It was an exciting weekend for our little Zara.
On Saturday, extended family from the HMS clan (including from as far as Singapore) descended upon Semarak to help out with the preparations for the Cukur Jambul ceremony that Zara would share with her 2.5 month old cousin Mika.
From the setting up of a massive tent to the slicing of hundreds of bawang and chillis, the house was abuzz with activity up until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Aunty Sakinah and Uncle Karim brought their secret recipe mix of rempah and special long grained Briyani rice all the way from down South to cook up a menu that would include my favourite combo of Briyani, Dahlcha and Pachree.
My mother-in-law even had cute little blue and pink pillows made to go with the decor she had put together in the living room. By 5am she was still up pottering around the house with last minute things to do. I dont know how she manages it, but at her age, she can certainly put any strapping young man to shame.
The little goodie bag my MIL and aunts made for the guests...
As if the house wasnt already full to the brim with helpers, by Sunday morning it was practically overflowing as more family members showed up to help out. By 2pm, everything was ready and all that was left to do was have a quick shower and get dressed.
I have only ever been to a Cukur Jambul twice, and both times - to give way to family members - I sat outside until the proceedings were over. As a result, when the marhaban entourage made their entrance, I had no blinking idea what to do or expect. So... as I've done since the day I got engaged and accepted this completely new culture, I just observed quietly and followed the cue of everyone else around me.
Blearrrccchhh mummy... what are they doing to me?!
Initially I was so worried that the cutting of my baby's hair would leave her half bald, but thankfully, the snipping was left to just the head of the marhaban troop and a few selected elders. There was also a little rite that included touching a gold ring, a date, a raisin, a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of air zamzam to the baby's mouth to wish the baby a life full of sweetness, faith and a number of other good things which in my kancheongness I didnt manage to catch.
Before I knew it, the whole affair was over and it was time to makan... and of course... cam-whore.
Proud Abah and Mummy
Despite all my worrying that Zara would scream throughout the entire ceremony, my little girl was on her best behaviour - sleeping the entire time and squirming only when I had to open her mouth for the air zamzam.
That day, her abah and I were probably the proudest mummy and daddy on earth.