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Monday, July 22, 2013

Traditional Malay Foot Wash

Ever heard of a traditional Malay footwash? Me neither until I spotted these cute urns of water that were placed at all the entrances to the chalets at the village resort where we spent our last vacation. A hotel staff explained that washing one's feet before entering a Malay home is a custom that is still practiced in some of the rural kampongs (villages).
A ladle made from the shell of a coconut is used to scoop water from an urn filled with collected rainwater.
Makes sense too, 'cos in the rural kampongs, the ground is not paved and tends to be muddy especially when it rains. Imagine trudging in all that icky mud! To the Muslims, of which all Malays are, prayers are sometimes conducted in the living room and a soiled floor makes it unsuitable for prayers to be carried out.

A traditional Malay house is perched on stilts and the urn is placed next to the ladder for visitors to wash their feet.
image credit - http://alfandidigitalartwork.syedalfandiphotography.com
A word of advice - please remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home (mine included!). Generally, we Malaysians live in a shoes-off environment. For me, this is not a cultural thing but for a good reason -  a research says 87% of the dirt found in our homes is tracked in and you never know where your feet have been.  Eeeeewww! I'm OCD when it comes to clean floors and I mop mine daily! Yes! Every single day!

15 comments:

My Journey With Candida said...

I make everyone take their shoes off before they come into my house. Some ignore me and it just make me pretty angry.

Camille said...

I prefer it if people would take their shoes off when coming into my house but they never seem to and it really bothers me. They could be tracking in all types of nasty things!

Camille said...

By the way, I gave you an award. :) http://www.asortafairytale.com/2013/07/the-versatile-blogger-award-x4.html

mail4rosey said...

Very interesting facts to know! I'd like to be a no-shoes house but hubby wouldn't go for it so it'd be difficult to enforce w/the kids. I pick my battles (and know which ones I wouldn't win).

Faythe M.A said...

great information. we have a no shoes policy too. esp when children come to visit, they get dirty enough ;D! Faythe @GrammyMouseTails

craftyspices said...

Oh yes I agree, we have a no shoe and I ask people to please take shoes off before entering, some people don't like it and kind of look at me strange but hey I have 2 little ones on the floor ...

Have you seen our "Prints" and joined our Linky Party : http://www.craftyspices.com/hops/wwhop

alissa apel said...

I like your policy! My husband hates walking around without shoes on, and refuses to do so. I have to live with the Eeeeeeeewwww!

Kathryn Lavallee said...

I REALLY want a Malay Foot Wash now!

stevebethere said...

Very interesting that footwash relaxed me just reading about it LOL

Have a toetastic week ;-)

kristi said...

That's an interesting custom. I agree with you about taking shoes off in the house. I sweep mine daily. It's a nice feeling when the floors are clean.

Kristin Aquariann said...

Fascinating! I rarely go completely barefoot.

♥ aquariann
Featured Photo: Delaware State Fair Dance Mob

Alicia - OneMotherHen said...

It's nice to walk barefoot in the house and not feel grit beneath my feet. I am not too fussed about shoes off though in my home, but happy to take them off at someone elses :)

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families said...

This looks interesting. Thank you for sharing.

~ Noelle said...

glad to see i am not the only one... we are also a shoes free house... i hate when people come in with shoes on... who knows what they are tracking in?

Terri Ramsey Beavers said...

I could eat off of your floors if you mop daily lol. I'm a clean freak too. I always love to learn new things about other cultures so this was really interesting. Thanks so much for sharing.

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