Friday, September 5, 2008

The Festivals

Malaysia now has in effect become a multi-racial and multi-cultural country. And in Malaysia, religion is still regarded as an important part of daily life, so it makes this country a multi-religious one too. It is thus natural that most holidays are religious holidays.

Malaysians do celebrate "standard" holidays everyone else in the world celebrates, like New Year's Day and Christmas Day and Independence Day. But in addition, they also celebrate these:

Ethnic Malays (Muslims):
1. Eid-al-fitri (Celebration after a month-long fasting)
2. Eid-al-adha (Remembrance of Abraham and Ishmael, usually marked by sacrificing cattles)
3. First day of Muharram (Muslim new year)
4. Maulid-al-Rasul (Birthday of Muhammad)

Ethnic Chinese (Buddhists/Taoists/Confucianists)
1. Chinese new year
2. Chap Goh Meh (15 days following Chinese new year)
3. Wesak Day (celebrating Buddha's birth and attainment of Nirvana)
4. Hungry Ghost Festival (something like all saints day, where you remember the dead)

Ethnic Indians (Hindus)
1. Deepavali (aka Festival of Lights, to celebrate the triumph of Krishna over Narkansura)
2. Thaipusam (a day of atonement and fulfillment of vows one has made to Lord Muruga)

Indigenous Peoples (Peoples of East Malaysia)
1. Tadau Kaamatan (Festival to give thanks to higher beings for good harvest, celebrated by the people of Sabah)
2. Gawai Dayak (also a harvest festival, but celebrated in Sarawak)

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