Traditions and rituals in Malaysia
One of the best ways to understand traditional Malay culture is to participate in a Malay wedding, which is fascinating and steeped in age-old traditions. A Malay wedding begins with an akad nikah ceremony. The groom signs the marriage contract and agrees to provide the bride with a mas kahwin or dowry. The bride and groom wil undergo many rituals such as the berinai besar ceremony where the fingers are painted with henna. The traditional shadow play theatre or wayang kulit is another interesting performance. This show is performed by casting animated puppet shadows on a white cloth screen.The puppet characters and stories are usually adapted from ancient epics. The master storyteller, called tok dalang, conducts the whole show from behind the screen as he recites the tale with appropriate sounds and movements. Both silat and wayang kulit are accompanied by traditional music. Traditional practices and customary law remain important in ceremonial situations.
Important and famous people
Important and famous people of Malaysia varies from astronauts and fashion designers to squash players and badminton players, like Jimmy Choo, Nicol David, Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
Music, art and literature
Malaysia’s multi-cultural heritage is exhibited in its diverse music and dance forms. Also the traditional dances of Chinese, Indians and Portuguese settled in Malaysia became a part of Malaysia’s culture and heritage. The most popular traditional dance is: Mak yong. Music is traditionally used for storytelling and celebrating life-cycle events such as harvests.The music is based around percussion instruments. There are at least 14 types of traditional drums and, besides drums, other instruments (some made of shells) include: the Kompang, the Serunai and the seruling. The Sejarah Melayu is the most influential Malaysia literary work – penned in the 16th century, is a collection of stories focusing on the activities of the Malaccan sultans, their courts, and government officials.
Traditional cuisine and eating habits
The traditional culinary style of Malaysia has been greatly influenced by neighboring countries, Malay food is often described as spicy and flavorful (a melting pot of spices and herbs). Rice is the staple diet in any Malay meal. It is often served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper. Fish is popular in Malay cooking. Beef and mutton are very popular choices but never pork as it is against religious beliefs to eat pork. Most meals are eaten by using your fingers, and eating utensils are kept to a minimum. The traditional Malay way of eating is by using the right hand. The use of the left hand is considered bad manners.
In Malay culture, there are a few kinds of traditional games that are very popular. These types of traditional games are differ in terms of their own history, characteristics, the reasons people play the games and more. The first is Wau. Today, there are many types of Wau and the most widely known is Wau Kikik which is Malay kites. It is the simple tailless kite that was shape as the diamond. The second is Congkak, meaning that a mental calculation was practiced in this game. It was considered that a good player will have an advantage in collecting points to win the game when the player calculates a few steps in advance.