"The Peranakans" Singapore Local Custom Tip by Sharrie

Singapore Local Customs: 232 reviews and 163 photos


THE PERANAKANS. (Excerpt from Asian Civilisations Musuem)

Who are the Peranakans?
From as far back as the 14th century, Chinese traders have settled in Melaka & the coastal areas of Java & Sumatra while some later moved to Penang, Trengganu & Singapore.

Although these initial settlers considered themselves very much Chinese, they had also, through their long residence in the region, adopted many local customs & are believed to have married local women. Their descendants became known as the Peranakan or 'local-born' Chinese.

The Peranakan Legacy. (On display at the Asian Civilisations Museum)

Proud of their Chinese heritage, the Peranakans retained & faithfully practiced, in their ceremonies, many traditional beliefs & practices such as ancestor worship, festivals & weddings according to Chinese customs, even though many of them could not speak Chinese by the late 19th century.

Although steeped in the Chinese tradition, they gradually absorbed aspects of local culture. This resulted in a whole range of local style beaded, textile-based & gold & silver ornaments which found their way into the Peranakan household. The Peranakans' practice of commissioning work from Indian, Chinese, European & Malay craftmen resulted in the hybrid nature of the Peranakan Chinese material culture.

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  • Updated Nov 26, 2002
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