Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is loud & colourful in Malaysia. One month prior to Chinese New Year, the shopping centres including all homes are all decorated in red & gold to signify prosperity & good luck. Not to mention the upbeat Chinese New Year songs giving the atmosphere a joyful mood.
On the eve of the New Year, we have the `must have’ reunion dinner. This is a huge family gathering feasting together. There will be a rush to get home on time to be with everyone. Unofficially this is the start of the New Year for many. In the evening, most will go to their favourite temple for prayers – for health & more importantly, for wealth.
The festival, which once also marked the beginning of spring in China, begins on the first day of the lunar calendar year, the first day of the new moon, and ends on the 15th day, known as Chap Goh Meh, the last day of the full moon.
It is a tradition to show your respects on the first few days of Chinese New Year to pay a visit to your elders and relatives. In return, the children and the singles will get to receive the red pocket money (Ang Pau). When you are in town over the Chinese New Year, you will probably see a Lion Dance Show at the doorstep of your hotel. If you are visiting Penang, you will get to enjoy the true celebration of Chinese New Year.
Hari Raya Puasa
Muslims celebrate the festival of Aidilfitri – popularly known as Hari Raya Puasa, or simply Hari Raya (Day of Celebration) in Malaysia – to mark the culmination of Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting. Ramadan is a month of fasting for all muslims. The primary purpose of fasting during Ramadan is to remind all Muslims of self-control and submitting to Allah, the holy one.
A few days before Hari Raya , most city dwellers will head home (balik kampong) to be with their loved ones. They will help get the house all neat & tidy for the celebration.
On the first day of Hari Raya, the muslims community will attend the mosque prayers followed by visits to the graves of the departed. Aidil Fitri is celebrated modestly and with gratitude. Muslims meet family members, relatives and friends and ask for forgiveness for past altercations and to strengthen personal ties. All muslims have the tradition of doing an `open house’ to invite family, relatives & friends for a feast. This is a good time to come to Malaysia to get a taste of the Malay customs. The King & the prime minister will usually draw a huge crowd in their `open house’ – it is really open to everyone including tourists.
Deepavali (Diwali) is the main celebration for all hindus around the world. This is usually held in the seventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar, which usually falls in either October or November.
Commonly known as the Festival of Lights, the celebration of Deepavali marks the triumph of good over evil within every human being.
Most Hindu homes will have their houses decorated with colourful lights and ornaments. Friends & relatives will drop by to enjoy the occasion.
A few days before the festival, do visit Brickfields – a district in Kuala Lumpur to experience the true colours of the festive mood of the Hindus here. Brickfields has one of the largest hindu community in Kuala Lumpur.
Christmas is celebrated here in Malaysia like everywhere else in the world; it is a time for family and friends; hope and rejoicing; love and understanding; and giving and forgiving. Great time to visit Kuala Lumpur around this time - Fantastic sale in all the major shopping centres.
Thaipusam falls on a full moon day in the auspicious 10th Tamil month of Thai when the constellation of Pusam, the star of well-being, rises over the eastern horizon.
Thaipusam is really an eye opener for all who has a chance to witness the celebration at Batu caves. It is all frenzy and exciting to see the Hindu Devotees carrying the kavadis up to the main cave. The Kavadis are often carried or pulled by the devotees with chains and ropes anchored in the skin of their backs or chests. It is a spectacular sight and don`t miss it if you are in town.
Infact, you can get a glimpse of the celebration on the eve of Thaipusam - a five-ton silver-chariot bearing Lord Murugan's image and followed by a procession of several thousand people leaves the Sri Mahamariaman temple in downtown Kuala Lumpur, on a 15-kilometre trek to Batu Caves.