If you are interested in learning about the culture of another ethnic group, one great place to start would be weddings. We have attended several weddings, ranging from the very poor, to those in the middle class. We have yet to attend a wedding conducted by the wealthy, but expect to do so in the future.
Most weddings are conducted along the roads, often blocking a portion or all of the road, in front of the bride’s parent’s home. They may take a week to set up a canopy, stage/platform, tables, and anything else associated with conducting the wedding. A band, or a single keyboard player is employed for music, and they will set up a HUGE amplification system (for Indonesians, the louder the better!).
Neighbors are invited to assist with the food preparation and service, and because neighbors are considered family, they willingly help out. The music can be performed by a band, or frequently, the hired keyboardist will play familiar songs, and anyone can sing (karaoke). The wealthy will rent a hotel ballroom, as well as employ caterers for food service–very westernized.
For the poor, the clothing and much of the decorations are rented, because most people could never afford to buy them. In fact, they must save up for years to conduct a wedding, or they will sell off things of value, or place items of value with a “Pegadaian,” and take out the loan. When they pay it back, they can receive their property again.
Below is a video we made of a Javanese wedding in the city of Jambi, on 17 October 2010. That wedding was held right outside our front door. The second below video was made during the month of November, 2010. It was conducted about a 1 minute walk from our home.