Uang Panai: Makassar’s Enduring Tradition of Respect and Love Toward Women

Written by Bulan Indah Armalia

Edited by Ninik Tri Astutik 

Have you ever believed that humans bought humans?‘. Here is another unique culture coming from Makassar, South Sulawesi. This province has a unique cultural tradition known as Uang Panai. Uang Panai is a compulsory dowry from the groom or groom’s family to the bride’s family. The bride’s family receives customary presents as a symbol of respect for letting their daughter marry into the family. The Uang Panai or Panaik has been rooted and passed down in Makassar and Buginess culture from the prior generation. The amount of Uang Panai is typically discussed between two families and varies depending on its aspects. It includes the family’s social background and the bride and groom’s education level.

Women are deeply valued and respected in Makassar culture. The Panaik custom is a method of honoring a woman’s status in society and gratitude for the bride’s family to raise and educate the bride’s daughter. It is also a sign of the seriousness of the groom to get a woman he loves. The groom’s family must first seek permission from the bride’s family to propose and marry their daughter. Once the approval is granted, the two families will negotiate and agree on the given amount of the Panaik money. 

Generally, the Uang Panai ritual occurs a few weeks before the wedding. The first stage of the processions is Mappese-pese. A man will appoint a family representative to visit the bride’s family to propose to his chosen woman. Madutta or Massuro, the groom’s representative family, comes to negotiate the nominal amount of Panaik with the bride’s family. Mappenre, the groom’s family visit and bring the agreed-upon Panaik money to the bride’s family. After completing the previous stage, it is time to determine which good day to hold the reception party, Mappettu.  

Throughout the years, the custom evolved, and some families have begun to include modern items like electronics and home appliances along with their Panaik money. This custom provides gold, silver, jewelry, textiles, or other valuable items. The Uang Panai ritual is more than simply a formality. It also symbolizes the symbiotic relationship of two families to come together and deepen their bonds during the time. In conclusion, the Uang Panai tradition is a unique cultural practice in the Makassar community and reflects the values or beliefs of its community. This tradition has stood the test of time and remains an essential aspect of the Makassar culture as part of Indonesia. 

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