Bon Odori is a cultural festival celebrated in Malaysia since 1977 — G25

Thursday 09 June 2022 13:53 MYT

JUNE 9 – We at the G25 are pleased to note that Selangor State is adopting a liberal attitude towards Jakim and the Mufti of Penang towards those who wish to attend and enjoy the Japanese cultural dance celebration by Bon Odori. Although this celebration has its roots in ancient Japanese religious rites, it is a dance that has evolved over the centuries from a social holiday among the Japanese to a festival where families come together, while celebrating the summer harvest. . This holiday is also celebrated by the Japanese in countries where they have close trade, economic and social relations such as Malaysia. Thousands of Malaysians have studied in Japan, intermarried with Japanese people and set up joint ventures with Japanese multinationals. They have learned to appreciate these cultural performances, to watch them and even to participate in them.

In Southeast Asian culture, especially in Java and Thailand, and in some communities in Sabah and Sarawak as well as among our Orang Asli, there are traditional festivals and dances that are celebrated to this day as a heritage. of their ancestral past. Muslims living around these communities love to join in the festivities as it has become part of their normal life.

Unfortunately, religious authorities in some states have banned the do yong and wayang kulit by issuing fatwas which decree that, as they come from ancient Hindu folklore, representing gods and demons, they are haraam so that Muslims can enjoy it for entertainment. Similarly, Muslims are discouraged from celebrating Christmas and Valentine’s Day due to their Christian background.

cultural festival celebrated in Malaysia since 1977. — Photo by Azneal Ishak” onerror=”this.style.display=’none’;” style=”width:100%”/>

Bon Odori is a cultural festival celebrated in Malaysia since 1977. — Photo by Azneal Ishak

Malay Muslims like to be as free as other communities in conducting their social life. Muslims around the world are already divided by sectarian differences in their understanding of religious texts. Let us Malaysian Muslims have the freedom to enjoy the great diversity of cultures and festivals of different races in our beautiful country. The G25 is convinced that among the Malaysian Muslims who participate in these celebrations (which are now purely cultural and not religious), their akidah or faith is not affected in any way. Also for the Bon Odori, this cultural festival has been celebrated in Malaysia since 1977, and it is amazing that after 45 years, it is now banned.

Malaysia’s greatest asset is its racial and religious diversity and with our country’s openness to foreign trade, education and international travel, we benefit from cross-cultural contact with the world. Let us celebrate this unique cultural diversity as a force for national unity, stability and prosperity. G25 appreciates the family orientation of the Bon Odori festival. By bringing families together in a reunion, it is in line with our national aspiration of “Keluarga Malaysia” which is promoted by the Prime Minister

*This is the personal opinion of the author or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of malaysian mail.

Darcy J. Skinner