Local traditions and culture in Penang

  • Jade Emperor
    Jade Emperor
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  • Roast Pig Offering
    Roast Pig Offering
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  • Mixed Offering Jade Emperor
    Mixed Offering Jade Emperor
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Penang

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    Akad Nikah (Solemnization)

    by AngMimi Written Sep 18, 2012

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    The Akad Nikah was taken place at one of the mosque in Kepala Batas, where both families from the bridegroom and the bride attended to witness the solemnization of marriage. The solemnization carried out by the tok Iman, and the bride's father to be guardian to marry her.

    Before the ceremoney, the spending money, dowry and other hantaran will be examined by the tok iman with two witness for the bride. Then the groom will sit on padded pillow and the tok iman sitting on the plain mat. Tok iman will explain to groom the responsibility of husband and wife and other matters of religion.

    Then the tok iman will read the pronouncement of marriage while shaking hands with the groom and the groom is required to repeat as soon as the tok kadi shake the groom hand. The pronouncement of marriage read as "I nikahkan kau, Norafiza (name of bride) with a dowry of $$$$ in cash" and was greeted by the groom with words saying "I terima nikahnya .. Witnesses will confirm whether the pronouncement is clearly heard or not, if not clear, the groom will be repeated until the witness is satisfied. Prayers are read immediately by all witness and that both the married couple are safely diijabkabulkan (married).

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    Traditional Malay Wedding 1 - Merisik & Bertunang

    by AngMimi Updated Sep 17, 2012

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    It's a good friend of mine, getting married yesterday on 16th September 2012. I was there to witness the Malay friend wedding adat-adat (Ritual). Fiza and Farid (the newlywed Bride and Bridegroom)

    My good friend Fiza, we meet when she joined the company. Being an introvert, I don't talk much but I can talked to her for hours, strange very strange..We talked almost everything, even about her now found love, Farid. To make the story short, they were engaged on 12th February 2012.

    Adat merisik - is a ceremony from the boys to visit the girls home, meeting the family and asking for the hand of the girl they like. Meeting both family, discuss and setting the date of engagement, dowry, expenses for the wedding and so on.

    So on 12th February the engagement day, it was really busy day for the whole family and relatives and friends staying in the same kampung (village). Preparing hantaran (gifts for the boys), food to serve everyone attended the engagement.

    On that day, the boy's mother and relatives came, boy stayed outside (I dont know why he was not invited in the house, poor boy), then some pantun rendered between two families. See my pictures.. Such a wonderful cememony...

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    Clothing

    by YateleyBob Updated Aug 1, 2010

    For us Europeans, clothing that covers, not reveals is a very good idea. This is for self-protection against the sun and has the advantage that it shows respect to the local Muslim people.
    I always wear trousers (not shorts) and Anne frequently does the same.
    Loose tops (for men and women) seem much more comfortable than tight T-shirts.

    Yes, you'll see locals with skimpy clothing (usually youngsters) but that's different. Maybe they're immune to UV and, anyway, it's their country.

    Whilst talking about clothing, I think most of us (locals and visitors) find putting feet up on tables offensive (yes, I've seen it). Mind you, I find it offensive in the UK (must be turning into a grumpy old man).

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    Tamoul New Year 2008

    by cochinjew Written Apr 19, 2008

    The weekend I was in Penang coincided with multiple new year
    Thingyan for the Burmese, Thai and Khmer New Year, Tamoul New Year, Malayalee New Year..so you could see groups of people everywhere celebrating their religious and joyous occasion.
    since the largest minority after Chinese in Penang are the Indians ( Malay presence was not that much felt as in other parts of Malaysia perhaps of the lack of ubiquitousness of desert gear of women covered head to toe), one could see groups of Tamouls with their idols parading through streets accompanied by south indian religious music.
    One could also note that Tamouls are somewhat fatte than their other countrymen and have the highest rate of Diabetes in malaysia

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    Hair Cut

    by cochinjew Written Apr 18, 2008

    I am a little fuzzy about who cuts my hair, but Paris is far away, Baracoa is not within reach and my hair cried out for a cut. walked into a hair salon, asked whether they cut men's hair, sure enough, very cheap at 18 ringitt ( compared to the 35 euros in Paris). i was attended by Ken Lee the stylist, who took enormous pain to cut and shape the hair. shampoo and cleansing of the hair was included and when I asked my guide whether i should tip him, was told that it is not customary to tip the hair dresser. I was very pleased with the result
    the salon is near nagore place

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    Interesting Gables on Buildings

    by dfactor Written May 24, 2007

    Wandering around Georgetown, couldn't help noticing the interesting gables adorning the buildings by the streets. Later, read on some book the shape of gable on shophouses and temple buildings are actually influenced by feng shui and generally signify one of the five elements. Curved for water, rounded for wood, smooth for metal, square for earth and spiky for fire.

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    Additional State Holidays - Penang

    by SLLiew Updated Jan 16, 2007

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    Pulau Pinang (Penang State) was obtained from the Sultan of Kedah. Hence no hereditary kings. A Yang Di-Pertuan Negeri is appointed to serve as Head of State.

    If you are visiting Penang, take note of following additional state holidays beside the nationwide public holidays.

    1 February 2007 Thursday
    Thaipusam
    (Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Selangor only)

    14 July 2007 Saturday
    Birthday of Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang

    29 September 2007 Tuesday
    Nuzul Al-Qur'an
    (Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu only)

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    Fort Cornwallis - Seri Rambai Canon

    by SLLiew Written Jan 3, 2007

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    One of the most popular touist package destination is Fort Cornwallis at the Esplanade.

    Inevitably the tour guide will talk about this Duth canon named "Seri Rambai" where local women used to believe that if you offered flowers or touched the canon it will help to ensure a pregnancy that has eluded the worshipper.

    So everyone will be trying to take photo with this canon. And if you are hoping to get pregnant, no harm in making a wish and prayer while you are there.

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    Eating Non-stop Penang Style

    by SLLiew Written Dec 26, 2006

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    One of the most popular entertaining or activity in Penang is going out to eat. It is a great way to socialize and enjoy the great variety of food that Penang is so famous for and at affordable prices.

    You can find places selling food everywhere. From 24 hours restaurants to a table set on the road side to sell prepacked food to passing motorists.

    Because the importance of eating in all the major communities of Chinese, Indians and Malays, that there are many factories and hostpitals in Penang where people are working on day or night shifts, there is a ready number of hungry customers any time of the day.

    Note that most Penangites are wary of their health too and eat small helpings but very often.

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    Body Language

    by mtaiwai Updated Nov 2, 2006

    The following body language is vulgar in Malaysia
    1) Showing of middle finger (i suppose this is western influence). (The sign is trying to convey male sex organ?)

    2) hand1 making a 'O' to form a hole. hand2 palms open. hand2 cover hand1's hole. Done with gusto and with sound (have seen westerner done this to generate some sound, so i guess this mean something in the western world). Done on the face/body level of target. Coupled with unkind remarks or responses to unkind remarks. (The sign is trying to convey male-female copulation?)

    3) hand1 making a 'O' to form a hole. thrust hand2 index finger into hand1's hole. Done on he face/body level of target. Coupled with unkind remarks or responses to unkind remarks. (The sign is trying to convey male female copulation?)

    The following body language is not vulgar (or has not become vulgar yet) in Malaysia
    1) the peace sign (ie 'V') with palm facing in. This according to Allan Pease means up-yours, but i think it is only in the western context. In the local context, it means the number 2. palm facing in and palm facing convey the same meaning. For example, I ordered 2 popiah at a busy stall. The aunty was so busy with other customers that by the time she is done with them, she has forgotten about my order. Then she saw my face. Apologetically, she smiled, raised her eyebrow a bit and at same time gave me the 'V' palm facing in, to confirm if i ordered 2 just now. I gave her a 'V' palm facing out (the common number 2) as confirmation. No sweat. Perfect closed loop data communication.

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    New Hell money available

    by SLLiew Updated Jul 29, 2006

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    Some Malaysian Chinese will buy hell money to burn to their deceased beloved during annual Qing Ming (Chinese all souls day) festival, Hungry Ghost festival, death anniversary or funeral.

    Now available, Malaysian ringgit (RM) currency equivalent for use in the older world. Look-alike in RM10, RM50, RM100, with a bundle of 100 quality notes at a bargain of RM1.50. Singapore S$2 and S$5 are also available as these China printed notes are banned from being import into Singapore.

    Available at Chinese religious items shops near Chinese temples and at Lebuh Carnavon, Penang near Komtar.

    Buy some as souvenir?

    Note: Taoist beliefs is that after death, everyone has to go to hell first and punished accordingly to their wickedness before being reborn again. So having a lot of hell money will ensure this journey is facilitated.

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    Where To Go

    by RoyJava Updated Jul 16, 2005

    A very nice gesture that is not known in the rich Western world ... Put your house, your privat place at the disposal of people who need some time for themselves. So at Penang some rich people open their houses where local people, mostly women, can stay for a while until they return home all recovered, rested and fit again.

    We got the permits to photograph outside a beautiful house of a rich Chinese banker. Inside women ( widows, girls who lost their parents etc.) could remain and stay a while where nuns took care about them. We were told to wear modest, conservative clothes... It was a great experience to be there and enjoyed the hospitality, peace and quiet as well the beauty of the house.

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    Local Customs

    by roostown Written Jun 26, 2005

    Remember always that you are in another persons backyard and you should always respect their customs .. if they were to visit your country you would expect them to follow your rules and laws .. so please do the same in Penang

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    Buy biscuits

    by l_joo Written Apr 12, 2005

    Traditionally, if you visit Penang island, you should buy some biscuits for your friends and relatives, this is a local custom I want to tip everybody. Now if you have friends or relatives staying far away from Penang, you can buy some Penangite's biscuits as courtesy or polite behaviors to give to them, this is a local custom passing down from elders. Same goes for your friends and relatives, they would buy some local made biscuits for you when they visit you.

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    Chinese New Year- new clothes!

    by yuet29 Written Feb 15, 2005

    Buying new clothes is a special custom for hokkien people. Although everyone wearing new clothes during chinese new year, but the meaning of wearing new clothes is different for hokkien.

    It is said that hokkien people was very poor in the past and they only have a chance to b uy new clothes during chinese new year. This become the habits for hokkien people, who seldom buy new clothes during the year but specially put on new clothes on the day of chinese new year.

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Penang Local Customs

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