Malaysia is one of the multinational and multi-confessional states, so there are more than five dozen holidays. Some of them are celebrated only in individual states, others are approved at the state level. Regardless of the occasion, on the days of holidays Malaysians actively travel around the country, flock to tourist areas, fill up the beaches and hotels.
General information about the Malaysian holidays
The territory of this state is inhabited by representatives of different religious denominations: Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. In order not to offend them or other segments of the population, Malaysia has approved a dozen and a half public holidays. The most important of these is Hari Merdeka (Independence Day), celebrated on August 31. It was on this day in 1957 that the Treaty of Independence of the Malay Federation from colonial rule was signed.
Other equally important public holidays in Malaysia include:
- Malaysia Day (September 16);
- King’s Birthday (June 3);
- Labor Day (May 1);
- Wesak (May 10);
- Christmas Day (December 25).
In addition to national holidays, there are dates that are considered solemn by some denominations. But not all of them are holidays, otherwise locals would have to rest every week. In 2017, for example, Muslims in Malaysia celebrate the following holidays:
- Hari Raya Puasa (Uraza Bayram);
- Hari Raya Haji (Eid al-Adha Bairam);
- Maulidur Rasul (Maulid an-Nabi).
Ethnic Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year and traditional festivals lavishly, Hindus celebrate Taipusam and Diwali, Christians celebrate Easter and St. Anne’s Day, and ethnic groups in the east celebrate the Hawaii-Dayak harvest festival. Although many of Malaysia’s holidays vary in religion and ethnicity, they are considered common and are celebrated by almost all religious denominations and ethnic groups.
Malaysia’s Independence Day.
Hari Merdeka is the most important event for everyone in the country. For almost three centuries, Malaysia was a colonial state, and now this independent country is an influential member of the ASEAN organization. If the treaty of independence had not been signed 60 years ago, in 1957, it might not have been among the most developed countries in Asia.
On Malaysia’s Independence Day, theaters, concerts, street fairs, and theme shows are held throughout the country. On the main square of Kuala Lumpur, a special podium is set up, from where members of the government and the Prime Minister greet citizens and guests of the parade. A magnificent fireworks display closes the celebration.
Two weeks after Independence Day, Malaysia Day, or Hare Malaysia, is celebrated across the country. It commemorates the day when Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo, which was later renamed Sabah, became part of the federation.
During one of the most important national holidays, squares and homes throughout Malaysia are decorated with a huge number of flags. The main event of the celebration is an air show and a military parade attended by state officials.
Birthday of the King of Malaysia
June 3 in this country is dedicated to celebrating the birthday of the current monarch. In 2017, Malaysia celebrates King Mohammed V’s 48th birthday. The people of the country highly honor the monarch, calling him the protector as well as the guarantor of their security and the stability of the state.
During these festive days, many events are held throughout the country. The main one is rightly considered a military parade in Kuala Lumpur, when the national flag is carried out to the music of the military band. And, although the holiday is celebrated in all cities in Malaysia, most tourists tend to flock to the capital, the palace of Istana Negara. At this time, there is a colorful ceremony of the changing of the guard.
Every four years in May the country celebrates the Buddhist holiday of Wesak. On these days, oil lamps are lit at the foot of sacred trees, and Buddhist temples are decorated with red lanterns and garlands. Residents make donations to temples and release doves into the sky. With this ritual, it is as if they are giving freedom to people who are imprisoned.
During the festival of Wesak, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from Malaysia go to local temples to:
- perform rites of sacrifice;
- recite sacred texts aloud;
- light incense and scented candles;
- perform the ritual “washing of the Buddha.
Buddhist clerics recommend meditation, because on this day it is possible to attain a blissful state of Universal goodness. To purify the body, they advise to eat only plant foods. Vesak is celebrated only in a leap year.
Deepavali in Malaysia
Every year in late October or early November across the country, Hindus celebrate Deepavali, which is considered the main Hindu celebration. During the month, residents decorate the streets with bright illuminations and light small oil lamps, wicca, in their homes. Hindus believe that through this ritual, evil and darkness can be defeated just as the good Krishna defeated the cruel Narakusura.
During this festival, Malaysian Hindus put their houses in order and put on new clothes. People decorated with flower garlands come out to sing Indian songs and perform national dances.
The Prophet’s Birthday in Malaysia
One of the main events for Muslims in this country is the celebration of Maulid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, which is held every year on a different day. In 2017, for example, this holiday in Malaysia falls on November 30. This is preceded by the month of Rabi al-Awwal, which is dedicated to Maulid al-Nabi. During these days, Malaysian Muslims are advised to:
- invite guests home;
- exchange gifts;
- participate in charity and cultural events;
- to help those in need.
Due to the fact that the country is free to practice religion, interesting cultural and educational programs are allowed during the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday.
Chinese New Year in Malaysia
The Chinese are the second largest ethnic group in the country. They make up 22.6% of Malaysia’s total population, so in order to show respect for their fellow citizens, the government has made Chinese New Year a national holiday. Depending on the year, it is celebrated on different days.
During this holiday, festive parades with fireworks, theatrical performances and folk festivities take place all over Malaysia. Despite its ethnicity, it is attended by representatives of different nationalities and religious denominations.
Christmas in Malaysia
Despite the fact that Christians make up only 9.2% of the total population of the country, the government also respects their opinions and religious traditions. That is why Malaysia, like other countries around the world, celebrates Christmas on December 25th. It has been given national status, so it is considered a day off. During the Christmas celebrations in the center of the capital the main Christmas tree is set up, decorated with colorful toys and garlands. Local residents delight each other with gifts, and children are waiting for gifts from Santa Claus. Christmas in Malaysia differs from all other countries only in the absence of snow.
Holidays in the country
Malaysia is diverse in ethnic and confessional composition, so there are no national holidays. For example, Thursday and Friday are the days off in the states with the largest number of Muslims. In regions where Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists predominate, the weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday. The existence of two days off a week is a clear demonstration of the tolerance of Malaysians towards fellow citizens of other nationalities and faiths.
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National Holidays in Malaysia
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