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|Regions with significant populations|
| Malaysia (Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak)|
Thailand (western part of Southern Thailand)
Indonesia (Langkat regency in North Sumatra)
Myanmar (southern Myanmar)
|Kedah Malay, Baling Malay, Malaysian, Thai, Burmese, English.|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Malaysian Malays, Thai Malay, Burmese Malays, Chulias|
Kedahan Malay (Malay: Melayu Kedah, Jawi: ملايو ﻗﺪﺡ) or commonly known as Orang Utara is a sub-group of Malays that is native to northern Malaysia (in the states Kedah, Penang, and Perlis as well northernmost parts of Perak) and in southernmost parts of Thailand (in the provinces of Phuket, Trang, and Satun) and Burma (in Mergui Archipelago). They are among the earliest settlers in the Malay peninsula. Kedahan Malays comprised at least 15% of the total Malaysian Malay population.
According to history, Kedah was very popular among Arabian traders. Thus, this has led to interracial marriages between Arabs and Malays. Due to Arabic influences in the Kedahan Malay language, some Kedahan Malay are of Arab descent. However some of the Kedahan Malays that resided on the island-state of Penang might have Indian and/or Chinese blood and some who lived in Thailand might have Thai blood.
Kedah Valley is an area where the majority inhabitants are Kedahan Malays. The valley covered the Satun province of Thailand and the three northern states of Malaysia (Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang) with at least an area of 25,908 km square.
Nowadays, most Kedahan Malays known themselves as Orang Utara or "People Of The Northern Region" instead of Kedahan Malay since that they resided the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. So are their language, which is called Pelat Utara or Northern Dialect.
The Kedahan Malays have their own unique variety of Malay known as Kedah Malay or Pelat Utagha (northern dialect) as known by its native speakers. It is related to other varieties of Malay spoken in the peninsular but has its own unique pronunciation and also vocabulary. Kedahan Malay language can be divided into several sub-dialects, namely Kedah Persisiran (standard) or Kedah Hulu, Kedah Utara, Perlis-Langkawi, Penang and some others (sub-dialects spoken in Satun and Southern Myanmar). For instance instead of using kamu to denote as 'you', hang (English pronunciation: hung) is used instead and cek for 'i/me' instead of aku in other Malay varieties in the peninsular. Besides proper Kedah Malay, another variety of Malay spoken is Baling Malay, which is distinct from Kedah Malay and more closely related to varieties of Malay spoken in Southern Thailand and East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Kedah Malay is considered distinct enough to have its own ISO code that is meo.
Customs and culture
Kedahan Malay shares the same customs and traditions with other Malay in Peninsular Malaysia. The only thing that make them different is just their spoken dialect. Many aspects of Kedahan Malay culture includes:
- Mek Mulung
- Mak Yong Kedah
- Boria (theatre): The most famous Kedahan culture of Indian origin. It is quite similar to a musical theater. The theater used a fully Kedahan Malay language while the song used a mix of standard Malay and Kedahan accent or sometimes, a fully standard Malay. This theater is said to be created after the hybrid of Malay and Indian culture in Penang.
- Inai dance
- Canggung dance: A dance originating from Perlis but also very popular in Kedah and Penang
- Berendul (pronunciation: be-ghen-doi): A group of men would sing traditional Kedahan folk songs to a newborn baby in celebration of birth of the child.
- Silat Kuntau Tekpi: A Silat Melayu style that was founded by Panglima Taib bin Wan Hussain who was a Panglima (Palace Warrior-General) of the empire of Kedah. It is also a 'sister-art' of silat styles that stemmed from Panglima Tok Rashid, including Silat Kalimah and Silat Cekak.
- Silat Cekak: A Silat Melayu style that was founded by Ustaz Hanafi, a Kedahan Malay but is now popular throughout Malaysia and to some extent in Indonesia as well.
In popular culture
- Raja Bersiong
- Rempit V3
- Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
- Cun (2011)
- Cinta Anak Kedah
- Dari Kodiang ke Kolumpo.
Notable Kedahan Malay
- Abdul Rahman Abbas, current Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang
- Abdul Hamid Omar, last Lord President of the Supreme Court from 1989 to 1992 and Chief Justice of Malaysia from 1989 to 1994
- Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia (Kedahan Malay of Chinese and Arab descent)
- Anwar Ibrahim, political detainee and opposition leader
- Askora Asbar, Malaysian and International Ping Pong star
- Azizan Abdul Razak, Chief Minister of Kedah from 2008 to 2013
- Surin Pitsuwan, 12th Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) , Thailand Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2001 
- Farid Kamil, Malaysian actor
- Bront Palarae, Malaysian actor, screenwriter, director and producer
- Janna Nick, Malaysian actress and singer (Kedahan Malay with Chinese, Thai and Indo/Pakistani descent)
- Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, Chief Justice of Malaysia from 2003 to 2006
- Hani Mohsin, Malaysian actor and TV host
- Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, Chief Justice of Malaysia from 2000 to 2003
- House of Jamalullail (Perlis), the ruling royal family of the state of Perlis (Kedahan Malay with Arab descent)
- Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysian 4th Prime Minister (Kedahan Malay with Indian descent)
- Mahdzir Khalid, current Minister of Education, Chief Minister of Kedah from 2005 to 2008
- Zaki Azmi, Chief Justice of Malaysia from 2008 to 2011
- Mazlan bin Ahmad, famous Malaysian comedian
- Mohamed Azmi Mohamed, Lord President of the Supreme Court from 1968 to 1974
- P. Ramlee, Malay film actor (Kedahan Malay maternal ancestry, Acehnese father)
- Sharifah Rodziah Syed Alwi Barakbah, Spouse of the 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia
- Syed Ahmad bin Syed Mahmud Shahabuddin, Chief Minister of Kedah from 1967 to 1978 and Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Malacca from 1984 to 2004
- Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, the 7th richest corporate figure in Malaysia (Kedahan Malay with Arab descent)
- Syed Sheh Hassan Barakbah, Lord President of the Supreme Court from 1966 to 1968, 3rd Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang from 1969 to 1975 and President of the Dewan Negara from 1959 to 1969
- Syed Sheh Shahabudin, 2nd Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang
- Tunku Abdul Rahman, 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia, also regarded as "Father of Independence" and member of the Kedah royal family (Kedahan Malay with Thai descent)
- Zulkifli Ismail, Malaysian actor
- Abdul Hamid Mohamad, Chief Justice of Malaysia from 2006 to 2008
- Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, a political cartoonist famously known as Zunar and a 2016 Cartooning for Peace Prize winner.
- Akhyar Rashid, Malaysian footballer.
- Kedah Wayang kulit Seri ansun
- Malays (ethnic group), the ethnic group located primarily in the Malay peninsula, and parts of Sumatra and Borneo
- Malay race, a racial category encompassing the people of South East Asia and sometimes the Pacific Islands
- Malaysian Malays, a constitutionally defined group of Muslim Malaysian citizens
- Malays in Singapore
- Malay Indonesian, ethnic Malays in Indonesia
- Thai Malays, ethnic Malays in Thailand
- Sri Lankan Malays, an ethnic group in Sri Lanka of Indonesian ancestry
- Cape Malays, an ethnic group or community in South Africa
- Cocos Malays, the predominant group ethnic group of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, now part of Australia
- Overseas Malays, people of Malay ancestry living outside Malaysia and neighbouring ethnic Malay home areas
- Burmese Malays
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