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CULTURAL

Because of our many cultures, Malaysians celebrate a lot of different traditions. Every other month is a big day for one of the many ethnic groups who originated in different regions and thus had different cycles of time to celebrate a new year, or a harvest, or a significant event in their respective religions.

Each ethnic group has their specific occasion for large family gatherings. Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer. Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar and is a time of family reunions and celebrations. Deepavali, or Diwali, is the Hindu and Sikh Festival of Lights, a celebration of light over darkness. Kaamatan is a month-long harvest festival celebrated in May, that ends with beauty pageant Unduk Ngadau. Christmas is also widely celebrated. 

There are also much more public festivities. Thaipusam sees thousands of devotees proceeding to Batu Caves every year to ask for help from Lord Murugan, having fasted and carrying kavadis or burdens, sometimes piercing their own skin with skewers. August is the Hungry Ghost Festival, when spirits roam the earth. Accordingly, the Chinese put on shows for them and make offerings of food and burnt paper items. In Sarawak, Hari Gawai is the harvest festival that may last a month, with ritual feasts, mini festivals or even weddings.

For more information, visit www.tourism.gov.my












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