1. Religious beliefs and religious taboos
Malaysia is mainly composed of three major ethnic groups, Malay, Chinese and Indian, whose religions, culture and customs are different. More than 90% of Malays believe in Islam, Chinese believe in Buddhism and Taoism, and Indians believe in Hinduism. The Malaysian Constitution stipulates that Islam is the official religion of the state. Muslims in Malaysia are mostly Sunnis.
Malay Muslims are generally devout. They pray five times a day, and those who have been to Hajj for pilgrimage are highly respected. The month of September in mohammedian calendar is Ramadan when Malays generally don’t eat food in the daytime but at night, except for the elderly, valetudinarian, pregnant or outside travelers.
Malays prefer spicy food and don’t eat pork. Malay men usually do not take the initiative to shake hands with the ladies unless the ladies put out the hand first; the left hand is considered to be dirty, so the right hand is used for picking up and delivering the items; it is prohibited to use index finger to point at a person or direct the way, and it is also not allowed to cross the legs, and touch the head of the children with hand; Malays are prohibited from drinking alcohol, and it is Malays’ taboo to print the pattern of animals or portraits on the items. The mosque is a place where Muslims hold religious ceremonies. When it is open to the public, women are required to wear robes and headscarves. Otherwise they will not be permitted to enter the temple.