Enter the World of Peranakans

An Introduction to the Peranakan World
Southeast Asia has been one of the crossroads of the world since ancient times. Traders from many lands travelled the maritime routes connecting East Asia with the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, and Europe. Consequently, Many foreign merchants settled in Singapore and other pivotal centres along this route, married local women, and contributed to the development of a vibrant, hybrid culture. "Peranakan" comes from a Malay word anak (child), which can be loosely translated as "local-born" (as in born here, but not considered native). Chinese Peranakans are the majority, but there are also Peranakan communities of other ethnicities in Southeast Asia, including Arab, Indian, and Eurasian. Peranakan Chinese are descendants of southern Chinese traders who settled in Southeast Asia. Peranakan Chinese culture (also known as Baba-Nyonya; baba refers to men, nyonya to women) in some respects is deeply rooted in Chinese traditions and values, but is overall a fusion mingled with Southeast Asian and European influences. 

Installed in the former Tao Nan Chinese School (built in 1912), this intimate museum possesses one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Peranakan objects.

The galleries
Gallery 1 | Origins
In Malay, "Peranakan" means "child of" or "born of" and is used to refer to people of mixed ethnic origins. Chinese Peranakans are the majority, but there are also Peranakan communities of other ethnicities in Southeast Asia, including Arab, Indian, and Eurasian.
Gallery 2-5 | Weddings
Explore the many rituals of the traditional Peranakan wedding in these galleries. Learn about the coming of age (Chiu Thau) and exchange of gifts (Lap Chai) ceremonies, and peek inside the wedding chamber. Our extensive collection of Peranakan beadwork - an essential element of the wedding - is displayed here.
Gallery 6 | Language and Fashion
The language and dress of Peranakans were influenced by life in Southeast Asia. Learn about their language - Baba Malay - through our displays, and listen to recordings. Observe how the silhouette of the sarong kebaya, the nyonya’s attire of choice, changed over time with shifting notions of fashion and femininity.
Gallery 7 | Religion
Traditionally, Peranakans embraced a mixture of Daoism, Buddhism, ancestor worship, and folk beliefs. Theys ought to gain the favour of and pacify spirits through rites and offerings. Death rituals and mourning were especially important to show respect for ancestors.
Gallery 8 | Public Life
Many Peranakans played a prominent role in commerce, politics and social affairs in 19th and 20th-century Southeast Asia. Singapore pioneer Tan Kim Seng and former Cabinet Minister Lim Kim San are just two of the many Peranakans who became cultural and philanthropic leaders in Singapore.
Credits: Story

Visit the Peranakan Museum at 39 Armenian St, Singapore 179941

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