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Peranakan weddings of old combined Chinese and Malay elements in the wedding ceremonies. The Chinese aspect was in religion whereby traditional Chinese Taoist gods and dieties were worshipped. The attire of the wedding couple was essentially old Chinese dating from the Ching Dynasty in China. Most of the ceremonies performed were old Hokkien ceremonies from the province of Fujian. The malay influence was apparent in the language used, the jewelry, the proceedings, the use of the mak andam and pak chindek, the use of the pak boyan in the wedding procession and other examples.
Left : Picture of a Modern Day Baba Wedding taken in Malacca. Such Baba Weddings are only to be found in Malacca alone. Most of these wedding ceremonies have died out in Penang, Singapore and most of Indonesia. The picture on the right shows us a Penang Peranakan wedding in the 1910's.Baba Weddings of old were extremely elaborate affairs, the wedding would usually last a total of 15 days and there would be various ceremonies to accompany the different days. They were extremely expensive and ornate events that needed a lot of time and was very time consuming. Most Peranakans abandoned such elaborate weddings by the end of world war II. The war was one of the main attributes that led to the eventual decline of Peranakan wealth, culture and status in society. The eventual conversion of most Baba families to Christianity also resulted in the death of ancestral practices and most of the old culture which was deemed unChristian faded into oblivion.
The photo above shows you a typical Peranakan wedding couple in traditional attire.Such weddings were common until the mid 1940's. The headress worn by the bride is made out of gold and silver hair pins that are put into the hair to form a crown. At her neck is the phoenix collar to symbolise the power of the feminine phoenix in Peranakan society. On her neck she wears numerous jewelry and accessories befitting her wealth and status and is covered from head to toe in the finest garments made of pure chinese silk.
The groom is much less ornate in dreesing than the bride but his jacket and hat are that of the manchu gentry of Old China. He has an old Chinese fan on his hand and boots as shoes. The typical Peranakan wedding was a grand affair that consisted of numerous ceremonies and the acoompaniment of an ancient Chinese orchastera. Like all other Chinese communities the Peranakan Chinese community practised the age old tradition of matchmaking their children. Peranakan boys and women were not allowed to mingle freely and were secluded from each other until they were married off by their elders. Peranakan women in days of yore could only travel outside their homes if a female relative accompanied them. Insipte of such matchmade marriages, family matrimonial harmony and a good strong family environment was present and helped in the continuance of Peranakan traditions and community bonding that is sadly lacking in the Peranakan community of today.
Prenuptial Procedures: Although the traditional wedding runs for twelve days as mentioned earlier, pre-nuptial procedures are to be observed four days before the actual wedding day. They begin with the presentation of the birth certificates “Sang Jee” & preparation of the bridal chamber “Ann Ching”, On this day at the chosen time, bananas, yams & citronella plants (serai) are placed under the bridal bed by a young boy “Koo Yah” who is privileged to roll thrice on the bridal bed for the first time.
On the next two days relatives come to give a helping hand for the preparation of wedding decorations & food. These days are therefore referred to as “Peeling of Onions” & “Pounding of Flour” respectively. The bride-to-be is made to sit in the bridal chamber like a bride but with a slight difference — in that she is dressed up in a costume “Hock Chiew” which is not so heavily embroidered as the Wedding Costume “Koon Hoe” & she is also not allowed to put on the front piece of the Head-dress known as “Pak Sian’. This gives her the opportunity to get used to the heavy Head-dress & costumes with all the finery & also to practice the ceremonial movements & gestures under the guidance of expert mistress of ceremonies “Sangkeh mm”.
On the eve of the Wedding besides mid-day luncheon or dinner being given “Chia Lang Khek” the gifts for the bride & groom-to-be are exchanged . The elaborately decorated gifts” displayed on brass trays are carried in procession between the two homes. They consist of twelve different gifts such as two pairs of candles with symbols of dragon & phoenix, nnggit (silver coins painted with red dots in the center), pig’s legs, cockerel & chicken, a pair of shoes for each with materials or dresses, rings, ang-pow, 8 betel nuts (painted in gold) wine, rock sugar, dried “Mata kuching” fruits, a pair of oranges and pomegranates and half a dozen tins of Chinese delicacies.
The Cheo Thau ceremony is one of the most important ceremonies and marks the first occasion when the bride and bridegroom will wear their authentic wedding robes. The actual wedding ceremony will only take place before noon that day, after the Cheo Thau ceremony. This ceremony is one of great fanfare where the groom heads a procession of seronnee (a musical instrument), musicians, men carrying umbrellas, and lanterns. The whole troop will then proceed to the bride’s residence after a series of rituals at his home.
The father then prays at the High Altar and offers wine to God, the Creator, by pouring wine four times on the floor. Following this he offers a sip of wine from the same cup to his beloved daughter who is now a woman (no longer a child under his care ). The bride is then veiled by both her parents, a ceremony which often brings tears to the eyes of all concerned and thereafter she awaits the coming of the groom. The Malay "Sembah Mak Bapak" or the honoring one of one's parents in the old malay style would be performed.
Chin Pang Ceremony: Next, follows the Chin Pang Ceremony which marks the first meeting between the couple where the bride would lead the groom into the bridal chamber where he would unveil her. Together they would be served tea and a bowl of kueh ee – small white and red dumplings in a sweet broth. The arrival of the groom is announced by the sound of crackers “Seroni” music and the sound of gongs. He is accompanied by a couple of gong beaters “Pak Kim” and a couple of Best Men “Puah Kiah”as well as a Master of Ceremonies. Having been greeted by the members of the bride’s family with a shower of saffron rice and perfume, the bridegroom is met at the entrance of the house by a page-boy “Koo Yah” who offers him an orange and he in return offers a red packet as a toll. The bridegroom and his retinue are ushered by the bride’s father into the house where they are offered tea and noodles “Mee Swa”. The Master of Ceremonies then leads the bridegroom to the entrance of the inner hall and summons the bride by reciting a proverb and she advances to the door but does not pass through it. The two Best Men are then driven out.
Nowadays, the principal ceremonies mentioned above, which were formerly performed on 12 different days , are carried out in 1 day. Even so they still retain their significance and add grandeur to a marriage. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find experts who remember the details of the various procedures and ceremonies and are able to assist. But we all hope that these traditions will never die in Melaka as it has in Singapore, Penang & most of Indonesia.
A Pak Chindek, and a Sang Kek Um (the wedding masters and mistresses respectively) are most often required because traditions become so complex that weddings need to be orchestrated by wedding specialists. The third ceremony takes place in the bridalchamber. This is called chianh sia. This ceremony is amusing and unique because friends and guests of the bridegroom would gather in the room and tease the bride with the hope of inducing laughter from the bride. And if the bride does indeed break out into uncontrollable fits of laughter, the unfortunate groom would have to treat all the guests to dinner.
The finale of the wedding ceremony, would be the dua belas hari or Twelfth Day ceremony, where the marriage would be conformed and approved by proof of the bride’s virginity. Firstly, the bride’s parents would invite the bridegroom’s mother to inspect the bloodstain cloth. She would be invited to perform a test by squeezing lime juice on the blood stain cloth in hope of ascertaining the authencity of the stain. However, she would normally refrain from performing the test as it would also demean the bride.
WEDDING BANQUETS & FOOD
Among the array of wedding foods is the quintessential Nasi Lemak. This rice dish cooked in rich coconut milk is served during the wedding feast. Duabelas Hari is traditionally held on the 12th (last day) of the entire wedding celebration. It is a special feast marking the important occasion of verifying the bride's virginity / purity on the night of consumation. The nasi lemak is prepared by the groom's family and is presented to the bride's family only when all are in happy agreement. This signifies that all is well. Duabelas Hari is held at the groom's house, consumed in Tok Panjang style of the Babas, meaning guests take turns to eat at the dinner table.
Nasi Lemak is served commonly with 24 dishes including the must-have sambal serving. This symbolizes the harmony of a successful match between the newly weds. Other wedding foods also include Apom Bok Kwa and Nasi Ulam. If there is too much food, leftovers are packed in colorful and gaudy tengkas (tiffin carriers) for family members and guests to take home. Nowadays, the Duabelas Hari is almost a thing of the past as the younger generation thinks it is a waste of money and time. Most prefer the short cut of quicker wedding celebrations
In today’s fast-paced and modern society, it is disheartening to see the lavish and elaborate Peranakan wedding fast vanishing. Few young Peranakans these days are interested in going through the laborious twelve-day wedding ceremony and very few older generation Peranakans can remember accurately the complex procedure and rituals associated with it. Therefore, what we can do now is only to preserve the unique bridal furniture and costumes as a remembrance of our roots.
PERANAKAN FESTIVALS OF OLD
Chinese New Year is the most important day for any Peranakan. It is the day of much joy and anticipation. It is a day to renew family ties, get togthers with relatives, friends and family members, much eating and merryment and the joy of receiving angpaus for the young. Below is a picture of a group of Peranakan Children all dressed up for Chinese New Year Visitations. Notice that the New Year attire of old was similar to that of the Wedding attire. This shows us that wedding attire was not only used for weddings but for Chinese New Year visitations as well in the days of old.
The Peranakans of yesteryear would also sohjar or bow to their elders during Chinese New Year as a mark of respect. This shojar is usually performed with the person kneeling and greetings of : "Panjang Panjany umor dan banyak untong" or May you have a long life filled with much blessings is usually said. It is also not Peranakan custom to actually give oranges during Chinese New Year visitations.
The traditional Peranakans of old adopted the religioous practices of their original hometown in Fujian, China. As Taoists or Buddhists, they worshiped Ti Kong, the Jade Emperor and King of Heaven, as well as other deities. Peranakans also celebrate traditional Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year, Mooncake Festival and the Dumpling Festival. Most young Peranakans in the 1930's, especially those attending mission schools, converted to Christians, due to the spread of Christianity but retain certain Peranakan customs and traditions. Most Peranakan culture however for the large part has been abandoned as it contradicts Christian beliefs and practices, due to this a large part of Peranakan traditions and culture has been lost. The following festivals below were celebrated by the Peranakans of yesteryear:
Celebration of Ti Kong's Birthday (9th day of Chinese New Year) - Sugar cane was offered in memory of survivors of a massacre during the Sung dynasty, who had hidden in the sugarcane fields to escape their enemies' notice.
Mooncake Festival - Mooncakes are eaten during the Mooncake Festival to commemorate Chang'Er who swallowed a pill, which was the Elixir of Eternal Life and floated to the moon. Peranakans do not actually make moon cakes as moon cake making is not part and parcel of Peranakan culture nevertheless mooncakes are still enjoyed by nonyas and babas till this very day.
Dumpling Festival - The Peranakans also celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival with their own version of the Bak Chang (dumplings). The Nonya Bak Chang or nonya kueh chang is made up of cubed pork, chestnuts and glutinous rice. The uniqueness of the dish is the fact that it is sweet rather than salty and the dumpling is wrapped using pandan leaves which gives its an aromatic flavour.
The Kichen God Festival - Prayers to the Kitchen God were said on stipulated days and offerings were given so that he would report to the God of Heaven in a favourable manner. Prayers and incense were offered to him on his return to thank him for his favourable report. The Kitchen God was also supposed to bless the food in the household and to ensure a plentiful and bountiful supply of food.
The Sembayang Hantu Festival (Hungry Ghost Festival) - Like all other Chinese communities this was the day when the Family ancestral altar was cleaned and where offerings of food, inscence and paper money were offered to the encestors. Visits to temples and mediums would also be done to ensure that the ancestor was well in the afterworld. As very devout Taoists, Peranakan households always had a large hallway dedicated for ancestor worship.
The picture above shows you the change in dressing that occured around the late 1930's. Most Peranakans at the time had modernised and westernised absorbing western styles of dressing. Old Bibiks of yesteryear would also visit malay keramats or burial grounds to pray and ask for favours. They would also consult fortune tellers, magicians and bomohs or even visit hindu temples for advice. The Peranakan religion of old was essentially Chinese in nature but it was trisintic incorporating the beliefs and religions of other cultures into its very own and adapting these beliefs to suit the needs of the Peranakan community. With the advent of Mission schools and Westernisation, the Peranakan Community converted en masse into the Christian faith. The overwhelming majority of most Peranakans are now Christian till this very day. Catholic Christian Peranakans tend to retain more Peranakan culture and practices than Protestant Christian Peranakans as the former allows inculturation and incorporation of traditional beliefs into religion. The below pictures shows you a Peranakan tempat seray and the cakes needed for the celebration of birth.
THE CELEBRATION OF BIRTH
At the full lunar month muar-guay ceremony, that is, thirty days after the birth of the child Nyonyas would hold a ceremony whereby nasi kunyit (steamed glutinous tumeric rice), chicken curry and red bean cakes in the shape of tortoises ( ang-koo) together with either ang-t'oe or ang-ee and two red hard-boiled chicken eggs would be offered to the ancestors and the rest distributed to relatives and close friends. This tradition, no doubt influenced to a certain extent by the local Malays in the use of nasi kunyit and curry ayam is still being practised by the Hokkiens today. The muar-guay ceremony also marks the end of the pantang (taboo or abstinence period for the baby's mother) as was also practised by the Malay women after child delivery. The Malays refered to nasi kunyit as pulot kuning or nasi kuning and they used it lavishly at thanksgiving ceremonies (kenduris ). Muar guay cakes for this occasion would be : Nasi kunyit , two hard boiled eggs, two tortoises ang koo , two peaches ang t'oe (the last signifying that the baby is a girl). If you want to learn more about nonya pantangs or superstitions of old, go to the Archives section now.
OFFERINGS FOR THE ANCESTORS
The offerings and their significance for a domestic rite performed by a Peranakan family in Bukit Rambai on 28 July 1997. The rite is called bikin dua tahun or 'perform the second rite'. For the Baba, this is the last of a number of post-death rites. The matriach passed away on the 24th day of the 6th Moon in 1995. Last year, on her first death anniversary, the family performed the bikin satu tahun or 'perform the first year rite'. For the Baba, this is the grandest of the post-death rites, when a Buddhist monk is invited to perform the ceremony, and a paper house as well as lots of paper goods and hell money are burnt for the deceased. The first year rite virtually marks the end of mourning, and so the last part of the rite involves the mourners removing their mourning markers (worn on the relevant shoulder part of dress) and changing into a colourful dress which has some red colour.
After the rite, the picture and statues of deities, which have been kept away during the mourning period, are reinstalled at their usual altar in the living room. In the case of Mr and Mrs Bong, as do most Baba nowadays, they decided not to piara abu (install ancestral altars) at home and so Mr Bong paid for his mother's tablet to be installed at the famous temple dedicated to Kuanyin in Melaka. The Baba refers to this temple, called Cheng Hoon Teng, as kebun datuk (literally, the deities’ garden). The Baba generally observe a final domestic post-death rite called bikin dua tahun (hereafter the second year rite). This is equivalent to what the Hokkien calls choe sa ni or 'perform the third year rite', which is also observed not on the exact third death anniversary but in effect two years after a death.
The second year rite is not so grand and it does not involve hiring any religious specialist. It is more like a death anniversary, but there are more offerings, and siblings including married sisters return to participate in the rite. In fact, early in the morning of 28 July 1997, which was the 24th day of the sixth moon, the family performed a simple death anniversary rite (siki) before performing the second year rite. The family came to the house from other parts of Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Joined by the elder brother's family next door, the family was busy with activities (preparing food and sweets) two days before the worship, and there was an atmosphere of joyful reunion. In the late afternoon on the eve of the second year rite, the family cleared a high table in the middle hall. On this temporary altar table facing the front of the house, he placed an incense pot filled with uncooked rice (as the incense pot is for temporary use only) , a glass filled with water, and a small towel (binpoh) on top. He arranged four teacups in front of the temporary 'incense pot' and put a pot of tea on the table. A bamboo joss-stick holder containing new (unused) joss-sticks was placed at one corner of the altar table. Then Mr Bong lit some joss-sticks and went to the porch to pray to the God of Heaven, then to the domestic deities in the living room.
After offering joss-sticks to the deities, he went to the front of the house to 'invite' his mother to return for the second year rite. Having done this, he placed the remaining two joss-sticks in the incense pot on the temporary ancestral altar in the middle room. Then he poured tea. He opened the side door of the living room. This was to allow the mother's companions to enter as they, being not from the family, could not enter the living room from the front door because the deities’ altar was there. Before the worship began, the lights were switched on in the house, as is the custom when conducting a domestic worship. The ritual of inviting the deceased to return to be worshipped is called chia abu or 'invite the ancestors', and this system of worshipping ancestors by 'invitation' on the occasion of worship may be called the invitation system, in contrast to the system of installing a permanent altar or altars for regular domestic worship, which the Baba call piara abu. Chia is from the Hokkien word which means to invite while abu (literally 'ash' in Malay) is the Baba term for ancestors. Piara means 'to keep and look after' in Malay (pelihara) and so piara abu refers to installing an ancestral tablet at home.
The above Photo shows you how the altar to the household diety of the main hall is arranged. Old Peranakan altars were very elaborate & impressive they had one of the most elaborate altars of all other Chinese communities as they practised ancient Chinese Customs that even the Chinese in China had forgotten. We have seen that on the temporary altar table, there is a temporary incense pot. Beside it is a glass of plain water. It is common for the Baba to have a glass of plain water to go along with food. There are two tea pots, one containing tea and the other containing Chinese rice wine. In front of the 'incense pot' are laid eight tea cups. There was also a small basin in which stood a glass filled with plain water, and there was a towel (binpoh) folded neatly on top of the glass. This is provided in a Baba ancestor worship. My informants explain that this glass of water and the binpoh is for the ancestors to cuci mulut ('wash the mouth' i.e. wipe the mouth clean) while some say that it is for cuci muka ('wash the face') which serves the same purpose of cleansing before, during or after a meal.
Halfway through this 'second year worship', the wife reminded her husband that they had not yet offered cigarettes and betel leaf. He then placed two saucers on the temporary altar tables, one containing three unlit cigarettes, while the other had a betel leaf (daun sirih), gambier (gambier), betel nuts, some lime (kaput), and a lit cigarette. Mr Bong’s mother used to smoke cigarettes and chew betel leaves. In contrast to the other Chinese in Malaysia, the offering of betel leaves reflect Baba identity, as the non-Baba Chinese are not associated with chewing betel leaves, a habit associated with the non-Chinese indigenous people but also with the Baba and other more localised Chinese.
In front of the high 'altar table' were placed two square tables which served as offering tables, and they were lower than the altar table. The offerings were laid out neatly in rows. The Baba are always proud that they lay out their offerings neatly, unlike the non-Baba Chinese, who they claim, do not arrange their offerings neatly. This is an important Baba rhetoric to emphasise pride in their identity, both as Baba and as Chinese, and that they, rather than the mainstream Chinese, take worshipping more seriously.We shall begin our description with the first table, that is, the table in front of the 'altar' table. We shall refer to the rows in relation to the position of the 'altar'. Thus the first row on the first table is the row closest to the altar. The first row consisted of eight pairs of chopsticks, each of which was placed beside a saucer which held a spoon and a small wine cup.
Wine is offered to ancestors on special occasions. In their daily life, the Baba generally use fork and spoon or at times fingers to eat their meals. However, in the context of offerings, usually chopsticks rather than forks and spoons are arranged on the offering table. This practice of conforming to traditional Chinese cultural practice in the ritual context, although not reflecting their actual social practice, is also reflected in the practice of offering tea to deities and ancestors. In their daily life, few Babas drink Chinese tea. In the second row, there were eight small bowls of rice. Although the focus of worship was Mr Bong’s mother, it was believed that the mother might bring along some of her friends from the underworld, so there was a need to offer more than one share, hence the eight bowls of rice, eight pairs of chopsticks, eight cups of wine and eight cups of Chinese tea.
In Baba custom, before the post-death one-year rite is performed, the deceased is offered only one bowl of rice, and so only one pair of chopsticks is laid out. The belief is that a newly-dead person cannot bring along his or her underworld companions when invited to an offering. Only after the mourning period marked by the one year rite can a new ancestor bring along his or her underworld companions to attend the 'feast', hence more bowls of rice are offered. Generally, the number of bowls are four, eight or twelve. Six is avoided as it is half of twelve, the full number, hence symbolically not good. Thus eight is the number adopted by most people. Offerings given to the dead and ancestors are always in even number, following the Yin principle. The Yang numbers are odd numbers. Thus the number of joss-sticks offered to deities are always one (in daily worship) or three or more (special days as the first or fifteenth of each Chinese month). The number of joss-sticks offered by each person to an ancestor is always in even number, usually two.
DEATH & FUNERAL PRACTICES
When a death occurs, all reflective surfaces in the house are covered. This is because of fear that when the soul of the deceased returns to the house, he may see himself in these reflective surfaces and his soul will be destroyed. The photos below show you a typical Peranakan Funeral procession in the early 1930's. Peranakan Chinese funerals were very similar to that of old Hokkien Funerary Customs practiced in China during that time.
Often, a Taoist priest or priestess is invited to help clean and dress the deceased before placing the body in the coffin. The deceased would be dressed in the white pyjamas worn on his wedding eve. Some of the deceased's favourite clothes are also placed in the coffin. Finally, the whole body will be covered with silver paper which are replicas of bank notes. White candles are used for the main rituals, but if the deceased was an octogenarian or died at a ripe old age, red candles are burnt instead. Why are these rituals observed? The reason being, the fear of corpses talking and rising from the dead.
Funeral of a matriarch : The Peranakans believed that death is a continuation of living. Therefore, the deceased needed to have everything he had possessed in this world to be taken with him to the nether world as well. Thus, goods such as money, televisions or motor cars, represented in paper crafts and made in miniature, are burnt as offerings. The family of the deceased is to mourn for a total of one-and-a half-years. They are to wear twelve months of black, the next three months in black and blue or white, and for the last three months they wear green. Paper money for the dead : Members of the deceased cannot visit friends or relatives during the Chinese New Year for fear that they may bring bad luck and death to the house visited. Friends and relatives too do not visit these homes. This is because you never visit a house in mourning.
THE WANGKANG FESTIVAL
The most unique among the Traditional Celebrations of the Malacca Chinese is the Great Wangkang Festival, a very grand and costly religious procession. This great festival of the Malacca Chinese is an expression of the faith of the people. The Wangkang Festival is of Hokkien origin and it was held in China only in the Chiang Chew and Chuan Chiew Districts (two very large districts of the Fukien Province). In Malaya it has only ever been held in Malacca. During the persecution of the Chinese by the Manchus in the Ching Dynasty some four centuries ago, many Hokkien people immigrated to Malacca where they settled down and worshipped the Ong Yahs or Princes Deities, as they had been used to in China. Their descendants - the Peranakan Chinese followed their footsteps in worshipping the Five Ong Yahs and this is why Malacca is the only place in Malaya where the Wangkang Procession was held.
In Malacca the festival was held over a 150 years ago at Kandang. The last Wangkang festival took place in 1933 in the month of November after which there has not been a celebration of the Grand Wangkang Festival. The word Wangkang is of Chinese origin - Wang meaning Prince/King, Kang meaning boat. Thus the combination of the 2 words denotes the boat or barge of the Prince of Princes. Thence Wangkang fits the name of this holy festival, a festival pertaining to the Ong Yahs (Princes Deities). A day after the Wangkang was burnt; the doors of the Temple would be closed and sealed for three days. During that time, the priests would go to each house of the Chinese subscribers and purify it.On the third day after the burning of the Wangkang, the doors of the Temple were re opened by the priests. Two days later the Wangkang Festival ended with the taking down of all the bamboo trees.
To take part in the Wangkang Festival was a privilege and every one connected with it took a keen interest and worked very hard. The attendance was always one hundred per cent. During the Festival anyone who went into the Temple on the Chye Lian Kuan on the Wangkang Shed had to be clean in body, and mind and not use bad language. All Officials, assistants or anyone taking part must attend the ceremonies regularly and must not grumble at one another, otherwise he would sooner or later face dire consequences imposed by the Ong Yahs. Most Peranakans in Malacca now do not take part in this festival as many have converted to and embraced the Christian Faith.
The Peranakans of both Penang, Malacca and Singapore held a special commemoration to the Dieties and Gods of the Chinese Pantheon on this Day which was held during the middle of Chinese New Year. It was a great day of merry making whereby the young Nonya Maidens of old used to be paraded along the Esplanade and the City Centre in their elaborate and colorful elaborate kebayas for all to see. Young Baba men would take this opportunity to admire the nonyas as mixing of the sexes was considered tabboo in those years. They were decked in jewelry sparkling with the numerous diamonds, silver and gold ornaments they wore. The Chap Goh Meh Festival was basically a time when the Peranakan Community as a whole could display & exhibit their wealth and love of ostensity. In Penang alone the Straits Chinese Magazine itself reported that in a 1905 article that in Penang" no less than $30,000,000 items of jewelry were exhibited on Chap Goh Meh." Now that amount is about quadruple that of present day figures. This shows you the enormous wealth and stature of the Peranakans in those days of yore.
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