Malaysian Culture

History

Malaysian culture is an amalgamation of culture of different people from different parts of the country. The indigenous tribes were the first people to reside in the region and they are still continuing to live there. In ancient times, the Malays from the mainland of Asia moved to the area followed by the immigration of Chinese and Indian people to Malaysia. The Malaysian culture has also been influenced by Persian, Arabic, and British civilization. Various ethnicities presently existing in Malaysia carry their own uniqueness with some intersection.

However, the government of Malaysia has issued the "1971 National Culture Policy" to define the official Malaysian culture, which is based on Malay culture integrated with Islamic influences.

Let’s know about food, clothing, traditions and events of the country, which are the integral part of the Malaysian culture.

Food

The diversity of Malaysia has blessed it with the most wonderful cuisines in the world. The basics of Malay, Chinese and Indian food preparation are distinct and mixed as well. Almost all the Malays love rice and noodles, and they love spicy dishes. Tropical fruits are available in abundance and durian is the favorite fruit of local residents. Now-a-days, consumption of meat and processed foods has been increased. The affluence of the country allows the citizens to have meals outside homes more often and small hawker stalls that are ready with meals 24 hour a day are getting more benefit out of it.

Malaysians are very particular in treating their visitors. Offering food to guests is considered a critical etiquette in Malaysia. Tea or coffee is generally arranged along with light snacks for guests. The guests do not have the food kept in front of them until they get the signal from the host.

Clothing

Baju is word used for clothing in Malaysian language. Since the country has people from three major cultures, Malay, Chinese and Indian, people belonging to each culture use clothes according to their own ethnicity.

While Malay women wear the baju kurung and the baju kebaya, the traditional clothing for men is baju melayu. The Chinese women normally wear their traditional dress cheongsam and Chinese men feel comfortable with a short sleeved shirt, light-weight trousers and sandals. The clothing of Indian women living in Malaysia is colorful saris, Salwar kameez, kurta and they also wear western clothes like jeans, skirt etc. Shirt, pant, kurta-pyjama, dhoti, lungi are the traditional wear of Indian men staying in Malaysia.

Traditions

All the major religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity are prevailing in Malaysia. As most of the Malays are Muslims, most of the Indians are Hindu and most of the Chinese are Buddhists in the country, religion has a strong link with ethnicity.

Malaysians have strong belief in spirits, ghosts. Cemeteries and Muslim graves are considered to be the places of mystery. Belief in the usefulness of the afterlife causes substantial public respect for sacred graves and shrines even from non-adherents.

Events

The following are some of the events celebrated by people of all religion in Malaysia:

  • Hari Kebangsaan" (Independence Day)
  • Labour Day
  • Malaysia Day
  • Eid al-Fitr
  • Eid ul-Adha
  • Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year)
  • Maulidur Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet)
  • Chinese New Year
  • Diwali
  • Thaipusam
  • Gawai
  • Kaamatan

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