Anyone visiting Malaysia for the first time will be amazed by the number of festivals and events celebrated in Malaysia as Malaysia has a great mix of races, religion and culture. Some of these traditions are celebrated nationwide while some only in particular state. Most of these festivals are celebrated in conjunction with a religious occasion or a tradition.

 

Date of Issue: 15.08.2006
30sen – Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
50sen – Chinese New Year
RM1 – Deepavali
MS RM1+RM1 – Tadau Kaamatan / Pesta Gawai
Sheets: 30sen x 20, 50sen x 20, RM1 x 20

Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Also known as Hari Raya Puasa, this festival is celebrated by the Muslims after a month of fasting during the month of Ramadan. A call for prayers on the last night of Ramadhan marks the arrival of the month of Syawal. The celebration commences with a massive congregation of worshipers in the mosques in the early morning. Delicious traditional and modern food is served such as the ketupat, rendang, lemang, dodol and cookies. The men appear handsome as they dress in their Baju Melayu and the women look beautiful in their Buju Kurung or Kebaya.

The festival is celebrated with great joy to signify the triumph after fasting for a whole month as part of the duties of a Muslim. Joy is also felt especially when family members gather to strengthen relations and ask for forgiveness. It is also a common tradition to visit relatives and friends. The elders will present the young ones with green packets filled with money or Duit Raya. Having an “Open House” is a common practice where friends from other races are invited, thus strengthening inter-cultural relations.

Chinese New Year
This is the most significant festival for the Chinese community based on the lunar calendar which has 12 cycles themed after animals. Before the arrival of the Chinese New Year houses are swept, cleaned and decorated with flowers and oranges. Red is the main choice of color for clothing and decorations as it symbolizes prosperity. Families from far and near will return to their hometown to attend a traditional reunion dinner. It is an exuberant festival with clangs of cymbals accompanying lion dances and thunders of fire crackers filling the air to dispel evil spirits.

The signature dish for this festival is the Yee Sang and it is accompanied by other delicacies such as Nien Ko. The unmarried are given gifts of money enclosed in little red packets or Ang Pows by those who already have families. The celebration will end on the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, which is also known as Chap Goh Mei.

Deepavali
Deepavali, also known as the festival of lights is celebrated by Hindus. The word “Deepavali” is a combination of the word “Dipa” which means light and the word “Gavali” which means line. Most of their homes are lit with little lights and oil lamps for the Hindus believe that this is the day when the forces of good overcome the forces of evil. Homes are also decorated with a kolam. It is a colorful design made of grains and rice placed on the floor in front of the house.

To celebrate Deepavali, Hindus will take oil bath as a symbol of purity. Later, they will perform their prayers in their own homes or at temples. Maruku, Laddu and various sweet cookies are among popular food for celebrating Deepavali.

Gawai Festival
This occasion is celebrated by Dayaks of Sarawak on 1st of June every year. The festival is held to show thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest that is bestowed upon them by the God of Rice and Wealth. The festival is celebrated with activities such as self defense demonstration, a beauty contest, Ngajat dance competition, blowpipe demonstration and cock-fighting competition.

Tadau Kaamatan Festival
Also known as the Harvest Festival, this occasion is celebrated in May by the Kadazandusuns of Sabah to show thanksgiving for the abundant harvest to Kinoingan, the Creator and also to worship the spirit of Bambaazon for greater harvest for the seasons to come. The tapai arak beras is served as a specialty drink during the celebration. many activities are held such as a beauty queen contest, the sumazau dance performance and competition, a type of dance that is synonym to the Kadazandusuns.