Ethnics

Melaka Culture

Melaka Facts

History

Our Ethnics

Malay Community

Malay Community

As Parameswara embraced Islam, it constituted Islam as the official religion of the state, with Malay as the national language. The culture of Malaya has been established as a core culture in this multicultural country. Under the Malaysian constitution, Malay and Bumiputera make up 60 per cent of the population of Melaka.

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Clothing:

As Parameswara embraced Islam, it constituted Islam as the official religion of the state, with Malay as the national language. The culture of Malaya has been established as a core culture in this multicultural country. Under the Malaysian constitution, Malay and Bumiputera make up 60 per cent of the population of Melaka.

Wedding:

Malay women often wear the long-sleeved tunic called the Baju Kurung or the slightly tight-fitting Kebaya. Malay men wear the Cekak Musang, a collarless shirt is worn over a loose trouser with a colourful cloth known as Kain Sampin tied around their waist. However, for special cultural occasions Kain Songket, cloth woven with gold thread is replaced with Kain Sampin.

Music:

Dondang Sayang is the melody and dance of Serompang Laut, where a male and a female singer are accompanied by a group of musicians playing traditional instruments such as Gong and Rebana. It also creates the rhythm of Joget, where dancers dance in pairs with the rhythm. Often the dance is also performed along with Pantun performers during the performance.

Cultural Celebration:

Maulud Nabi, Awal Muharram, Nisfu Sya’aban, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Qurban are festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Hari Raya Aidilfitri which is celebrated Muslims signifies the end of the fasting season of Ramadan for a month. The celebration is determined by the sighting of the new moor. This is the most significant celebration for Muslims. Many traditional Malay delicacies will be served during this festive season. During the festival, their houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with colourful lights.

Cuisine

Each state in Malaysia is well known for its own unique and signature dish. Melaka is well known for its Asam Pedas. The main ingredients of Asam Pedas are usually freshwater fishes cooked in tamarind fruit juice with chillies and other Malay spices. It sometimes complemented with vegetables such as brinjal.

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Aborigines Community

Melaka's own tribal people are known as Aborigines, a proto-Malay group living on a communal basis in the outskirts of town, on the outskirts of the forest and on the coast. Their features and spoken language are similar to that of the Malays, but their way of life is similar to that of the Orang Asli.

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Language & Cultural Celebration:

Aborigines have their own dialect which is related to Malay or Bahasa Melayu, the National Language but without written evidence as they rely on their oral tradition that has been transmitted generation to generation for ages.

At the end of every year, the Aborigines celebrate Aik Gayak Muyang (Ancestor Day). This celebration is to thank their God and ancestors for the crops they grow and for the peaceful life they have had. The Aborigines believe they were placed on the earth Tanah Tujuh by Muyang to be guardians of the rainforest and that if they fail in their sacred duty, the whole world will turn upside down and humanity will perish. Each river, hill, stream, rock, tree and shrub is animated by a guardian spirit. Rivers are guarded by Dragons and Snakes which often cause mayhem if their homes are desecrated. The Aborigines practice animism; playing heeds to the spirits and nature. Throughout the inter-marriages, some Aborigines families celebrate Hari Raya and some even observe Chinese New Year as they believe they are descendants from the Chinese

Cuisine:

Traditional Malay cuisine makes generous use of spices and coconut milk. The other foundation is Belacan, used as a base for Sambal, a rich sauce or condiment. Aborigines' cooking also makes plentiful use of lemongrass and Galangal.

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Aborigines Community

Chinese Community

Chinese Community

The first arrival of Chinese documented in Malaysia was discovered during the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). They came here as travelling traders bringing in their most precious Chinese silk and porcelain. It indicates that the Chinese may have been in this area before the 15th century, when the legendary Admiral Cheng Ho visited Melaka during his first of seven great journeys. Admiral Cheng Ho then put a part of his garrison on the hill, now known as the Bukit Cina.

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Clothing:

Chinese women in the past wore Qipao which in many ways represented a cultural rupture with the past. It was later resulted in a slender and form fitting dress with a high cut, resulting in the contemporary image of a Cheongsam but contrasting sharply with the traditional Qipao.

Manchu clothing styles, Tangzhuang, were required to be worn by all nobles and officials, particularly men. However, the immediate result arose when the Han population surpassed the queue of the other population, which later evolved into a new type of men's clothing, wearing jackets and pants instead of robes worn previously

Wedding:

Chinese music has been produced since the dawn of civilisation with artefacts that have provided evidence of a well-developed musical culture since the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC – 256 BC). One of the most popular music is the Opera, which is still performed by drama artists. Opera plays an essential role in most ceremonies or rituals. Masks are used in the opera, and each colour has a different significance. They are used to represent the role of a character and to demonstrate their emotional state and general character.

Music:

Traditional Chinese weddings are still practiced up to today where a ceremonial ritual which involves marriage is established by pre-arrangement. Despite the long history and many different geographical areas, the six rituals of Three Letters and Six Etiquettes are essential.

Cultural Celebration:

The most important celebration is the Spring Festival known as Chinese New Year. It usually falls between January-February of the Gregorian calendar, marking the beginning of the Chinese calendar.

Red is a colour that signifies prosperity. Red envelopes known as Ang Pow are given as blessings to young family members. On Chinese New Year's Eve, families hold a reunion dinner to preserve tight connexions between family members. The celebration ends with Chap Goh Mei on the 15th day of the first month, often with prayers and offerings to end the celebration.

Qing Ming is the time when the Chinese visited the graves of the deceased to offer prayers and ancestor worship. Celebrations such as Mid-Autumn and Wesak Day are also significant to the Chinese calendar.

Art and Handicraft:

During the travelling merchant era, Chinese are known as the best Silk and Porcelain merchants at the Straits of Melaka. These are also used as gifts between the countries to express their gratitude towards the relationship.

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Baba Nyonya Community

Chinese Peranakan means Straits born Chinese evolved through intermarriages between male Chinese traders and local women with Malay or Indonesia origin. Men from this ancestry are known as Baba and the women are known as Nyonya. They are actively involved in the import and export of agricultural products and raw commodities. There are also theories that they are descendants of the Royal Guards and Princess Hang Li Poh, who married Sultan Mansur Shah of the Melaka Sultanate in 1459.

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Wedding:

A traditional Peranakan wedding lasts for 12 days with great emphasis on choosing auspicious dates and time. Many pantang or taboos are strictly observed. The wedding ceremony starts with the Chiu-Thau or transformation to adulthood ceremony.

Followed by the Chin-Pang, the first meeting of the bride and groom. The newlyweds then pay homage to a special three-tiered altar called The Sam-Kai, which represents Heaven , Earth and Man. During this wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will be led by the assistant of the ceremonial mistress Sam-Kheh-Umm and the master of the ceremony Pak-Chin-Dik. The groom wears a T'eng-Sah-Beh-Kuah (long tunic with the best jacket) wedding dress, and the bride wears a red Koon (T cut Chinese) wedding dress. These costumes, including their shoes, are extensively embroidered with gold threads

Cuisine:

The blend of Chinese and Malay cultures can be seen in the various types of Nyonya foods. The clever use and blend of herbs and local spices enhance their local fabulous cuisine. Herbs and spices such as the lemon grass, blue ginger, turmeric, onions, chilli and belacan (prawn paste) are commonly used in their daily cooking.

The Nyonya kuih or cakes are the truly well blended technique from their Chinese and Malay foremothers, which use many of the local ingredients such as the coconut milk, rice flour, glutinous rice and sweet potato to name a few. The Nyonya exotic cooking and cakes are highly recommended and sought by tourists.

Art and Handicraft:

The Peranakan Cina is well known for their sewing skills especially their works of crafts in their Kasut Manik (beaded shoes) and the Nyonya kebaya embroideries. Both of these works are being showcased locally and internationally. Many of the houses along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jonker Street showcase a well blend of Dutch, English and Chinese architecture. The main features can be seen in a well blended historical rich area with rolls of Peranakan family houses.

Cultural Celebration:

The Baba and Nyonya celebrate majority of their forefathers Chinese festivals, they include Chinese Lunar New Year, Cheng Beng, Dragon Boat (Kuih Chang) Festival, Festival of the Hungry Ghost, Mid-Autumn Festival and Winter Solstice Festival. Many other Tao festivals and religious practices like Vesak Day are in their list of cultural activities.

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Aborigines Community

Portuguese Community

Portuguese Community

The Coffee Jar really connects the nostalgia into the present with its antique shop design and a whole new light. They take their coffee seriously. Coffee lovers are sure to love this place. To fulfil your very own taste of coffee, they serve three different roasts with different aromas and flavours. Pair your cup of coffee with their irresistible cheesecake.

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Clothing:

The famous Spanish costumes are unique to the Iberian Peninsula, expressing the Portuguese’ and Spaniards’ distinct heritage and sovereignty. It must be acknowledged that each sub-national identity in Spain has its own national costume and visual heritage. Their traditional clothing consists of berets, stocking caps, baggy shirts and trousers for the men. Women wear long dresses and shawls.

Wedding:

A Portuguese wedding will also be staged complete with the bride decorated in her finery, along with a kebaya-like blouse and a long silk skirt known as the Saia with beaded slippers. The groom will be styled in black suit with a bow tie and a top hat or bowler.

Cuisine:

Every area of Portugal has its own traditional dishes, including various types of meat, seafood, fresh salted cod (bacalhau) and the popular Portuguese Cozido (Portuguese Stew). The sauces tend to be rich with local spices to form the base of curry paste and gravies. Fabulous crossover dishes are Grilled Fish in the Portuguese Village, which has a distinctive Portuguese and local taste.

Art and Handicraft:

The Melaka Portuguese Eurasians are distinguishable by their language Christao, a combination of Old Portuguese, infused with Malay and English. It has no written form and is passed down through generations. Christianity has been in Melaka for a long time, but it was the Portuguese who founded the first churches. One of the most significant conqueror's footprints is A 'Famosa and the Rosary Church, which was built in 1710, and also St. Paul's Church, which has survived to this day.

Cultural Celebration:

Intrudu 'Coming Before' is celebrated on the Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday in February. In the evening, merry-makers dressed in fancy costumes to do the Banya Biro, which is a group dance, creating a dance chain that passes from house to house. In the week before Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion, Christians in the country observe Holy Week.

It starts with Palm Sunday, remembering the day when Christ came to Jerusalem and was received by the people who laid palm leaves in His direction. This then commemorates what is known as the Good Friday, where Christ was crucified on this day. Today it is celebrated with special prayers and children receive the traditional coloured Easter eggs.

Along with it, the Fiesta de San Joao or the Feast of St. John is the evening candlelight procession from the Assumption Church of Praya Lane to the settlement. Another feast is the Fiesta de San Pedro, which is dedicated to St. Peter's, and has been celebrated for more than four centuries.

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Chitty Community

The Indians played a leading role in the commercial operation that brought rich returns to the government through the introduction of trade taxes. During this time, traders brought helpers and servants on their exploration, and women were not permitted to move across the sea in accordance with Hindu culture, so apparently traders took Malaya, Javanese and even Batak women as their wives. Their descendants are the born in Melaka Indian community, called the Chitty from Kampung Gajah Berang.

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Chitty men often wear Cekak Musang, Kain Pelikat and a white handkerchief known as Talapa as their head gear. The women wore the Baju Kebaya Panjang over a Sarong. Despite they are mostly local Malays they prefer to wear Saree while attending temple prayers or on special occasions.

Similar to the Chinese, the Chitty celebrate a festival to honor the ancestors called Bhogi, twice yearly. On the eve of Ponggal that is the end of the harvesting season and at the start of the fruit season called Parchu Buah-Buah or Fruit Festival.

Wedding:

Chitty's wedding ceremony reflects indirectly the combination of the Malayan and Indian cultures. Date and time are based on astrological formulas to prevent misfortune. Like the Malays, the bridegroom bears the expense of the wedding, but the ceremony itself is based on Indian culture according to the Hindu rites.

After the Thali is tied, the couple will have to walk around the Bridal Dais three times. As the couple sits down, visitors, family and friends are blessed by sprinkling rose water and turmeric rice, much like the newlyweds of the Malay community.

Cuisine:

In the case of food, Malay spices, ingredients and the way of cooking have largely supplanted the Indian style. Chitty cuisine, however, is little known even though it is enhanced with a mixture of Malay and Indian spices, together with Baba and Nyonya cooking styles.

There is no Chitty restaurant, not even in Melaka and hence their food can only be sampled in the community’s enclave in Kampung Gajah Berang. The Chitty most famous food is Nasi Lemak, it is served as offerings during prayer time. Unlike the other Indian groups who usually offer rice with vegetarian dishes during prayers, the Chitty serve Nasi Lemak or plain rice accompanied with fish and other meats.

Art and Handicraft:

Religious objects used for conducting rituals were also used by the Chinese. The Chitty are also influenced by the Chinese to some extent in their ceramics works of art.

Simplification of the Tamil architecture of the Chitty is also present. Distinct from the Tamil, who have a complex Pallava-style Dravidian Temple architecture that displays beautifully carved sculptures of the Hindu Gods in many rows, the Chitty Temple tends to have only one row of these, or a picture of one God in each of the three rows, as evidenced in the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, built by Thaivanayagam Chitty in 1781. It is said to be the oldest temple in the Peninsula

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Chitty Community