With so many ethnic groups and religions represented in Malaysia, you’ll be unlucky if your trip doesn’t coincide with some sort of festivals, either secular or religious. Religious celebrations range from exuberant, family-oriented pageants to blood-curdlingly gory displays of devotion. Secular events might comprise a carnival with a cast of thousands, or just a local market with a few cultural demonstrations laid on.

Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some holidays are federally listed public holidays and some are observed only by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religious groups, but are not public holidays.

Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of the Ramadan followed by Hari Raya Haji known as the Festival of Sacrifice.

Chinese New Year determined by the lunar calendar (either in January or February) is a major event celebrated by the Chinese residents in stylish red or gold colours.

Malaysia Christian community observes most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas and Easter. The harvest festival of Gawai in Sarawak and Kamaatan in Sabah are also important for Malaysians in the Eastern region of the country.

Want to know more? The harvest festival of Gawai in Sarawak