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Malaysia has several really interesting festivals and when you travel around, make sure you get the dates of some of the festivals so you can enjoy them to the fullest. Although Malaysia is a Muslim country it is tolerant to other religions. While you are traveling in Malaysia it is very well possible you will join in one or another festival. Thaipusam Thaipusam is the first Indian festival in the year in Malaysia. Although the festival is celebrated all over the country, the best places to enjoy the festival are the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and around the Waterfall temple in Penang. Thaipusam always take place in January, early February as the festival follows the Lunar calendar. During the period of Thaipusam, it might be hard to find a hotel so be either a day or two in advance in Penang of KL. Kuala Lumpur, never a good city to cycle around will be even busier in the area of the Batu Caves and in Penang much of Georgetown will be packed. Best advise is to leave your bicycle in the hotel and either walk to the sites or take some public transport. Chinese New year (CNY) Chinese New Year is the first Chinese festival in Malaysia in the year. It is one of the most important events for the Chinese people all around the world. Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20, because the Chinese follow the Lunar Calendar. Chinese will hang outside the house red lanterns usually a week before the the actual Chinese New Year is celebrated. The house will be cleaned and new clothes be bought. Some families and shops will have lion dances to clean the house from evil spirits.
Chinese New Year (CNY) can be best followed in Penang where about 50% of the population is Chinese. When you are in Malaysia around this time. It is an incredible important festival for all Chinese world wide. you will see many Chinese visiting the graveyards bringing the gifts for the ancestors.). He explained to me the grave belonged to a niece of him who had died in the early 1970's due to cancer. The family will visit the graves of the ancestors. I was walking around while I saw a family cleaning up a small and old grave a bit in the back. This little town is primarily Chinese and it was quite an even to experience how the Hokkien population celebrated their Chinese New on the 8th day of the festival. It is no problem to visit a cemetery during this period and talk to people. Offers can include paper money and burning incense as the believe is that the smoke rises to the afterworld and is useful for the ancestors. While Chinese New Year can be celebrated with festivities. dragon dances and more. No one of her direct relatives anymore alive since the early . The Chinese New Year is a good moment to learn more about the Chinese culture in Malaysia. even though it is an important family event. She has only been 17 years of age. Some years ago I was guest in Kuala Kurau. wine and fruits. You might hear wonderful stories. Chinese Opera. sweep it and offer to the ancestors. Ching Ming is to be celebrated within the family only. Part of the family moved to another grave while I talked to a man. One I heard was touching. Ching Ming Graveyard in Seri Manjung during Ching Ming Ching Ming is the festival of remembering the ancestors. In 2009 there were many different performances including a concert. Families bring food and drinks like rice. In 2009 most of the heritage part of Georgetown was reserved for all kinds of activities from the different Chinese groups (Hokkiens. Hakka etc.
Independence Day Malaysia's Independence day is celebrated on August 31. Muslims are not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset. In other cities there will be similar event take place. Ramadan and Hari Raya Malaysia is a Muslim country. Every year. The Merdeka starts off with a grande parade. a free open air concert is held on the eve of Merdeka (independence) to jumpstart the celebrations. the month of fasting. It's very easy to find a nice place to find out how they celebrate the end of the Ramadan and how the Chinese and Indian join them in the celebrations. However. They're worth to remember. Every year the Muslims celebrate the Ramadan. Chinese and Indians are a little more reserved with eating in public not to offend the Muslims. visit the graveyards and hear the stories people can tell you. Chinese and Indian restaurant are normal open.1980's and no one would be able to take care of the grave. . For cyclists on the east coast this might be they have to organize their food in advance as the Muslim restaurant (and even some hotels) will be closed during the day. But his family came every year from Kedah (about 200km north of Seri Manjung) to clean the grave and pray. The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to sample a variety of food special made for the Ramadan. These events will take place in Kuala Lumpur. You will not be disappointed! The last day of the Ramadan is called Hari Raya and it's a great day to celebrate this important day for the Muslim population with some Muslims. If you have the chance.
It is Traditionally. In Malaysia the festival is mostly celebrated with the family. It is a 5 days festival usually held between October 13 and November 14. and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. It is believed that taking a bath before sunrise. Most Christians homes are decorated with festoon and coloured lights and the Christmas tree is a must! Young Christians go carolling days before Christmas day to usher in the Yuletide spirit. when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent to taking a bath in the holy Ganges. the actual day of the festivities is the third day.Moon festival The Moon festival takes place in early October. It is also known as the "Mid-Autumn Festival". Churches hold midnight masses on the eve of Christmas. on this day. The best way to experience Deepavali is to be with some Indian friends. Other parts of the celebration can be lion dances. As most of the Indians in Malaysia are Tamils from the south. They light small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams / rangolis outside their homes. Deepavali Deepavali is the festival of light though the most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light". it is a great festival to get in touch with the local Indian culture. Christmas The birth of Christ is celebrated by Christians in Malaysia in the true traditional style. The festival is . the best way to visit Indian families. Although Deepavali is not an extravert festival as Thaipusam. especially in Penang where the population is more Chinese. eating moon cake. And as said. Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon. have a fragrant oil bath and wear new clothes. Except the Chinese New Year there is no more important festival for the Chinese population world wide. It is a National Holiday in many countries including Malaysia. Hindus wake up well before dawn. as early as two in the morning. In China it is one of the National Holidays and therefore very busy. Many households will have extensive dishes prepared and will visit relatives.
However. bathes and gets dressed before dawn. Britain. Only then are lamps lit. for urban families. Tamils celebrate this festival around the second week of January. Therefore. Japan. they assemble around a display of fruits and flowers. National Water Festival Water resource plays an important role in the socio-cultural and economic development of the Malaysian society. wearing their best clothes. water resource in whatever form should be protected. Penang International Dragon Boat Festival The Penang's first Dragon Boat Race was held in 1956 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Municipality of George Town. it is . Thaiponggol is a harvest festival celebrated out of season because it is fixed in the Hindu calendar. Macau. Ponggol is the presentation of the cooked harvested grain to the sun at dawn. Being one of the major festivals of the community. valued and utilized to the maximum. This is done without the use of any form of light. farmers rise and cook some of the newly harvested grain. an economic. Norway. Thaiponggol In Malaysia. this ritual has been adapted to their own living conditions. in 1979. The Pesta races was originally confined to participation from the local teams such as teams from Government Department.celebrated on a national scale in Malaysia and Christians hold "open house" to entertain their friends and colleagues. the boat festival became an international tourism carnival with 2 participation from overseas. Thailand. While it is still dark. Denmark. Apart from functioning as a communication system. Singapore and Hong Kong. However. Here the family rises. associations and commercial establishments. Apart from these. The fun gets merrier with the drinking of the inevitable tapai which is an alcoholic drink made from rice wine. New Zealand. West Germany. resource and determinant of early settlement pattern of the Malaysian society. Gawai Dayak The Gawai Dayak festival is celebrated by the Dayaks of Sarawak who live in longhouses. it had also been a place where families carried out their recreational activities in the past. buffalo races. The Penang International Dragon Boat Festival has participating teams all over the world include Australia. 10 years later the race was revived as part of the Pesta Pulau Pinang. When everyone is ready. cultural performances and traditional games as part and parcel of the festive celebrations. there are also organised agriculture shows. USA and others.
the constant tinkling of a prayer bell and chants from the temple priests are heard. During this period of time. A procession to send the Nine Emperor Gods home then takes place to complete the rites of this religious festival. The Nine Emperor Gods are part of a spirit-medium cult known locally as ‘Jieu Hwang Yeh’. Nine Emperor Gods Festival The Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods falls on the ninth day of the ninth moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. Hence. it is a reason of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest and also a time to rest from work before the new planting season. A carnival-like atmosphere pervades the temple throughout the nine-day festival.the Queen of Heaven. take vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer. convivial talk.celebrated on a grand scale and lasts for a week. These Nine Deities are believed to dwell in the stars in heaven under the reign of ‘Thien Hou’ . dancing and merry-making will echo relentlessly all through the days of this exotic and colourful festival. Most devotees stay at the temple. drinking. Thai Pongal ~ . The Gawai Dayak festival marks the transitional period between the season of rice harvesting and the new planting season. Devotees flock to the temples throughout the country for this religious festival. The sound of boisterous laughter.
painted and decorated and Kolam's (ground patterns made out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses. in the morning. once ready. grain. These patterns drawn with rice flour. It is auspicious to draw the Kolams before sunrise so that the sun god can see them and come to bless the particular household. Held in the middle of January. sugarcane. Pongal. jaggery and milk is boiled in the pot on an open fire. Every household. are also offered to the Sun God. The idea behind using rice flour is that the insects would feed on it and bless the household. The word Pongal literally means "boiling over" and is celebrated by Hindus to mark the harvesting of the bounteous crops in the fields. Then a delicious concoction of rice. . Besides this. Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. is allowed to boil over and spill out of the pot. moong dal. is cooked in a new earthenware pot at the same place where puja is to be performed. Sweet rice. Once the Pongal is ready it is tempered with cashew nuts and raisins fried in ghee. on a new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies like vadas.Festival Date . dyed in brilliant hues It is an art handed down from one generation to the other. etc. This Pongal. prides itself on making the most exquisite floor drawings outside their homes. payasam. known as Pongal. sweet potatoes etc. The day begins with the making of Kolams at the entrance of homes. The houses are cleaned. as early as possible. according to ritual. Pongal continues through the first four days of Thai month that starts in the mid-January. is offered to God first.14 Jan 2011 The four days of Pongal have there own individual significance. Kolams (ground patterns made out of rice flour) generally drawn with rice flour are special to the occasion.
Mattu Pongal is also called Kanu Pongal. and women pray for the welfare of their brothers. to go to earth and deliver his message to the people . The fourth day of Pongal also holds special importance. and food once a month. Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them plough the fields. Legends Related to Pongal Like many other Indian festivals. and eat every day. Shiva was displeased. his bull. But Nandi got it all mixed up when he delivered the message.The following day is known as Mattu Pongal or the Pongal of the cow . and told the people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once a month. also known as Mattu Pongal. Another legend is associated with the third day of Pongal celebration. Pongal also has a few interesting legends attached to it signifying the importance it holds. This is the day when the bond between friends and relatives are re-strengthened by visiting their homes and sharing thoughts of love and care. Bhogi or Indra is worshipped. on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save them from being washed away by the rains and floods. According to it. According to the legend. Lord Shiva once asked Nandi. . and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more grain.to have an oil bath every day. The most popular legend is the one connected to the first day of the Pongal celebration when the Rain God.a day dedicated to the revered cow.
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