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Essay on Importance of Family Traditions

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As a proud Chinese Malaysian that grew up in Malaysia. The traditional holidays were my favorite times during the year. The biggest celebration of the year for me was the celebration of the lunar new year or also known as the Chinese New Year, and the spring festival. Thankfully we live in a multicultural country that celebrates different kinds of traditional holidays throughout the year. I loved celebrating every culture’s traditional holiday as it also meant I had public holidays off from school. The standard public holiday for Chinese New Year lasts 7 days, but the traditional holiday actually lasts for 23 days. The holiday starts on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month on the calendar, then ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the following year on the lunar calendar.

Malaysia is a multicultural country and also an incredibly diverse country, containing many different ethnicities languages, and religions. According to the (department of statistics Malaysia’s official portal, 2020), of the population 29.7 million of citizens in Malaysia, 69% of the population belong to the bumiputra ethnic group. This leads to Hari Raya Aidilfitri or known locally as Hari Raya Puasa is the biggest new year celebration in Malaysia. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated on the first day of the tenth month in the Islamic calendar. It marks the end of the Ramadan month, Ramadan is a period of sober repentance for Muslims, for approximately 30 days of fasting from dusk till dawn every single day.

I conducted a google survey with three different respondents that share the same cultural background but different upbringings, all of the respondents share the same age group and are all current university students. Conducting this survey gives me a chance to have a better understanding of the culture from their personal point of view. My first respondent is Inayyah, she comes from a Chinese and Muslim background her father is a Malay Muslim and her mother is a Christian Chinese. My second respondent is Alesya, she comes from a strict Malay Muslim household. My third respondent is Sarah, her father is Caucasian while her mother is a Malay Muslim. I prepared a set of ten questions for them to answer, and to give their personal opinions on the matter of traditions and cultural holidays.

Cultural importance is important for future generations to maintain traditions passed down by our ancestors and how different religions play a part in maintaining cultural traditions. Personally, my parents are both raised as Chinese Buddhists. My religion was not always my first priority as I was growing up, my parents never enforced strict traditions for me to comply with. In my household only my mother prepared and performed religious prayers, I and my siblings rarely initiate participation in religious events, the occasions that we were involved in were sole because we were ordered to by my parents. My parents believe that I and my siblings are responsible for our own beliefs and never pressured us to follow any strict Buddhist culture, as I was given religious freedom to venture into any religion. In contrast to my respondents in Malaysia, Muslims are obliged to keep their religion if they are born into a Muslim family. There is a sharia law that acts as a code for living that all Muslims must adhere to.

My respondents come from different Muslim family backgrounds, Sarah and Inayyah are from interracial families only one of their parents grew up as a Muslim, and Alesya’s parents both are Malays that grew up with strict religious beliefs. For my question, I asked,” is Hari Raya Aidilfitri the only traditional holiday they celebrated” Sarah answered her family occasionally hosts Christmas dinners for her father’s side of the family and niyyah also celebrated Chinese New Year and Christmas as her mother’s side of the family is Christian Chinese. Alesya celebrates Hari Raya Eidul Adha also known as Hari Raya Haji. It is a festival to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s complete faith and trust in God through his willingness to sacrifice his son prophet Ismail as a sacrifice. Another question I also asked was, “during the month of Ramadan, do you, if you fast, comply with every rule of fasting or do you allow yourself leniency.” The first respondent Sarah stated that she allows herself leniency sometimes because fasting from dusk till dawn is still very challenging for her and she has yet to fully commit to it. my second respondent niyyah explained that because she currently lives with her mother she is not religious. She has stopped fasting for the past four-five years, but when she does fast it is only for half of the day. Alesya complies with every rule of fasting as she was raised to follow the ways of Prophet Muhammad growing up by her family.

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We all have preparations in order to celebrate the new year’s, in my family it is a tradition for us to go shopping for new clothes to wear while celebrating the new year’s. the new clothes symbolize a new start to celebrate the start of the year. my mother and my grandmother will be awake at the crack of dawn hurrying to the market to buy all of the ingredients for the big reunion dinner we have every year, where all of our immediate family have dinner together. asked my interviewees, “What are your usual preparations for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.” All of them had similar answers as they would prepare food and shop for appropriate attire to wear for the celebration. As a Chinese Malaysian, I was fortunate enough to be invited to several open houses hosted by my Malay friends to experience the traditional way of celebrating Hari Raya. In my experience of attending open houses hosted by Chinese families, I noticed that most of the food they offered was not traditionally Chinese. The food that is usually offered is usually fried chicken with curry chicken and other finger foods, as it is more convenient to prepare in large portions and suitable for a wide selection of people. During the occasion where I attended open houses hosted by Malay families, home-cooked authentic Malay cuisine was served. There was rendang, satay, ketupat, and many more mouthwatering dishes.

On the first day of celebrating Chinese New Year, my family and I will visit my immediate family during the daytime. Customarily, we are needed to prepare gift baskets for the families of the houses we are visiting. Red packets are prepared by the adults that are married. in the Islamic culture, green packets also known as “Duit Raya” is given out to guests and family members. Green packets are considered as an act of charity based on the Islamic concept of zakat. I asked my respondents “what are the traditions your family follows during the holiday” niyyah and Olesya both attend the morning Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers at a nearby mosque. All of them visit important families and dress in color-coordinated attire to take family pictures. Next, off I asked the respondents “what is your favorite part of the holiday” they all answered almost identical responses. Their response included being able to receive green packets and being in the company of family members while indulging in delicious home-cooked food. I especially agree with the responders as my those are also my favorite part of celebrating the holiday.

In my family, having meals together at the dining table together are the small moments of the day I cherish the most. Luckily my mother is a culinary comforter, she is able to turn basic ingredients into soothing meals that make all your workday stress melt away. I grew up eating traditional Chinese cuisine and is a necessity to have my weekly fix of rice. Despite my mother cooking the finest Chinese dishes, there is, my brothers had the audacity to dislike any type of Chinese food. Their taste buds had been accustomed to the western style of food. I take pity on my mother when she Is trying to cook dishes to accommodate their pickiness. I personally find it really bad as they are not interested in their Chinese heritage and traditional food. I could address my brothers as white-washed Chinese. I asked my interviewees “Do u think family traditions are important to a child’s well-being?” all my respondents agreed to the question stating that it is important to educate the child the history of their heritage and, it lets them have a sense of where they come from and to have a sense of pride for their heritage. Family traditions give teens and children a sense of security. Each family’s unique cultural and religious heritage is one of a kind, it links to things that are bigger than ourselves and it also gives us an understanding of our personal identity.

Recently I read an article named “ (Mohd Shazali Md Sharif) written by Mohd Shazali Md. Sharif , Mohd Salehuddin Mohd Zahari and Norazmir Md Nor. It covers why the younger generations are not learning and practicing how to make traditional food. My brothers can be the prime candidates for the issue. They never had an interest in knowing how our traditional cuisine is and how is made. A quote by Alton Brown (brown, “Culinary tradition is not always based on fact. Sometimes it’s based on history, on habits that come out of a time when kitchens were fuelled by charcoal”.) The article highlighted it as “through traditional food knowledge, it enables the individual to continue and practice and transfer or pass down knowledge to the young generation in order to ensure the food tradition continue and evolve”. Commonly, both parents are working nine to five-jobs in the current society, and they seldom practice or introduce traditional food to their children due to the lack of time and work commitments. As a result, the parents end up eating outside or dining in restaurants or making a delivery order. The lifestyle indirectly affects the community of traditional food and practices.

Passing down traditions that have been practiced by our accentors is very important for our future generations. As Michael Crichton quoted “ (croton, if you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is a part of a tree”)”. As I reflect on my past experiences, I have never had an interest in learning the history and meaning behind my ethnic traditions, it had always seemed like a chore for me to learn the history. I want to make sure my children and their children will always know how our ancestors passed down our traditions. How for the past century we have practiced the traditions. An article written by Emily Tan from February 2020, “ (Tan, 2020)” “lion dancing is a tradition that dates back centuries, it is an art form that was initially performed by the best martial artists”. In her article, she interviewed Christian Lee who is 15 years old Asian-American living in San Francisco. He said that the tradition can also serve as a form of cultural ambassadorship. Lastly, I asked my interviewees “as a gen z, will you host the holiday any differently from your parents or will you be sticking to the old ways that have been passed down” niyyah stated that if she were to host the holiday with her own family, she will definitely stick to the tradition of visiting grandparents and important relatives as she realized how meaningful these bonds are. Alesya explained that she will be sticking to the old ways that have been passed down because it’s her family’s tradition and it is easier that way. As I am still learning the traditions and holidays of my heritage I will try my best to keep all of my family traditions. Along with my children, I will educate them about their heritage, and teach them to be proud of it too.

Writing this article has given me a more detailed understanding of Islamic culture and the different perspectives of people with different cultural backgrounds. Together with the similarities, we shared how we celebrate traditional holidays. Furthermore, it also made me a grasp on how important traditions are to be passed down to the younger generations. Having family traditions gives me a sense of home and helps me feel grounded. Wherever I go, I will always have my heritage with me.


  1. Mohd Shazali Md Sharif, M. S. (n.d.). ‘factors that restrict young generation to practice Malay traditional festival foods.’ Department of Statistics Malaysia official portal. (2020, July 15 ). Retrieved from the department of statistics Malaysia portal:, m. (n.d.). ‘if you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is a part of a tree”’.’ if you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is a part of a tree”’.
  2. Tan, E. (2020, February). ‘how gen z is preserving the long-standing traditions of the linear new year. Retrieved from NBC news’: ‘’ brown, a. (n.d.). ‘“Culinary tradition is not always based on fact. Sometimes it’s based on history, on habits that come out of a time when kitchens were fuelled by charcoal”’. ‘“Culinary tradition is not always based on fact. Sometimes it’s based on history, on habits that come out of a time when kitchens were fuelled by charcoal”’.

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