradisional adat perkawinan Aceh Besar [Changes in the forms of traditional wedding attire in Aceh Besar]. Jurnal Ilmiah Mahasiswa Program Studi Pendidikan Seni Drama, Tari dan Musik, 3(2), 191-198.

Hennilawati. (2019). Tradisi Mangandung dalam adat perkawinan Angkola [The tradition of Mangandung in Angkola wedding customs] [Doctoral dissertation, Universitas Sumatera Utara]. Repository Institusi Universitas Sumatera Utara. http://repositori.usu.ac.id/handle/123456789/13359

Hockey, J. (2002). The importance of being intuitive: Arnold van Gennep’s the rites of passage. Mortality, 7(2), 210-217. https://doi.org/10.1080/135762702317447768

Jamalia, L. (2014). Tradisi buka palang pintu pada pernikahan masyarakat Betawi [The tradition of opening the door bar in Betawi weddings] [Bachelor’s thesis. Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah]. Institutional Repository UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. https://repository.uinjkt.ac.id/dspace/handle/123456789/27700

Jaya, I., & Daud, B. (2017). A discourse analysis of Melengkan at a Gayonese wedding ceremony. Studies in English Language and Education, 4(1), 105-119. https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v4i1.7008

Kapferer, B. (2008). Beyond symbolic representation: Victor Turner and variations on the themes of ritual process and liminality. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 33(4), 5-25. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.v33i4.116459

Kertzer, D. I. (1988). Ritual, politics, and power. Yale University Press.

Martynova, E. Р. (2021). The institution of gift exchange among the Ob Ugrians in the anthropological discourse. Bulletin of Ugric Studies, 11(3), 546-555.

Nasir, C. (2015). Attitudes of Acehnese people towards Acehnese proverbs in relation to education. Studies in English Language and Education, 2(1), 45-60. https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v2i1.2234

Pennycook, A. (2004). Performativity and language studies. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 1(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15427595cils0101_1

Rossano, M. J. (2012). The essential role of ritual in the transmission and reinforcement of social norms. Psychological Bulletin, 138(3), 529-49. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027038

Royani. (1994). Pantôn Seumapa. Lembaga Adat dan Kebudayaan Aceh.

Sarah, S., Supadmi, T., & Zuriana, C. (2022). Nilai-nilai edukatif dalam tradisi Seumapa di Kabupaten Pidie [Educational values in the Seumapa tradition in Pidie Regency]. Jurnal Ilmiah Mahasiswa: Pendidikan Seni, Drama, Tari & Musik, 7(3), 1-13.

Smith, P. B., Easterbrook, M. J., Koç, Y., Lun, V. M., Papastylianou, D., Grigoryan, L., Torres, C. V., Efremova, M., Hassan, B., Abbas, A., Ahmad, A. H., Al-Bayati, A. J., Selim, H. A., Anderson, J. R., Cross, S. E., Delfino, G., Gamsakhurdia, V. L., Gavreliuc, A., Gavreliuc, … & Chobthamkit, P. (2021). Is an emphasis on dignity, honor and face more an attribute of individuals or of cultural groups? Cross-Cultural Research, 55(2-3), 95-126. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069397120979571

Turner, V. (1969). The ritual process: Structure and anti-structure. Aldine.

van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. University of Chicago Press.

Wartono, W., & Supriyono, S. (2020). The contributions of Indonesian Islam: In the context of socio-cultural identity. International Journal Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, 22(2), 131-161. https://doi.org/10.21580/ihya.22.2.5660

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v11i2.29512

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

View Journal Stats