CHINESE NEW YEAR
The Chinese New Year is the most important ethnic festival for the Chinese in Kuala Lumpur. It celebrates the first day of the lunar calendar, and lasts for 15 days. Just like any part of the world where Chinese live, the traditional celebrations of the festival include having reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes (in Malaysia, we call it 'ang pao'), lighting firecrackers, buying new clothes and decorations. During the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, you will see lion and dragon dances, red paper lanterns, a combination of real and artificial cherry blossoms and acrobatics in major malls and temples. During the 15 days of Chinese New Year, fantastic displays of fireworks can be seen throughout the city and sub-urban area.
In Malaysia, Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival celebrated with a colourful procession and compelling rituals, mainly taking place in Batu Caves. Celebrated by the country's Tamil Indian community, the Hindu devotees prepare themselves with many hooks and skewers piercing through their bodies to showcase devotion to the deity Lord Murugan. This also makes Thaipusam one of the best time to visit Batu Caves.
HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI
Hari Raya Aidilfitri or also known as Eid al-Fitr internationally, is celebrated by the Muslim community in Malaysia with joyous celebrations of forgiveness, fellowship and food. It marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, an approximately 30-day dawn-to-dusk fasting. Shopping malls are usually colourfully decorated for this occasion, with decorations such as fairy lights, ketupat-shaped ornaments and mock Arabian markets. During the first two days of Hari Raya, the Muslims usually reserve the days for catching up with their families. Open houses will happen throughout the month where friends and neighbours of same or other races are invited to share conversation, laughter and a variety of cookies, candies and traditional delicacies.
Deepavali is the biggest festival for local Hindu communities in commemoration of Lord Rama returns to Ayodhya after his 14-year banishment, signifying the triumph of good over evil. Also called 'Diwali' or Festival of Lights, Hindu temples, major shopping malls and Little India Brickfields will all be decorated with an array of colourful lights, oil lamps, flowers and intricate floor designs that are made with coloured rice and powder. In Malaysia, people of all races and religions will get together with lively open houses, fireworks display, and a wide range of Indian delicacies starting from the afternoon.
It may be summer all year round in Malaysia, but the Christmas celebrations are nothing less festive in a Malaysian way! A month before Christmas, Kuala Lumpur streets are lined with bright fairy lights; malls bring out their most elaborate Christmas decorations and fun-filled festive activities line-up to lift your Yuletide spirit.