Festivals in Malaysia

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Malaysia's calendar is 1 of the worlds busiest, with almost constant celebrations and festivals.  With its mix of Chinese, Indian, Javanese, Malay and Bugis people its celebrations reflect not only its diverse backgrounds but religions as well. Malaysia is home to Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, Bhuddists and Christians, all of whom help create the complex calender of events. The Malaysian people are renowned for being welcoming to visitors, which allows tourists to get the full experience of Malaysia.


The important festivals among Malaysia's Hindu population are Diwali and Thaipusam. Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated in the seventh month of their calender, which coincides with our October or November. For this festival the homes of Hindu families will be lit up with lights and oil lamps, and families will gather in celebration.  Non-hindu Malaysians often join in the celebration with their Hindu friends, offering them good wishes and partaking in the feasts. Thaipusam spans over a couple of days and includes processions, temples prayers, ritualistic piercings, offerings of fruit and flowers and almost constant drumming and music.  Thaipusam is a true celebration for the senses.


Malaysian Muslims celebrate the festivals of Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji.  Hari Raya Puasa starts right after Ramadan, and is the celebration marking the break of the month-long Muslim fast. The celebration begins in the morning with prayer and temple and then the evening is marked by Muslims lighting up their homes with lights and oil lamps and sharing a feast among family. Hari Raya Puasa comes 2 months and 10 days after Hari Raya Puasa, and is signified with a ritualistic animal slaughter after prayers. The sacrifice is sectioned into 3, with 1 part going to the poor, 1 to friends and the final to family.

Taoist and Bhuddist

The Taoists' and Bhuddhists' most famous celebration is the Chang Festival. This festival marks the death of a famous poet who drowned in a river, at which time the people scoured the river beating drums and tossing rice dumplings covered in bamboo leaves in hopes of convincing the fish to eat the dumplings and not the poet.  The festival commemorates these events by making the dumplings, called Chang, in offering. And in the city of Penang they have a dragon boat race every year to celebrate.


The most important Christian holiday is Christmas, which in Malaysia is celebrated in a religious context and observers will attend masses and have celebrations at home with their families.

The celebrations in Malaysia are quite the treat for tourists, with their bright colors, costumes and foods. If you find yourself in Malaysia be sure to consult the calender to find out which ceremonies you will have the chance to observe.

January 29, 2010 new by robin_8000
February 02, 2010 change by schitti

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