Malaysia is a multi ethnic country having diverse religious and cultural practices. All the ethnic groups celebrate their respective festivals and therefore throughout the year Malaysia remains bright and colorful due to the celebration of different kinds of festivals. Some of these festivals are public holidays.
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HARI RAYA HAJI is celebrated by the Muslims on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim calendar.
This is an occasion celebrated marking the conclusion of the annual Hajj - the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, when the pilgrims are given the name of Haji for men and Hajjah for women. Thanksgiving prayers are offered in the mosques. An animal is sacrificed whose meat is distributed among the relatives and the poor.
CHINESE NEW YEAR is celebrated on the
first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and this is
the most important annual festival for the Chinese community. Each year is named after one of the 12 animals according to the Chinese Zodiac. Houses are cleaned and decorated to prepare for the big day. On this day, prayers and offerings are made, new clothes are bought and different kinds of food are prepared. New Year cards are exchanged between friends and relatives. Lion dances and small fireworks are also arranged. Ang-Pow or red packet containing money is given out to children and elderly.
AWAL MUHARRAM is also celebrated by Muslims. This day symbolizes two happy events in a Muslim's life. The start of Muslim year or calendar, Muharram, coincides with Prophet Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Medina on the first of Muharram in 622AD. To signify this occasion, Muslims attend to various religious activities, spiritual singing, and religious meeting throughout the country.
CHAP GOH MEI means the 15th night of Chinese New year in Hokkien dialect. It is celebrated with prayers and offerings to mark the end of the Chinese New Year. Houses are again brightly decorated with lights for the last day of the celebration.
THAIPUSAM is celebrated by Hindus on the tenth month of the Hindus calendar. It is believed on this day the stars, Pusan and Brihaspati are united into one. It is a celebration of the birthday of Lord Subramanian, also known as Lord Muruga, the youngest son of Lord Shiva. Before this day, Hindus usually prepare themselves by fasting, dieting on certain food and maintaining self-discipline.
WESAK DAY is celebrated by Buddhists which marks three momentous events in Buddha's life - his birthday, enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana. The celebration begins at dawn when devotees gathering at the temples to meditate on the Eight Precepts.
HARVEST FESTIVAL is celebrated by the Kadazan of Sabah each May with thanksgiving dedicated to the rice gods. Agricultural shows, exhibitions, cultural programs, buffalo races, and other traditional games are held.
HARI GAWAI is celebrated by the Dayaks or Ibans of Sarawak for a week marking the end of the paddy harvesting season and the beginning of the new planting season. There is singing, dancing and considerable drinking of tuak or rice wine in the local longhouses.
HUNGRY GHOSTS FESTIVAL is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month by Buddhists and Taoists. Bundle of joss sticks, paper hell money, and food placed on the street corner and roadsides are burnt to appease the dead spirit from entering their home and cause disturbance in their household.
MOON CAKE - LANTERN FESTIVAL is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese Lunar Calendar. This is a historical festival rather than a religious one. It marks the successful rebellion against the Mongol ruler dated back in 14th century China.
HARI RAYA PUASA is celebrated by the Muslims which signifies the end of the fasting season of Ramadan for a month. The celebration is determined by sighting of the new moon. This is the most significant celebration for the Muslims.
Other festivals celebrated with great pomp, grandeur and enthusiasm in Malaysia are DIWALI and CHRISTMAS.
Worldtravel4indians.com provides information on Festivals of Malaysia and different types of Festivals around the world.