A journey through culture and expression...
Malaysia stands out as a country with people from many different cultures and nationalities. In spite of its sheer diversity in culture, Malaysia has managed to make an identity for itself in the world.
Although the national language of the country is Malay, it is English that is widely spoken and understood by the people in the country. Though the predominant religion is Islam in Malaysia, there are people belonging to all different religions here. All festivals are celebrated with equal joy and fervor in this beautiful land.
Some of the fascinating features of Malaysian culture are presented below.
Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage understands and gives due importance to music. In the olden times, music was used as a form of communication for special occasions. There used to be different drum beats to announce a birth, death, wedding or any danger in the villages. Being a multi-cultural country, different people have been inclined to different compositions like Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and others. Gradually, with the passage of time, Malaysian music managed to create an identity for itself. Zapin music inspired from Arabia is loved by people throughout the country. Nowadays, the present generation is developing a taste for European and American music and as a result, many pop singers along with rock bands have sprung up. Looking at the Malaysian traditional music, it comes from Gamelan which is an ensemble of gongs, drums and xylophones and also rebab which is a stringed instrument that produces an ethereal and soft sound. Today, Rebana Ubi is the ceremonial instrument that is played quite often for striking, refined music. There is the Giant Drum Festival that is organized every year where illustrious players from all over the country assemble to display their talent. Kompang is another commonly used instrument on social occasions.
Due to the influence of different cultures in Malaysia, dance is a very popular pastime in the country. There are dances that are particular to certain regions where they are an added attraction during special occasions like weddings, receptions, or religious ceremonies. Various traditional forms are performed in Malaysia. Among them, a conventional form of dance is Joget that is performed generally by couples. It involves a combination of fast and graceful movements. The best dance form in Malaysia is considered to be the Candle Dance wherein the performers fix candles on plates and then dance with the plates in their hands. With plates in both the hands, they perform elegant moves and curves which are very fascinating to watch. There are dance forms which have been inspired by martial arts like Silat. This was originally a martial art that was accompanied by drums but later it became a complete performing act that is now carried out at occasions. Another dance form that is popular is Datun Julud. Through the performance, a story is told by the dancers. Lion Dance is another dynamic variety that is displayed at Chinese festivals. To perform this, perfect co-ordination is required from the dancers in order to look elegant.
Talking about handicrafts, Batik an old art form to dye fabric was introduced in Malaysia centuries ago by Hindus who traded in this business. In addition, designing kites in vibrant colors, patterns and designs is popular in Malaysia. The kites are decorated with floral patterns and paper tassels.
The languages of Malaysia are highly diverse, and many different languages are spoken in different regions and social settings. English is one of the widely spoken languages. Other languages that are spoken here are Bahasa Malaysia, different Chinese dialects as well as Indian dialects. English is the preferred language in professional life and business areas.
Speaking about religion, Islam is the predominant religion with around 60% people following it. Other than Islam, there are other religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism and others that are followed by different people in the country.
Malaysia is a fascinating country with many different cultures following different religions, speaking different languages, and enjoying various forms of music and dance. Yet these people stay as one, and unite as the country of Malaysia.
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