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Malaysia has a number of festivals and celebrations, most of which are either religious or cultural in origin, and are

swathed in traditions and rituals. Malaysia. A country where one can experience a multitude of cultural celebrations and festivals, as well as, and most importantly, good food(!) all year round.. To help our foreign friends have a better overview of the festivities to look forward to when visiting Malaysia, and also for the benefit of locals, here is a list of the monthly cultural celebrations and festivities Malaysia has to offer. Thousands flock to Batu Caves to participate in the Thaipusam Festival.

January
Thaipusam Celebrated by the Tamil community, the manifestation of Thaipusam is best witnessed at Batu Caves in Selangor, or in Penang. The jaw-dropping sight of devotees carrying ornately decorated frames, better known as kavadis, would stay with you long after youve experienced it; this unique festival is a sight to behold.

February
Chinese New Year Celebrated worldwide by the Chinese to mark the first day of the New Year in the Chinese lunar calendar, the celebrations last for 15 days. Expect fireworks, lion dances, the prominence of the colour red, and open houses with scrumptious Chinese meals! Chap Goh Mei, or the 15th night of Chinese New Year, symbolises the end of the festival. To celebrate the Chinese version of Valentines Day, young women inscribe messages or wellwishes on oranges and throw them into lakes or ponds.

May
Wesak Day Celebrated by Buddhists to pay homage to Buddha and to mark the three significant events in Buddhas life (his birthday, enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana) the festival begins with meditation and prayers. Donations are made to the poor and needy. Harvest Festival Known to Sabahans as Pesta Kaamatan, it is a thanksgiving festival to celebrate the rice harvest. The festivities include traditional sports such as the buffalo race, the best tapai (rice wine) competition, and the Unduk Ngadau or Kaamatan Queen Competition.

June

Hari Gawai The Gawai Dayak is celebrated in Sarawak to mark the end of the paddy harvesting season. It also marks the beginning of the new planting season, and activities such as dancing, singing, and a considerable amount of drinking tuak (rice wine) take place in the longhouses.

August
Independence Day Commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from the British in 1957, August 31 holds a special place in the hearts of all Malaysians. The biggest celebration of the event takes place annually at Merdeka Square, or more commonly known as Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. Hari Raya Aidilfitri Also known as Hari Raya Puasa, it marks the culmination of Ramadhan, during which Muslims the world over fast for a whole month. Traditional Malay food such as rendang, ketupat, and lemang is served. This is also a time to forgive and forget past quarrels, where family members ask for forgiveness from friends and family members. Malaysia Day September 16 commemorates the establishment of the Malaysian federation in 1963, with the joining of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia. Hari Raya Haji To commemorate the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, the occasion is marked most significantly by the conclusion of the annual Haj (pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca). Sacrificialslaughtering, or korban, takes place in mosques, and the meat is distributed to the poor and needy.

November
Deepavali Also commonly referred to as Diwali or Festival of Lights, the festival is significant to all Hindus as it symbolises the triumph of good over evil. Oil lamps are lit to ward off darkness and evil, and like every other major cultural festivals in Malaysia, open houses are held.

December
Christmas A religious festival to mark the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, Christmas in Malaysia is celebrated like everywhere else in the world. However, Christmas is also viewed as a universal celebration by many, one that that carries a secular rather than religious meaning. Even without the traditional white Christmas, the celebrations carry on with a kaleidoscope of lights, endless Christmas displays, and crazy shopping deals for all!