Cristang culture’s 500-year birthday bash

The quaintness of the Portuguese Settlement and its residents were brought to the fore during the grand celebrations from last month marking the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival in Malacca.

The celebrations were organised by the Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Association whose president, Michael Singho, delivered his welcome address in English and the native language of Cristang.

The Chief Minister of Melaka, Haji Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam, was the guest of honour. Accompanied by his wife, he was seen enjoying the cultural performances and entertainment by students of MPEA Academy, Os Pombos, Tunas Group from Portugal, the once famous Trez Amigos, among others.

Revellers dressed in ancient Portuguese costume were seen at the Parade from A’Famosa  to the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir. The youngsters at the event were obviously proud of their heritage and performed with much gusto especially during the parade and on stage.

The celebrations ended with a gala dinner followed by dancing, with the ever popular Branyo taking the lead. Young and old were all on the dance floor having a great time — hoping their traditions and heritage would be carried on for another 500 years!

They landed in the Straits of Malacca in 1511
On wheels, they might even have reached Siam
Youngsters from the Portuguese settlement turned out in force
Reenacting the arrival of the Portuguese by ship
Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Association president, Michael Singho, speaks in Cristang and English
Ali Rustam warmly welcomes guests
Singo is recognised for his efforts to promote Portuguese heritage
Ali Rustam and his wife having a blast
A huge crowd congregates to celebrate this historic event
Kids hip hop on stage
Veterans exemplify the lovely musicality of their tradition
Pretty girls decked in traditional Portuguese costume
And the boys compliment them in equally attractive traditional wear
Portuguese blast from the brass
Heavy metal fan records strangely harmonious music for posterity
Generations of Portuguese settlers live in this country
They have intermarried and put roots in Malaysia
Pictures cannot do justice to how elegantly these women dance
Kids at their un-self-consciously multicultural best

Photography by: Antony D’Cruz