Places in Malaysia Site Map
Malay wedding Indian wedding Indian birth custom Gawai Kaamatan
The cultures given here are mostly cultural celebrations or customs of the main ethnic group or race. However, their handicraft, dances, theatherical performance and others will be mentioned somewhere else.
1. The Malay Culture
The Malay culture that is still very much alive is the Malay wedding 'steps'. Firstly, the man's side will go to the woman's side to 'merisik' that is to find out is the woman is unattached. If the woman is not attached to any man, then the man will 'meminang' her that is ask for her hand in marriage. Bernikah, The day before the wedding, adat Berinai will be carried out. For the woman, she will have to paint all her 10 fingers and 10 toes in brown colour. Then on the wedding day they will 'Bersanding'.
Keeping their bunga telur

Another important culture to them is related to their religion, Islam. Every year, they will fast (or 'puasa' in Malay) for a month in the muslim month, Ramadan. During fasting month, they cannot eat nor drink throughout the day starting as early as about 6:00am to about 7:20pm. They are supposed to do good things during this month. After fasting for the whole month of Ramadan, they will celebrate Hari Raya Puasa on the first day of month Syawal. Apart from yearly celebration, they should pray 5 times day.

Other cultures that are practiced by a small number of people in rural area or no longer practiced are 'Lenggang Perut' for pregnant women.

They have a traditional way of finding a suitable site to built a house which may be practiced only in the rural area or may not be practiced anymore. The first thing they have to do is to find place to put the main post called the 'tiang seri'. This must take place in the early evening. Firstly, a 'bomoh' will be called in. This 'bomoh' will burn incense and pray. Secondly, the 'Ibu rumah' or the mother of the house will measure the length of a stick and a piece of rattan ad cut them according to her one 'depa'. The 'bomoh' tie the rattan to the stick and do some prayers again. Then he will place the stick into the ground where the future main post will be erected. A pail of water will be put on top of a plate of rice next to the stick and will be left there over night. The next day, they will come back to see if the water in the pail is spilled over onto the rice. If water spilled over, she will built the house. If not, she will have to find another place.
2. The Indian Culture in Malaysia
The Indian culture here in Malaysia that is still very much practices is also the wedding custom. 3 days before the wedding, the couple cannot go out, cannot meet each other and should go on vegetarian diet. On the wedding day, before the wedding ceremony, both will wear just normal clothes to the wedding location. There they go over the monk area to take their wedding ceremony clothes to change. After that, they will pray to their god. Music and dance are performed. The bride's father will give his daughter's hand to the bridegroom. The bride and bridegroom will sit side by side and a 'holy fire' is lit. (This fire is related to Indian Fire God - Agni.) After this, a chain or 'Thali' is tied around the bride's neck by the groom. The bride and bridegroom will circle the holy fire seven time, the first three is lead by the groom and the next four by the bride. Then the will perform the 'Seven Steps Ritual' which involve walking next to a line of 7 nuts which signifies the 7 principles of marriage in Hindu culture.

In the olden times, marriage is by match-making done by the couple's parents. The parents will check the education, profession, date of birth, horoscope and height of the future partner. Both family will see photos. If they agree, the man's parents will visit the girl's family. In the house, the girl will dress and silk saree, wear gold jewellery and put flowers on her hair. She will serve her guests with drinks and sometimes asked to sing and dance for her guests. Later, both family will exchange plate filled with fruits, flowers and betel-leaves as a mark of agreement for the marriage.

The Indian community have 'birth custom / ritual' where the child will have to go through a series of ritual at certain time in their life. On the 11th day after birth, the baby and mother will have their bath. Between 12th day to 15th day (inclusive), they will perform the child naming custom call 'Namakarana' which is done by ladies. The baby is placed in the 'jhula' or cradle decorated with flowers and ribbons. Then the women will gather around the baby and sing rhyming with the baby's name. This custom can also be done 3 month after birth.
'Annaprasana' is the custom where the baby sees the sunlight for the first time. At this time, solid food is fed.
'Chooda karan or Mudan' is the custom where the baby's head is shaved off for the first time.
'Karna bhedha' is the custom where both boy and girl will sit on their uncle's lap for ear piercing.
When a boy is about 7 to 11 years old, the priest and his father will do prayer with the boy wearing cotton thread to receive knowledge from father about Hindu rituals. Later, the boy will be given a garland of flowers to wear around the neck.
3. The Chinese Cultures in Malaysia
Chinese Puppet Show
From what I know, there are many Chinese cultures still in practice in Malaysia today. The main one is the 'Chinese New Year' which is celebrated by the chinese community throughout the country regardless of religion. Other celebrations are mostly religion related and therefore may not be celebrated by those of other faith such as Christians and Muslims. Wedding may be a little different because the Christians go to church for ceremony.
Chinese Puppet Show

Other important cultures are the All Souls Day called 'Ching Ming', Moon Cake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival and many others which are religion related.
4. The Iban Culture
The Ibans celebrate their harvest festival called Gawai Festival usually on the 31-May every year. This festival is done after rice harvesting to give offering to rice spirit so that they could get a good harvest the coming year. This ceremony called miring ceremony and is carried out by Lemanbang, a male shaman / bomoh.
5. The Kadazan-Dusun Cultures
Kaamatan Festival is a Kadazan festival. This festival is their rice festival which fall usually on the 1 Jun every year. In this festival, their women priestess called bobohizan will perform a ritual to start off their merry making peformances. It was said the she will have a bowl of their best harvest for the year. She will then go 3 circles round their village to call in the paddy spirit called bambozan. Then, she will enter the house to slit the throat of a chicken to start off the celebration.

Kindly correct me if the information given here is incorrect.

The owner of will not be responsible for any error in information provided.
Any loss resulting from the information provided in this site, directly or /and indirectly will be at your own expense and the owner will not take any responsibility whatsoever. See Disclaimer

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.1
© 2009 to 2012 Created by YYOng. Tested with SeaMonkey 1.1.18, Opera 10 and IE7.    Disclaimer    Policy    Terms    
For technical or contents issues regarding this site, email YYOng or contact me.
As this site contains dynamic html, I recommend 4.0+ browsers. Please use font size not less than 12 pixels and not more than 18 pixels for better display.