Origins of Baba Nyonya

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  • Topic: Singapore, Peranakan, Penang
  • Pages : 1 (351 words )
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  • Published : September 25, 2011
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Farhana : The origins of Baba Nyonya can be traced back to centuries ago when the Chinese emigrated from China to the British Straits Settlement of Melaka, Singapore, Penang and also Java of Indonesia. The Chinese then married the local females and their distinct background, cultures and customs blended together harmoniously and became baba nyonya in “Peranakan” culture. Farhana : “Peranakan” means descendent in Malay. It is another local term for them. “Baba” refers to the male while “nyonya” is female. Besides, they are also being known as “Straits-born Chinese”. This is a very unique culture in Melaka where the Chinese culture is assimilated into Malay customs. During the ancient time, they retained some practices of Chinese cultures but at the same time adapted local Malay traditions in order to minimize the culture shock. Kak Dayah : They have several similarities with Malay culture in terms of dress, food and language. Nyonya is usually wearing sarung or baju kebaya similar to Malay. However, most of them are not Muslim even though they practice Malay traditions. They retained some Chinese customs especially in festival celebrations, marriage, names and ancestral worship. Kak Dayah: Mentioning about nyonya food, one will be salivating and food like Kapitan chicken, buah keluak, duck soup, laksa and various mouth-watering sweet delicacies will come to the mind. Adapt both cultures in cooking; nyonya food is made up of pungent and strong-flavored spices from Malay and Chinese style in food preparing. Thus, you might probably find some cuisines similar to Malay food but contain pork. Kak Dayah: They speak in a form of “assimilated language” consisting of Baba Malay, Malay Patoi and Hokkien dialect. Thus, you might be surprised by the way they speak in a mixture of Malay language, Hokkien dialect and probably some unfamiliar terms for you. It is said that their language is a blend of Chinese, Malay and Eurasian culture because European like Dutch was...
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