Brunei

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South East Asia >> Brunei >> Culture of Brunei

Culture of Brunei

Brunei’s culture is similar to Malay culture - the language is Malay, the lifestyle, the customs and traditions, the beliefs- even the food is Malay in origin. Islam has been a powerful influence in moulding Brunei’s culture - in fact, dress codes, social conduct and cultural traditions are all governed by Islamic tenets. Brunei’s government even has a separate department responsible for preserving traditions and rituals (all Islamic) and for setting down rules on what’s right and what’s not in behaviour and protocol. Although there are Chinese and other minorities in Brunei, they tend to follow their own traditions and customs only in very isolated pockets; the overwhelming predominance remains that of Malay culture.

Brasswork was at one time one of the best known of Brunei’s traditional crafts; artisans would produce some of the region’s most intricately worked cannons, household items and the like, in both brass and silver. Both forms of metalwork were largely patronised by the Sultans of Brunei, but with the collapse of the Sultanate these art forms declined. Silverwork, however, escaped obscurity - you’ll find lots of fine examples in art and antique shops. Other than that, Brunei is famed is weaving fabrics in traditional designs, both in silk and cotton.


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