PERCEPTIONS AMONG YOUNG BUDHIST ADULTS ON FESTIVAL FOOD AS A TOOL FOR UNITY: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
Introduction: Malaysians create bond among them by sharing festival foods. However, some misunderstandings happen within the races and religious circle while attending the festivals. As each celebration and festival foods have their own uniqueness, it is important to be respectful to one’s tradition and accept the differences. The objectives of this study were to explore the nature of Buddhist festivals and festival foods and to assess the opinion regarding festival food as a tool of unity. Methods: This study was conducted as a qualitative study where data were collected through telephone call interview to twelve respondents who are selected using purposive sampling. Results: The finding of the study presented the elements of Buddhist festivals and their festival food and highlighted how knowledge of cultures could influence attitude and practice in tolerating other races and religions. Five themes emerged from this study were 1) Buddhist festivals, 2) the variation in food selection during festival, 3) festival food integration, 4) perception of festival food as a tool of unity and 5) tolerance towards other races or religions. Conclusion: This study highlighted that it is important to be well-educated about others’ traditions and cultures to reach a better understanding and maintain the harmony of the community.
KEYWORDS: Buddhist, Festival Food, Multi-cultural, Malaysia