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Kelantan is known as the cradle of Malay culture based on the diverse cultural activities practiced by Kelantanese. Among the popular cultural practices are Dikir Barat, Wayang Kulit Kelantan, Wayang Kulit Melayu, Mak Yong, Menora, Main Puteri, Wau Bulan (kite-flying), Gasing (top-spinning), Silat, bird-singing competition and handicrafts.

Dikir Barat -
Dikir Barat is a style of call and response singing originating in Kelantan . It is well known throughout the Peninsular through local television and performing groups. A Dikir Barat group, which may be of any size, is led by a Tukang Karut who makes up poems and sings them as he goes along. The chorus echoes in response, verse by verse. Dikir Barat groups usually perform during various festive occasions, and their poems are usually light entertainment and may be about any topic, but are not religious in nature. The chorus traditionally consists of all men, but modern groups, especially those performing on television, often include women. Traditionally, no musical instruments are used, the singing being accompanied instead by rhythmic clapping and energetic body movements. Some groups however do use a pair of frame drums or Rebana, a shallow gong and a pair of maracas, for accompaniment.

In a typical Dikir Barat performance, the group will perform two segments. The first is led by the Tok Jogho, who is often the person in charge of the musical training of the group. This first segment usually contains the more complex musical arrangements, and will likely feature the awok-awok singing in unison with the Tok Jogho, as well as responsorial segments of singing, similar to what the Tukang Karut does with the awok-awok, later in the performance. Though musically more complex than what will follow, the first segment is seen as the "low-key" segment of the performance.

The creative leader of a Dikir Barat group is the tukang karut. The tukang karut is usually a former tok juara who was promoted for his talent in creating spontaneous lyrics, for it his ability to do this that establishes the reputation of the dikir barat group. Leading the awok-awok (chorus) during the second and concluding segment of the performance, the tukang karut sings pantuns—most of which are likely original and improvised on the occasion of the performance, but some which may be known to the audience. (Pantuns are an oral poetry form indigenous to the Malay region, and are not exclusive to the dikir barat.) That the dikir barat uses pantuns does not mean that it is a performance of poetry. The tukang karut is expected to compose lyrics that touch upon life, like any poet, but he can also address social issues, legal matters, animal lifestyles, government regulations, and human foibles. The tone can be satirical, sarcastic, or simply humorous, but above all it is expected that it be clever. The tukang karut makes up and sings lyrics on the topic of the performance (which may be pre-established or simply the choice of the tukang karut), and the awok-awok sings the same lyrics back to him. During the performance, members of the awok-awok clap and perform rhythmic body movements, which bring energy to the performance.

--> Dikir budu
--> Anak tupai
Wayang Kulit -
Wayang is an Indonesian and Malay word for theatre. When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. "Bayang", the Javanese word for shadow or imagination, also connotes "spirit." Performances of shadow puppet theater are accompanied by gamelan in Java, and by "gender wayang" in Bali.

Wayang Kulit is a popular shadow puppet show in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, especially those in Kelantan and Terengganu, and also in Johor. The origin of the theatre is still remained a mistery, but it was brought to Malaya hundreds of years ago.

Wayang Kulit is a very unique form of theatre employing the principle of light and shadow. The puppets are crafted from buffalo hide and mounted on bamboo sticks. When held up behind a piece of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as the light source, shadows are cast on the screen.

Wayang Kulit plays are invariably based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, "The Mahabarata" and "The Ramayana". Some of the plays are also based on local happenings (current issues) or other local secular stories. It is up to the conductor or "Tok Dalang" to decide his direction.

The Tok Dalang is the genius behind the entire performance. It is he who sits behind the screen and narrates the story. With a traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and its conventional rhythm, the Tok Dalang modulates his voice to create suspense thus heightening the drama. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil

-->Bunga Andani Bunga Andana
-->Said nak bini
Mak Yong
Mak Yongis traditional dance drama of Kelantan, Malaysia. According to UNESCO, Mak Yong appeared well before the Islamization of the country but was banned in the year 1991 after the Islamic Party of Malaysia took control of the state.

A ritual Mak Yong performance is more elaborate than that staged for entertainment, combining shamanism, feasting the spirits and dance theatre. It reflects the deep, mystical significance of Mak Yong's stories and dances, and its original aim to serve as a conduit to the spirit world. Ritual performances are enacted for spiritual healing, to pay homage to a teacher and for the graduation of a performer.

The late Cik Ning was a leading Mak Yong performer in the 1980s.
Wau Bulan (Moon-Kite)
Wau Bulan is an intricately designed Malaysian moon-kite (normally with floral motifs) that is traditionally flown by men in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. It's one of Malaysia's national symbols, along some others being the Keris and hibiscus. The logo of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is based on this kite. There are many type of Wau in Malaysia. Each with its own speciality. Wau Kuching(cat kite) and Wau Merak(peacock kite) are some of them.

Unique to the east coast state of Kelantan, these waus or giant flying kites are often as big as a man, measuring about 3.5 meters from head to tail. It is the largest kite around and is capable of soaring to great heights. Not surprisingly, kite-flying here is a sport for men as some kites require at least two grown up men to handle. Most of the patterns are based on local flora and fauna like birds, animals and flowers.

It usually fitted with a stringed bow which emits a soft, wailing sound when flown. Each kite is lavishly pasted with colorful designs and a work of art in it its own right. Kites are flown throughout the year but especially after the full moon harvest.

Indeed, so remarkable is the Wau Bulan that the national carrier, the Malaysian Airline System, has chosen it as its logo, symbolizing controlled flight.
Gasing (top-spinning)
The "Gasing" is a traditional game and it is a favorite pastime among the East Coast Malays, especially those in the Kelantan State.

The "Gasing" or top is about the size of a dinner plate and may weigh up to 5.5 kg! Spinning one is hardly child's play as it requires great dexterity and precise timing. After it is launched, the Gasing is quickly scooped off the ground with a thin wooden bat and transferred onto a metal receptacle on a short wooden post. An expert top-spinner can make a perfectly balanced Gasing spin for as long as two hours at a stretch, although, according to local belief, a top will spin for 24 hours or more if a spirit enters it!

GASING The making of a good top begins with the selection a fine piece of hard wood. In Kelantan and Terengganu, a few species are normally used. Even then, only the base and upper roots or the portion where a branch joins the trunk are acceptable.

The wood takes a few weeks to dry naturally. It is then shaped into a discus. For metal top, the edge has to accurately grooved in order to have a good grip of the metal rim. A good top requires perfect symmetry which is an important attribute to longer spinning time. From start to finish, a good giant metallic top might need four to six weeks to complete.
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