Pantun Betawi

Betawi traditional poetry (pantun), as well as pantun in Malay in general, has certain standards. If in the Malay society pantun is delivered in a very formal manner, the Betawi pantun is just the opposite. The striking feature of Betawi pantun is its choice of words and sound elements that seem hilarious, spontaneous, and outspoken.

We can find Betawi pantun in a format that often deviates from the standard. Standard pantun generally consists of 4 lines; the first 2 lines are called sampiran (intro) and the last two lines are called isi (content). It is important to note that the pantun writing pattern is known as rima (rhyme). Rima means equation of syllables at the end of each line, known as the ab-ab pattern.

The peculiarity of the Betawi pantun actually lies on its more free pattern. Besides the pattern of rhyme ab-ab, the pattern of aa-aa is also known. Likewise in terms of lines, patterned 4 lines called pantun, and patterned 2 lines called karmina. There are even 6-line patterns.

With regard to the contents of the pantun, a number of Betawi pantun are an expression of various advice relating to ethics, morals, manners, humor, religious teachings, and social criticism.

Traded or reciprocal pantun are often used in a wedding event, such in the Open the Door’s Latch (Buka Palang Pintu) ceremony of a wedding. The groom’s family starts to explain the purpose of their visit by using Betawi pantun. The bride’s family will respond also using pantun, so the pantun is answered by pantun.


Source: Various Sources