Discover Baba Nyonya – Nonamu

Discover Baba Nyonya

Have a breath of fresh air and a splash of colour! June 15, 2016 06:42

Air pollution, traffic noises, grey weather… All these are familiar to city-dwellers. The grey weather though, is something that possibly resonates more with Londoners. These are some things that contribute to stress, besides busy work day or sardine packed trains. Unfortunately, these anxiety-provoking factors are unavoidable. However, there is always a way to take a break and distract yourself for a short while. 

When you find yourself needing a little distraction, why not discover a new culture?! If you aren’t already familiar with Malaysia and its landscapes, traditions and colours, you’ll be amazed at how intriguing it could be.

Penang Kek Lok Si Temple night lights

Transport yourself to the world of Baba Nyonya, who once was a subgroup within Chinese communities brimming with glory. They are a colourful bunch, one that’s been influenced through intermarriage and settling locally in South East Asia. Their clothes are colourful and intricate; their food’s amazing you can actually smell the complex aroma just by looking at the pictures. Discover more and be inspired by the stories. Their legacy is worth learning about.

Here at Nonamu, we have created pieces that brings you back to where this all started, with the customs, celebrations and traditions carefully crafted into each designs. Learn more about ‘porcelain of the world’ here or be tempted by the beautiful Porcelain collection of pure silk scarves, hand finished here in England.


Written by Romane Mangeolle and edited by APY

Baba Nyonyas celebrate Chinese New Year February 04, 2016 06:30

With Chinese New Year coming up in less than a week, we would like to share one of the festivities celebrated by the Baba Nyonyas (Peranakan Chinese).

Chinese New Year

The Baba Nyonyas practices the religion and festivities of the Chinese. Therefore, Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration of the year which lasts for 15 days. It is to mark the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. 

Chinese New Year Eve

Eve of the festival is the most important where family reunion is held. The family will come together for a reunion dinner whereby lots of food will be prepared and served. Every family has their own favourites. In a Baba Nyonya family, dishes like Kiam Chai Ark, Jiu Hu Char, Chap Chai T'ng, Kari Kay, Tau Eu Kay, Hong Bak, and more. 

First day

The Chinese believe the New Year has to be greeted with new clothes for a new beginning, the home decorated in all things red to signify prosperity. There are also a few taboos observed on the first day. Sweeping of the floor or washing of clothes is refrained as they fear it might sweep away the good luck and fortune coming into the house. 

Day 8

The custom of praying to the God of Heaven (pai tee kong) is also observed on the eigth day of the lunar year. This day is when they present a thanksgiving feast to the God.

Last day (Day 15)


The last day of celebration is also known as Chap Goh Meh when the nyonyas (young maidens) will throw mandarin oranges into the sea hoping to find a good baba to catch their orange. This is also the day Bubur Cha Cha (image below), a sweet coconut creamed dessert is served to end the festivities in a sweet note.

 Bubur Cha Cha


Porcelain of the world October 18, 2015 10:00

Nyonya PorcelainSeeing as our first collection of silk scarf designs take inspiration from Porcelain; specifically the Peranakan Porcelain or what is more commonly referred to as ‘Nyonyaware’, we thought it will be nice to share some knowledge pertaining Porcelain of the world. 
Porcelain is an art form in the olden days. It still is, or more so now; seeing as such craftsmanship is slowly diminishing. It all started from the Chinese Empire, the period of Eastern Han Dynasty in the third century. The style slowly developed into its very recognizable blue and white, result of the Ming Dynasty legacy.
The Chinese and French porcelain are recognised as the most famous in the world, though there are more country specific porcelain with its own design, materials and signature style. Here, we would like to show you the different types of porcelain from each country and how you can distinguish them. 
(Image on the left : Nyonya Porcelain)

 Porcelain designs from each country can vary. 

  • Chinese porcelain is usually blue and white. The painted designs mostly represent the Chinese landscapes, auspicious dragons and flowers where each element is symbolic.
  • French design shows landscape, fruit, flowers and uses a large palette of bright colours.
      Russian porcelain
  • The Greeks and Roman Gods particularly inspire the Italian style.
  • English and German porcelain mainly includes floral designs of European characteristics with a large palette of colour.
  • Japanese have elaborate landscape decorations in thick gold, red, blue and some other colours.
  • The Oriental culture is very remarkable in the Turkish porcelain, composed of arabesque or Arab alphabet with floral designs and very bright colours.
  • Porcelain figurines are very popular in Spain with mainly graceful women or animals.

Spanish porcelain figurine