Keep the Tradition Alive with Baju Melayu Cekak Musang : In an era with constantly changing trends, it is important for us to step back into our history to appreciate the traditions practised by those before us fully. It is fascinating how culture can be seen and represented everywhere, even in the clothes we adorn ourselves in. Take our Baju Melayu Cekak Musang, for example; the two-piece apparel paired with a kain sampin holds significant meaning up till today.
Worn traditionally by men from Malaysia and its neighbouring country, this style of traditional Malay costume is a classic. The Baju Melayu Cekak Musang originated from Malacca, has a standing collar with 5 dress studs, referred to as kancing in this context, and 3 pockets, all holding significance in their own way.
The 5 kancing that holds the collar upright represent the 5 pillars of Islam, which are, Shahada (belief in Islam), Solat (5 daily prayers), Zakat (charity to those in need), Puasa (fasting during Ramadhan), and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca). The pockets, one positioned at the upper left chest and two at the bottom, represent Islam, Iman (faith in religion), and Ihsan (perfection).
The Baju Melayu Cekak Musang can be worn in both formal and casual settings alike. By tradition, it is coupled with an addition of a kain sampin that is wrapped around the waist. The way it is worn also carries meaning. If the placement of the cloth falls below the knee, it indicates that the person wearing it is married. Single ladies, now you know where to look at in social events!
The accessories usually paired together with the Baju Melayu Cekak Musang include songkok and capal, a type of slipper. Back in those days, the colours they came in played a part in its functionality. Black with gold-embroidered kain sampin meant exclusivity, and white was usually worn at funeral events. Today, colours hold less importance, and you can see it in various colours, yellow, green, pink, you name it! Children can pick out their favourite colours, and parents can pick out matching colours for the whole family.
In modern times, especially in casual settings, the Baju Melayu Cekak Musang can be seen without the kain sampin for ease of comfort and to bear with the intense heat in Malaysia. The matching pants can also be switched up with your favourite pair of jeans or shorts, depending on the dress code. There is no strict rule to it, so play around with your imagination to the fullest and have fun! However much the Baju Melayu Cekak Musang has changed over time, the traditional elements and significance are still very much present today.