A green panther you are? Or a beach lover, a cultural passionate or a gourmand – whatever your personality is as a traveler, Malaysia promises to be one of the perfect travel destinations that attract you with its cultural magic.
While Kuala Lumpur houses the tallest skyscrapers and glittering shopping malls, Penang is soaked in history and cultural experiences and the exquisite islands offer you countless panoramic views of turquoise crystal clear waters and tranquil beaches.
The richness of festivals and its celebrations in Malaysia reflects its vibrant diversity in culture and religious toughness and assures you a flash of its abundant and rich traditions.
If you take a voyage through this beautiful country while exploring some nature surprises, don’t forget to witness some of these best Malaysian festivals and celebrations.
11 Top-Notch Malaysian Festivals You Must Attend!
Thaipusam is the most important Tamil festival that is celebrated in Malaysia. This festival is celebrated remembering the victory of Lord Muruga over the evil spirit Soorapadam with great pomp and show.
Celebrated with great heartiness and enthusiasm for 3 days at the famous Batu Caves shrine around the full moon day, you can see the huge parade that starts from Kuala Lumpur.
Lord Muruga has carried in an accompanying the sounds of chants & drums while over a million devotees throng the temple to have his blessings. It’s an amazing sight to witness blazing devotees carry ‘kavadis’ joined to their body through metal spikes.
When to Visit: Late January/early February
Location: Batu Caves (Selangor); Waterfall Temple (Penang)
2. Tadau Ka’amatan Harvest Festival
This home or local festival of Kadazan-Dusun, Sabah’s largest ethnic group is originally a grand celebration to give a vote of thanks to the holy spirits for a plentiful harvest. Padi farmers bunch up to honor ‘Bambaazon’, the spirit of rice padi through traditional rituals and customs followed by festivals.
The headquarters of Kadazan Dusun Cultural Organisation possess ethnic dance performances along with the fanfare of traditional sports like arm-wrestling, blowpipe shooting etc.
The smooth and free-flow of traditional fermented rice which are Tapai and Lihing or the local rice wines add the flavor of the spirit and zeal of one of the most interesting and enthralling cultural festivals in Malaysia.
When to Visit: 30 & 31st May
3. Wesak Day
As in all Buddhist countries, Malaysian Wesak festival celebration gives you an opportunity to have a glimpse of important event specifying the three major milestones in Budhha’s life – his birth, enlightenment, and nirvana.
Buddhists all over Malaysia observe fast on this day to cleanse themselves and also spend time meditating at the temples throughout the day.
They also release peacemakers and tortoises as a symbol of liberating the soul and exempting the ones from past life sins. The religious festival is celebrated with charity giving, spirituality, and positivity.
When to Visit: Full moon of May
Location: Across the country
4. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year festival is the most important Chinese festival which is celebrated in Malaysia having grand cultural celebration having a kick start from the very first day of the Chinese lunar calendar and ending with a Lantern Festival which last long for 15 odd days.
The festivities begin over a dinner having a social gathering on New Year’s Eve and paying a visit to the temple to have the blessings from the God of Prosperity. It encompasses fascinating traditions like handing out the ‘ang pow’ to children and giving away mandarin oranges for prosperity.
The dress code is red, the color of prosperity when you make your way to celebrate or attend the grand Open Houses spectacular lion & dragon dance performances.
When to Visit: February
Location: Across the country, especially Kuala Lumpur.
5. Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid)
Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid) is acclaimed to be the most joyful and cheerful festivals celebrated in Malaysia by Muslims all over the country. Eid symbolizes the end of Ramadan, the holy month of chastity and fasting.
Muslims who works in bigger cities head back home to join the festivities and participate in special prayers held at mosques.
The celebration is prominent with dining and house-visits as well as asking for forgiveness from friends and family members.
The most awesome part is the Open House where Malaysians welcome and shower warm hospitality on all guests, with traditional elegance and desserts.
When to Visit: June
Location: Across the country
6. Sarawak Gawai Festival
Sarawak Gawai Festival is a cultural festival celebrated by the endemic Dayak’s race of Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state, this harvest festival inaugurates on 1st June and continues for an entire month.
The people of Dayak dress in their traditional outfit, and get indulge in a fascinating and appealing ceremonial offering and welcome the New Year with great zest.
Longhouse, the traditional home Dayak home is the best place to see the celebrations at its peak with an addition of over 40 families occupying themselves under the same roof! Traditional dances, wine and dine with free-flowing Tuak (rice wine) add vigor and charm to the celebrations.
When to Visit: 1st June
Location: Sarawak state
7. National Day
While celebrating the country’s independence from British rule on this day in 1957, Hari Merdeka is the utmost beautiful festivals in Malaysia, which shouldn’t be missed in Kuala Lumpur around this time.
The spectacular fireworks on the Independence Day eve, a grand parade in Merdeka Square in the morning and concerts in addition to lovely performances all day glorifies this important day in the life of Malay people.
Parades, stage shows, and exhibitions are organized all over the country, but the excitement in Kuala Lumpur can’t be defeated.
When to Visit: 31st August
Location: Kuala Lumpur
8. Mooncake Festival & Hungry Ghost Festival
Mooncake Festival & Hungry Ghost Festival is also given another name as lantern festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival. This celebration proceeds with the ancient tradition of thanking Moon goddess for such a huge harvest.
Colorful lantern parades and delicious mooncakes play the superior part in the festivals, which also stand for unity within community and family.
Before the mid-autumn festival, there is another unique celebration called the Hungry Ghost Festival, in which the spirits of the dead are satisfied with food offerings and show of traditional puppet shows, etc.
Also Read: Most Beautiful Sacred Places In The World
When to Visit: August/September
Location: Across the country
9. The Dragon Boat Festival
This is acknowledged as one of the most interesting festivals in Malaysia, the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event held at Teluk Bahang Dam near Georgetown. It’s worth and exciting to watch over 40 competitors from the country and across the world taking part in races with their colorful traditional boats rowing to the beats of the drums.
You can click on the mesmerizing pictures, can make your tongue taste the local cuisines, and enjoy the performances to entertain the crowd present there. This energetic and colorful festival is a huge hit amid the inhabitants as well as tourists.
When to Visit: December
10. Rainforest World Music Festival
What’s more exciting than spinning to the foot-stomping music in the rainforests of Borneo with thousands of music lovers from across the world. One of the most fabulous music festivals in Malaysia and the largest, Rainforest Music Festival in Southeast Asia is a major mix of live performances by ace international artists, cultural experiences and workshops.
Then put your footsteps on the path of Sarawak Cultural Village for an never forgetting 3-day musical show.
When to Visit: July
The country has its not-so-ordinary style of celebrating the festival of Christmas. Christmas trees are decorated and put up by the Christians at their homes one or two weeks before Christmas.
The whole of the shopping malls of Malaysia shines with lights and decoration and welcome Christmas, the festival of joy and merrymaking, with wholeheartedness and enthusiasm. Some corporate companies organize concerts and shows as well as organize charity drives.
If you want to witness some more interesting festivals in Malaysia in 2018, the Kelantan Kite Festival, as well as the Georgetown Festival, are a must-visit. this is one of the best Malaysian festivals celebrated here.