7 steps to rediscover your Malaysian identity on a cultural holiday

Chinese New Year is celebrated throughout Malaysia, but Melaka’s Jonker Street has many special programmes lined up during the festivities. — Filepic

Thinking about reconnecting with your Malaysian roots in 2020? Here are some tips to to get you started on your cultural-expanding adventure.

Retrace family history

Start by talking with your family, especially your grandparents and those from the older generation. They would be your greatest repository when it comes to discovering the family’s origins and cultural background. Some important questions to ask cover customs, rituals and dialect phrases that are specific to your family.

Homecoming holiday

For city dwellers, take the time to visit your parents’ and grandparents’ childhood hometowns or villages. More than discovering your roots, it will also bring back fond memories for them.

Discover streets and alleys

Here’s a homework: Find out the stories behind the names of roads, streets or even villages in a particular area. There might be some interesting trivia to be uncovered.

Talk to traders

Go to heritage enclaves to visit existing old shophouses that still continue with traditional businesses over the past decades. Take some time to talk to the traders, especially those that prepare and sell traditional items and food.

Seek out local experiences

For a truly authentic cultural experience, look no further than learning from local artisans and trade masters. Travellers have it easy these days as many of these experts – from traditional Nyonya kueh makers to wayang kulit masters – list their workshops online.

Stay in a village

Instead of a staycation at a posh hotel in the city, opt for a more humble homestay and kampung stay experience. This will put you in closer proximity with the community and provide more chance to learn and interact. There are over 200 homestay programmes in the country that are registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

Attend cultural festivals

There are over 100 official Visit Malaysia 2020 programmes lined up during the year-long event. Among them are the Chinese New Year celebrations in Melaka, Iftar@KL and Tadau Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) in Penampang, Sabah.

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experiential travel , Malaysia , culture , holiday


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