The culture and lifestyle in Penang is a rich blend of different the religions and people that have established themselves in this Malaysian state. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of news about Penang, mainly because its capital city, Georgetown has been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Georgetown has become a popular tourist destination due to the multicultural heritage it has gained over the centuries from different colonial powers and people. Regardless of this, the culture and lifestyle in Penang is like that most metropolitans, but unique in its own ways.
The culture of Penang has mostly developed from that of the Straits born Baba-Nyonya or Chinese who descended from the early Chinese immigrants of Penang. Most of the Penang population speak a kind of Chinese-Malay creole and have partly adopted Malay customs. Although Buddhism is the foremost religion in Penang, Islam is the state’s official religion. One of the most interesting aspects of culture in Penang is the festivals. As it is a multicultural state, Penang celebrates a number of festivals like the Chinese’s Dragon Boat Festival, the Muslim celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Thaipusam- a religious event of Hindus and the Hungry Ghost Festival.
A lot of news about Penang relates to the lifestyle of its people. The lifestyle of these people has a distinct identity in regard of crafts, culture, rites, costumes and food. In fact, food is probably the most important part of the Penang lifestyle. The island has a unique cuisine which is a mixture of Chinese, Thai, Malay, Nyonya and Indian. Most coffee shops and restaurants are open 24 hours in the state. Penang has also been recognized for having the Best Street Food in Asia in an edition of Time Magazine in 2004. A large part of the lifestyle also revolves around shopping. There are many large shopping malls on the island and the mainland of Penang. The state also has a buzzing nightlife with numerous discos, bars, pubs, cafes and bistros.