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All About Penang

The Culture Of Penang

The Culture Of Penang

The Culture Of Penang
August 15
00:27 2014

Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang has the third-highest Human Development Index in Malaysia. Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language, and religion. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.

Culture and Religion

The ethnic composition in 2010 was:

Chinese: 45.6%  Bumiputra (Malays and others): 43.6%  Indian: 10.4%  Others: 0.4%

Baba-Nyonya, are the descendants of the early Chinese immigrants to Penang, Malacca and Singapore. They have partially adopted Malay customs and speak a Chinese-Malay creole of which many words contributed to Penang Hokkien as well.  They possesses a distinct identity in terms of food, dress, rites, crafts and culture.

Language

The common languages of Penang, depending on social classes, social circles, and ethnic backgrounds are Malay, Mandarin, English, Penang Hokkien and Tamil.

Penang Hokkien is a variant of Minnan and is widely spoken by a substantial proportion of the Penang populace who are descendants of Chinese settlers. Many police officers also take a course in Hokkien.

Festival

The cultural mosaic of Penang naturally means that they are a great many number of festivals to celebrate. The Chinese celebrate, among others, the Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival, Qing Ming, and the feast days of various deities.

The Malays and Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Raya Haji, and Maulidur Rasul while the Indians observe Deepavali, Thaipusam and Thai Pongal.

Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are celebrated by Christians.

The annual Saint Anne’s Novena and Feast Day draws thousands of Catholics to St. Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam.

Buddhists observe Wesak Day while the Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi. Many of these festivals are celebrated in a large scale and are also public holidays in Penang.

Bon Odori is an annual event held at the Esplanade by the expatriate Japanese population. The Penang Government organises the annual George Town Festival which celebrates the city’s World Heritage Site status with arts and live cultural performances throughout the month of July.

The famous Pesta Pulau Pinang (Penang Fest) is a combination of trade expo, family-oriented carnival and cultural events held throughout the month of December since the 1960s primarily at the Pesta site in Sungai Nibong and other locations in the state.

Food

Penang’s cuisine reflects the Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian ethnic mix of Malaysia, but also shows some influence of
Thailand.

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