People Of Malacca

By:

Captivating Cultures

Malacca’s rich cultural heritage comes from its various ethnic groups who are proud of their historical links to the past.

 

o        The Malays

The Malays constitute the largest group of Malacca’s population. Islam pervades their whole way of life, including their customs or adat. The social system of the Malays in Malacca is based on adat temenggong, which embraces a patriarchal tradition. This custom has subsequently spread to the other states in the peninsula.

 

o        The Chinese

The Chinese community forms the second largest ethnic group in Malacca and most of them are involved in business and trading activities. The Peranakan or Straits-born Chinese form a unique sub-group. Also known as Baba-Nyonya, they are descendants of the Chinese who arrived in Malacca and married locals.

Described as ‘Chinese in spirit and Malay in form’, they retain many Chinese customs but Malay is their mother-tongue. They have also adopted the Malay-style of dressing.

 

o        The Indians

The Indians are another important group in Malacca’s colourful racial mix. Within this group are the Malacca Chittys, descendants of wealthy traders from South India’s Coromandel Coast who visited Malacca during the 15th century and married local women. This resulted in a unique culture where they speak and dress like the Malays but retain their Indian influences as well. There are only about 250 of them in Gajah Berang.

 

o        The Portuguese - Eurasians

The Portuguese – Eurasian community number about 10,000 in Malaysia. About 2,600 live in Malacca in the Portuguese Settlement which dates to 1930. They speak cristang, an archaic Portuguese dialect, and are Roman Catholics. The settlement is a hive of activity during the Festa San Juang and Festa San Pedro celebrations.

 

Ø       Festa San Juang

Festa San Juang or Feast of St. John begins with a candlelight procession at St. John’s Hill. It proceeds downhill to the Portuguese Settlement where a bonfire would be lit, food served and cultural performances held. A performance to look out for is the Branyo, a lively Portuguese dance where performers recite poems while dancing.

 

Ø       Festa San Pedro

Festa San Pedro or the Feast of St. Peter is a major annual celebration of the Portuguese fishing community. The event honours St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. The community celebrates the occasion with traditional games, cultural performances, food fairs, blessing of fishing boats and the best decorated boat contest.

Asia Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Asia Destinations