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10 Interesting Malay Customs and Traditions

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Malaysia culture Essay Sample
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Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities.

Traditional Malaysian art was mainly centred around the areas of carving, weaving, and silversmithing. Common artworks included ornamental kris, beetle nut sets, and woven batik and songket fabrics. Indigenous East Malaysians are known for their wooden masks. However, Malay art does show some North Indian influence due to the historical influence of India. A shawl known as Selendang is used to cover the head. A Malay woman does not leave the house for forty days after the birth of her child.

Traditionally Malay houses in the villages kampung are constructed of wood timber and palm-leaves attap. It is built on a platform that is raised on stilts. This is done not only to protect the household from floods and the incursion of any wild animals or reptiles but also to keep the house cool during the hot tropical days.

During the festive celebration of Hari Raya, the Muslims undertake a month-long fasting known as Ramadan. The fasting begins with the sighting of the new moon and ends on the last night of the same moon.

During that month the Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Malays always use the right hand while eating even when they use forks and spoons. In fact, all good things are done with the right hand including holding the holy book of Quran. Malay weddings are a grand affair, the most important part of Malay wedding is the Bersanding where the couple is seated next to each other on a sofa called the Pelamin.

This also applies to the five daily prayers, which, according to Islamic teaching, have greater merit when offered in congregation. History of Islam in Malay Culture In the period of 13th and 15th centuries Malaysia has seen the arrival of Islam and the rise of the great port-city of Malacca on the southwestern coast of the Malay peninsular. The Islamic faith arrived on the shores of what are now the states of Kedah, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu, from around the 12th century.

He converted into Islam after marrying a princess from Pasai, of present-day Indonesia. By 15th century, the Malacca Sultan, whose dominance reached over much of the western Malay Islands, had become the centre of Islamization in he east.

The Malaccan tradition was transmitted onwards and encouraged a vigorous spirit characteristic of Malay identity. During this era, the Islamic faith became closely identified with Malay society and played a significant role in defining the Malay identity.

In , the city of Malacca fell into the hands of Portuguese conquerors. However, Malacca remained an institutional prototype: Across the South China Sea in 14th century, another Malay government, the Brunei Sultan was on the rise to become the most powerful constitution in Borneo.

By the middle of 15th century, Brunei entered into a close relationship with Malacca Sultan. The sultan married a Malaccan princess, adopted Islam as the court religion, and introduced an efficient administration modeled on Malacca. Brunei profited from trade with Malacca but gained even greater prosperity after the great Malay port was conquered by the Portuguese in It reached its golden age in the mid 16th century when it controlled land as far south as present day Kuching in Sarawak and north towards the islands of the Philippines.

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