The Mah Meri’s ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual

Women of the Mah Meri tribe wearing a traditional clothes before preforming traditional dances on Pulau Carey beach.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe walk towards the beach to begin the ceremony – the Hari Moyang Puja Pantai festival to celebrate the spirit of their ancestors.

An altar erected during lowtide for the ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual at a beach in Pulau Carey. In the background is the Straits of Malacca which is one of the busiest straits in the world.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe and tourists waiting near the beach for low tide in Carey Island.

Members of the Mah Meri community perform traditional music during the ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual, which is to celebrate their ancestors.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe apply make-up and make final preparations on the beach before performing a traditional dance.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe perform a dance at Pulau Carey.

Faces of the Mah Meri people in Pulau Carey before the ritual starts.

The altar erected near the beach for the ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual.

A shaman from the Mah Meri tribe on a shrine erected for the ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual.

A Mah Meri shaman stands on the beach during the Hari Moyang Puja Pantai festival at Pulau Carey.

A Mah Meri tribesman siting while in a trance as the spirit of a Moyang enters his body.

A portrait of a Mah Meri tribesman with a wooden mask which he wears when he performs the ‘Main Jo-oh’ dance.

Smoke from the burning incense to summon spirits.

A Mah Meri Tok Batin (village elder) during the ‘Puja Pantai’ festival.

Mah Meri tribesman mid-dance during the festival.

Mah Meri men assisting a fellow tribesman who was in a trance, during the ritual.

The ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual, viewed from afar.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe leave the beach after the ‘Puja Pantai’ ritual ends.

Will this tradition be maintained by the younger generation so that it can be passed on to their children or will it be lost through modernisation?

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