Culture in Malaysia

Explore the mosaic of Malaysian culture

Even though Malaysians are reserved, they love to celebrate and have a cosmopolitan outlook on life. The majority of the population in Malaysia is Muslim and the culture is patterned after their religion. However, it coexists with other religions. You will surely be captivated by the perfect blending of the traditional and joyous dimensions of festivities. You will be welcomed as a guest by the Malaysian people if you respect their traditions and practices.

Malaysia is a religiously diverse country

Malaysia is a South East Asian country with two big regions: Western Malaysia and Eastern Malaysia (the Borneo area). Its neighbours are Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. A proof of the cultural diversity of Malaysia can be seen in the distribution of religion. The population in Malaysia is 50% Muslim. The second religion is Buddhism, followed by Taoism, Christianity and Hinduism. More than 32,000,000 people practice religion in Malaysia. Majority of Indians are adherents of Hinduism, but a lot of them are also Muslim. The Chinese in Malaysia practise Buddhism in various forms. Therefore, when you go on holiday in Malaysia, you will surely get to explore very distinct traditions depending on the places you visit.

Malaysians, Chinese, Indians (they represent 10% of the population in Malaysia) and a lot of other ethnicities have been coexisting in Malaysia for millennia. The language spoken in Malaysia is Malay, but most Malaysians also speak English. Many of the inhabitants are of Chinese origin and speak Chinese. In fact, the Chinese are the second largest population in Malaysia. Tamil and other specific dialects are also spoken. Indigenous ethnic groups also live in groups in various rural areas all over the country. This is a linguistic “melting-pot” that is partly due to the population flows that Malaysia has experienced over time. This is why Malaysia is such an amazing country.

Did you know?

You must keep some baseline rules in mind during your stay in Malaysia and they are part of the Malaysian culture. You don’t have to shake hands when you greet. It is enough to nod your head. Malaysians never raise their voice in public. Malaysians are not fond of touching and it is generally better to use this gesture sparingly. If a Malaysian invites you to eat with him, eat only with your right hand - the left hand is considered to be impure. Your host may be a very traditional person, so eat all the food set before you.

Discover the beauty of Malaysia during your stay with us

The festivities in Malaysia

Like many other countries, Malaysia celebrates its independence day. This takes place every 31st August all over the country with numerous festive events including parades, shows, concerts, exhibitions and fireworks. All Malaysian people including singers and celebrities

take part and you will feel the great human warmth on this very special occasion. If you experience these festivals, you may come across the kompang. It has a hand-held frame and looks like a traditional tambourine without the small metal cymbals. It is the key instrument for marriages and produces very great rhythms. It also illustrates the Malaysian culture.

You will be captivated by the beauty of traditional Malaysian costumes, proudly worn during special occasions. The costumes are stunning, with colourful clothing, tribal hairstyles and garments made by hand from tree bark. Similarly, you can admire the Indian sari, the Chinese cheongsam or the Malaysian baju kebaya. These three traditional garments are still very much in use.

When you spend your holiday in Malaysia, you open the door to many levels of discovery. You will be delighted by everything in Malaysia including the religions, population, languages, traditions, culture and flavour-rich cuisine like nasi lemak, tarik or char kway teow. Malaysians are respectful but sophisticated people and require the same of every foreign person. Therefore, come to Malaysia with a smile and you will surely be welcomed!

Did you know?

Malaysians have beliefs and there are some that scare them. One of these scary beliefs is about Hantu the witch, a powerful evil spirit. She can be everywhere and can target anyone on a daily basis. Generally, she is held responsible for bad news and troubles and Malaysian people even go as far as going to see a Shaman. You may also be offered a pinch of salt to refresh your palate before a traditional Malaysian meal.

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