Whether Baba Malay, Penang Hokkien, or Bahasa Indonesia, language is an intrinsic part of Peranakan community life and identity. Through Malay Poems (pantuns), Chinese fables, or Peranakan language plays, the community's intangible cultural heritage had been preserved and vibrantly promoted.
Traditionally the Peranakan Chinese practised Chinese religion — a diverse mix of folk beliefs, ancestor worship, Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism — which their forebears brought with them from Southern China. These beliefs provided Peranakans with a framework for understanding both the worldly and the spiritual. As the community evolved, Peranakans also incorporated beliefs borrowed from other local communities. They also evolved their own traditions and customs, which were different from what was practised in China.
During the 19th century, the Peranakans rose to prominence as members of colonial society. Many had made their fortunes as merchants in the thriving trading economies of Straits Settlements (Singapore, Malacca and Penang).
Food and Feasting
Peranakan food is well known in the mainstream culture of Singapore and Malaysia. It is one of the Peranakan community's living traditions, and many family favourites are heartily enjoyed outside the community.