Malaysian festivals & holidays


Malaysia is a multi racial country consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous people. With this, comes a myriad of religion, festivals, food and customs.


Hari Raya Puasa

The most significant celebration for Muslims, it signifies the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.  The words ‘Hari Raya’ means day of celebration.


Chinese New Year

Celebrated by the Chinese community,  Chinese New Year occurs  usually during mid-January to mid-February. The festivities are celebrated for 3 days, but as a whole, last for 15 days


Fifth Moon Festival

Known also as the Patriotic Poet’s Festival or the Dumpling Festival, Chinese communities, living especially in coastal and riverine areas, observe the fifth moon of the lunar calendar with rice dumplings and dragon boat races. 


Mid Autumn or Mooncake Festival

The Mid-Autumn, or Mooncake Festival, falls on the 15th day of the Chinese eighth month, and is celebrated to signify the end of the harvest season. Associated with paper lanterns, it is also called the Lantern Festival.


Hungry Ghost Festival

On this day it is believed that the "Gates of Hell" are opened and that the dead return to visit their living relatives. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the imprisoned and hungry ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck



Celebrated by Hindus as the day the evil Narakasura was slain by Lord Krishna. Signifying the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.



Hindus celebrate Thaipusam on the tenth month of their calendar. Thai' is the Hindu month which falls between January 15 to February 15. The festival is best witnessed at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and in Penang.



Held in the middle of January, Pongal is a cultural festival celebrated by Hindus to mark the harvesting and to give thanks to the sun for its bounty. 


Gawai Dayak

Celebrated by the Dayak communities in Sarawak. Celebrated mid year on June 1 and 2, though unofficially, the festivities begin during the last week of May and continue through mid-June.


Pesta Kaamatan

In May, Sabahan's celebrate the Kadazan Harvest Festival.


Pesta Rumbia, Sabah (Sago Fest), Kuala Penyu

Date : July 6-8, 2007


Pesta Gambus (Lute Festival)

Date : July 28, 29, 2007


Pesta Gong Matunggong

Date : Oct 24, 2007


Cultural Carnival, Ranau

Date : Nov 3,4, 2007


Pesta Jagung (Maize Fest), Kota Marudu district, Sabah

Nov 10,11



The Melanau festival, or 'Kaul', appeasing the spirits of the sea, land, forests and farm is celebrated at the end of the rainy season and the start of the fishing season in late March or early April. The festival is celebrated on different days in the many Melanau settlements along the coast.



(“Coming Before” in Christao), Portuguese Settlement

Date : Feb 18


Fiesta San Juang

Festa San Juan is celebrated in late June just before the Festa San Pedro. It is celebrated at the chapel on top of St John’s hill by the Eurasian community. Portuguese Settlement

Date : June 23


Fiesta San Pedro

A delightful cultural event celebrated by the Portuguese-Eurasian community of Malacca. to commemorate the birthday of the patron saint of fishermen, San Pedro. The fishing boats, which are colorfully decorated for the festival, are blessed and prayers offered for a better season


Dragon Boat Festival

This Chinese festival of Dragon Boat races commemorates the death by drowning of 3rd-century BC Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan. Held in the months of June and July, race details can be obtained from the Melaka Dragon Boat Association. Tel : 281 5649

Date : July 1


Regatta, Lepa Semporna, Sabah

Celebrated by the Bajau in Semporna, The main event here is the yearly regatta called Lepa, where boat racers and decorated boats vie for top honours.

Date April 21,22 2007



Held annually on Dec 25th, Christians celebrate the Nativity, or the birth of Christ.



Public holidays

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2007-December 2008 period.

1 Jan New Year's Day.
20 Jan Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year).
1 Feb* Federal Territory Day.
18 Feb Chinese New Year.
31 Mar Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of Prophet Muhammad).
1 May Labour Day. 
2 May Wesak Day (Birth of Buddha).
3 Jun King's Birthday.
31 Aug National Day.
13 Oct Hari Raya Puasa (End of Ramadan).
9 Nov** Deepvali.
20 Dec Hari Raya Haji (Feast of the Sacrifice).
25 Dec Christmas.

1 Jan New Year's Day. 
10 Jan Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year).
1 Feb* Federal Territory Day.
7 Feb Chinese New Year.
20 Mar Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of Prophet Muhammad).
1 May Labour Day.
20 May Wesak Day (Birth of Buddha).
3 Jun King's Birthday.
31 Aug National Day.
1 Oct Hari Raya Puasa (End of Ramadan).
28 Oct** Deepvali. 
9 Dec Hari Raya Haji (Feast of the Sacrifice).
25 Dec Christmas. 
29 Dec Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year



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