This Raya, What Colour Are You Wearing? — The Colour Matching Culture in Malaysia

Raya is kambing soon! In Malaysia, it is known that we love to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri by matching the colour of outfits with family members. Therefore, it is not unusual to see all members in one family wearing the same colour of traditional Malay costumes during Raya, especially on the first day Raya. 

warna sedondon - TNB Raya TVC

In TNB’s Raya Commercial, Tok Wan’s families matching the colour of their outfits with their cars.

Have you ever wondered how this culture started?

What’s for sure is that this culture is not inherited from ancient tradition, nor associated with religious beliefs. There are a lot of different sayings, we have gathered and sorted out all possibilities and came out with a conclusion that we think makes more senses. Fortunately, based on our findings, we have excluded the possibility of it being a marketing scam.

“It’s more related to our balik kampung tradition during Aidilfitri. Back then, averagely one family have more than 4 kids. When all the relatives gathered, the old uncles and aunties confused which family each child was from. So, we started wearing the same colour among family members,” said one of our interviewee. 

tnb - raya commercial

When your family members are wearing the same colour of outfits, you can easily spot where they are in a relative’s open house. So, you wouldn’t miss out anyone when you need to go.

He continued to share, “at first (the colour matching practice) was just to help parents to track where are their children among all kids in the gathering, later on, my big family started to organise games and competitions to spice up the festival. We hosted fun events like treasure hunts and balas pantun, each family would play as a unit, and the winning families would get the gifts!”

Now, most families do not have so many children anymore, but colour matching for outfits among family members remains a tradition for Aidilfitri celebrations in Malaysia. “I think this added the final touch to the celebration. If my family were not wearing the same colour during the festival, I’d feel incomplete. It seems like we are not heading in the same direction, and we don’t love each other enough,” shared another interviewee.

However, there’s a respondent who disagreed on that point of view. “My family likes to wear different colours so that the celebration is more colourful and vibrant. There’s one year, all of us coincidently wear the same colour, it became a fun and meaningful memory for us. But we still prefer wearing different colours to showcase each person’s personalities. I think cherishing the uniqueness and differences of one another makes us a harmonious family.”

We have posted a pop-up poll on our Instagram account and found out most people still prefer to match the colour for Raya celebration! Besides, this culture has influenced all Malaysian over the years, and other races have also started practising colour-matching for outfits during their traditional festivals.

“My mother, all my sisters, and my sisters’ daughters will wear the same colour sarees on Deepavali. I think this is a good practice because it involves a lot of discussions and preparations together with all family members, which bring us closer to one another,” shared by one of our Indian respondents.

A ready-to-wear cheongsam retailer shared to us, “as usual, our sales peak whenever Chinese New Year is approaching. Recent years, we noticed more families are buying the same colour or gradient shades of cheongsam with their family members.”

Regardless of what is the planning of your outfits, we sincerely wish you a happy and warm Hari Raya Aidilfitri! For those who are travelling back to hometown, make sure you drive safely. We hope everyone enjoys the holidays with your dearest family members.

Selamat Hari Raya!


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