culture in Malaysia:Punjabi


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culture in Malaysia:Punjabi

  1. 1. Culture in Malaysia: PunjabiCulture in MalaysiaPunjabiHistory• Originating from the Punjab region in India and Pakistan• first came to Malaysia in the 19th century as British political prisoners• second wave was brought in by the British to serve as policemen for the British Straits Settlement communities and as night watchmen for industries.Religion• Majority of Punjabi in Malaysia practices Sikhism, which was founded by Guru Nanak• holy book is Guru Granth Sahib• A small number of them are Muslim and Hindus• Sikhism is a religion that was founded in northern India during the 16th century• Sikhism stresses the importance of devotion, intense faith in the guru, the repetition of their gods name as a means of salvation or moksha (release into gods love), opposition to the worship of idols, the brotherhood of all men, and rejection of caste (pattern of social classes in Hinduism) system.• The most common symbol of all Sikhs is uncut hair (including beards for men) and turbans and the Five emblems or the 5Ks (kakkar): 1. Hair and beards unshorn (kesh). Hair is not only regarded as a symbol of saintliness or holiness, but also as a proof of living in harmony with the Will of God. 2. kangha or the comb is a necessary adjunct for the hair. It should be on hand to keep the hair neat and tidy 3. wear a steel bracelet (kara) on their right wrist as a symbol of poverty and pledge to their Gurus 4. wear kachha or kachhahra, the knee-length breeches meant to cover the private parts of the body. It is a symbol of moral restraint and conjugal fidelity 5. always carry the kirpan or sword to defend and protect the dignity or honour of othersBelief and Taboo• Punjabi Sikhs believe in one god who cannot take human form• Sikhs share with Hinduism a belief in karma, reincarnation and ultimate unreality of the worldLanguage• Punjabi has its origin in the eleventh century and is the successor of Sauraseni Prakrit. It is an ancient language that has an Indo-European origin.• The written language of Sikhs is called Gurmukhi.• The written language of Punjabi Hindus is Hindi.• The written language of Muslim Sikhs might be either Punjabi or Urdu.Festival Vaisakhi or Baisakhi• It occurs during 13 April every year and traditionally concurs in Punjab with the first harvesting of the crops for the year.• since 1699, it had marked the very significant religious event of the creation of the Khalsa, the Order of Pure Ones. 1
  2. 2. Culture in Malaysia: Punjabi• It was the day, Guru Gobind Singh initiated and baptised 5 devoted Sikhs to be the embodiment of the Guru himself.• Vaisakhi falls in the Nanakshahi calendar on the first day of Vaisakh month and marks the suns entering Mesha Rasi (this fact is called Mesha Sankranti, i.e. the solar transit into Aries).• Vaisakhi is therefore determined by the solar calendar. Baisakhi usually falls on April 14, and on April 15 once every thirty-six years, however it has now been agreed for Vaisakhi to always fall on the 13th of April of the Gregorian calendar.• Commonly believed, a New Year for the Sikhs. This Sikh New Year is celebrated on the 1st day of Chet which usually falls on March 13, a month earlier. Gurupurbs.• Gurupurbas are remembrance days for the ten Sikh gurus in which the Adi Granth (the Sikh scripture) is read aloud. Among the more important gurpurbs, in the Nanakshahi calendar, are: • The birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism (November) • The birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, founder of the Khalsa (January) • The martyrdom of Guru Arjan (June) • The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur (November/December)• Other important gurpurbs include Vaisakhi, which commemorates the creation of the Khalsa Panth, and the martyrdom days of the young sons of Guru Gobind Singh.• During these celebrations, the Guru Granth Sahib is read through, in private homes and in the gurdwaras, in a single continuous ceremony lasting 48 hours.• This reading, called Akhand Path, must be without interruption; the relay of reciters who take turns at saying the Scripture ensures that no break occurs.• Special assemblies are held in gurdwaras and discourses given on the lives and teachings of the gurus. Sikhs march in processions through towns and cities chanting the holy hymns.Traditional food Vegetarian Dishes • Sarson ka Saag (Mustard leaves curry) • Dal Makhani/ Dal Handi (curry of pulses) • Choley (generally eaten with Naan) • Punj Ratani Dal (a mixtute of 5 lentils) • Kadhai Paneer • Shahi Paneer • Sheer Korma Non-vegetarian Dishes • Tandoori Chicken • Butter Chicken • Kebab 2
  3. 3. Culture in Malaysia: Punjabi • Tandoori Fish • Fish tikka • Chicken Biriyani Bread & Flour Preparations • Naan • Tandoori Roti • Kulcha • Lachha paratha • Phulka or chapatti • Aloo paratha • Mooli paratha • Poori • Bhatoora Desserts One of the very delicious items in their menu is called roh di kheer, which is prepared by cooking rice in sugarcane juice for a long time. Besides this, there are more of Punjabi desserts, like: • Rice Kheer • Rabri • Gulab Jamun • Gaajar Halwa • Sooji HalwaMusic and dance • Bhangra is a traditional Punjabi musical art form that is increasing in popularity all over the world. It represents the liveliness and dynamism of its people. The dance mainly involves men, who perform to the fast beats of drum and music. Originally performed on the Baisakhi festival, the harvest festival of Punjab, Bhangra is done at every single festive occasion today. Dhol, a large, high-bass drum, is the instrument that defines the Bhangra. In addition to a drum, chimta-musical tongs and burchu and sound of the beats from earthen vessels are used as accompanying instruments.CustomeWomen • Most Punjabi women will wear the salwar kameez (long top worn over the pants). Women will also wear a dupatta (a scarf) with it, which can be draped over the head as need prescribes. 3
  4. 4. Culture in Malaysia: PunjabiMen • The English word pyjama derives from the loose fitting pants worn in Punjab. The men wear a kurta, (long shirt) tahmat (cloth wrapped around the waist and legs) or pyjama, and a turban.Handicraft • Phulkari, meaning flower work, is a spectacular style of embroidery peculiar to the Punjabis. The total effect is that of florance magnificence. The patterns of needle work done on the bed spreads, chunnis, dupattas (these are head covers) and shirts and Salvars, are still different. Needle work on phulkaris is done on a deep coloured cotton cloth with striking silk threads.Past time • Some of the Punjabis played the Indian game of KabbadiWedding According to the Rehat Maryada, “a Sikh should marry only a Sikh”. In recent years, Gurdwarasin Malaysia and across the world relaxed the rule, allowing interfaith marriages (between a Sikhand non-Sikh) to be conducted in the Gurdwaras.RokaAs soon as the couple agree to wed, the roka or saith ceremony, which is an announcement thatthe boy and girl have found their soul mates and will look no further for a life partner, is held. Thegirls mama (mothers brother) gives her the nath (nose ring) which she will wear on her wedding.SagaiThe wedding celebrations begin with the tikka ceremony, held a week to ten days before thewedding (depending on the number of functions to follow) in which the family of the girl visits thatof the boys carrying beautifully wrapped gifts and the tikka material: a silver tray with a few grainsof rice and saffron in a tiny silver bowl, 14 chuharey (dried dates) covered with silver foil and acoconut wrapped in a gold leaf. The father of the girl applies tikka on his son-in-laws foreheadand gives him his blessings and some money. In return, the girls family receives baskets ofseven dried fruits: almonds, cashewnuts, chuahara, coconut pieces, raisins, dried apricots andphoolmakhana, at the kudmai (sagai or engagement)SangeetA sangeet function hosted by the girls family, in which just a few close members of the boysfamily are invited. The girls family play the dholki (an elongated tabla) sing songs in which theytease the boy and his family, telling them to thank their stars they were lucky to find such awonderful girl, who they probably didnt deserve! All in jest, of course, but they take care not toget carried away. After this, it is the boys turn to retaliate, which they do in another sangeetfunction hosted by them. Though these are the traditional sangeets, many families opt for livebands or a disc jockey to churn out one dance track after another as guests shake a leg on thefloor. 4
  5. 5. Culture in Malaysia: PunjabiMehendiThe last major function before the wedding is the mehendi. Mehendiwallis are called to therespective houses of the boy and girl and they apply mehendi to the palms of the female familymembers, and the hands and feet of the bride. A basket containing bindis and bangles is handedaround so girls can choose those that match the outfit they plan to wear to the wedding.The Wedding DayThe maaiyan of the bride starts three days before the wedding, which means she is now notsupposed to leave the house until the big day. These days are meant for complete relaxation.She is not even supposed to meet the groom. The morning of the wedding, batna, a paste of flourand turmeric, is applied to the face, hands and legs of the bride. This is believed to beautify theskin. She then has a bath and sits for the puja, after which she is made to wear the bridal chura,red and white ivory bangles that signify her status as a bride. Her relatives then tie a kalira (jingle)on these churas, which convey their good wishes and blessings. The eligible girls line up and thebride lightly bangs her kaliras on their head. It is believed that by doing this, these girls would bethe next to get married.Similarly the grooms relatives also apply batna, more as a jest than a serious ceremony. This isfollowed by a puja, after which his mother ties a sehera (veil of flowers) on his turban, praying thathis life ahead will be as beautiful and fragrant as the flowers.The brides family waits at the entrance to greet the baarat (the groom and his family), who reachsinging and dancing. The father, brother, uncles and grandfathers of the groom embrace thecorresponding members of the brides family. While embracing, they try to lift each other up as ashow of strength and superiority, amidst much laughter and cheer. When they enter the venuethe bride is brought out and the couple exchange garlands.The wedding concludes with the pheras, where the couple exchange vows in front of the sacredfire. The brides parents give her hand to the groom in marriage in what is known as thekanyadaan. In the earlier days, in exchange for the bride, her in-laws would donate a sacred cow,but today money is accepted. The couple take four rounds of the fire and seven steps to theNorth to signify advancement as they walk together through life. Then the bride puts a foot on astone as she says no matter what problems come their way, she will be stable - solid as a rock.Her brother pours kheel (a sweet) into her hands, which she pours into her husbands hands.Once this is done the boys father sprinkles water on the newlyweds to say that if there aremisunderstandings between them, he will help calm them down. The bride then makes a tearfulfarewell to her new home in what is known as the bidai.Birth • A naming ceremony occurs at the temple. • A sacred book is randomly opened and the parents choose a name that begins with the first letter of the first word on the left hand page. • All Sikh males carry the surname of Singh (meaning lion) and Sikh females carry the name Kaur (meaning lioness/ princess) respectively.Death• The Punjabis who are Sikhs and Hindus are cremated at death. 5
  6. 6. Culture in Malaysia: Punjabi• The body of a dying or dead person, if it is on a cot, must not be taken off the cot and put on the floor.• Nor must a lit lamp be placed beside, or a cow got bestowed in donation by, him/her or for his/her good or any other ceremony, contrary to Gurus way, performed.• Only Gurbani should be recited or "Waheguru, Waheguru" repeated by his or her side.ArchitectureTatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara , Kuala Lumpur. • The design concept of the new Gurdwara Sahib is based on the art and architecture period of Guru Arjun Dev Ji. • It incorporates the symbolic dimensions of 5 and 10 - the Darbar Sahib will be elegantly designed with 10 full length bay windows with salient aspects of the Gurbani, scriptures and art of the period of the Gurus. • The central dome, similar in form to that of the Golden Temple in Amritsar is covered with gold mosaic and its interior has an inner ceiling with tiny lights depicting the stars above Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 6