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Festivals of Malaysia

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Festivals of Malaysia

Template:Life in Malaysia

There are two types of holidays in Malaysia, National and state levels. National holidays are normally observed by most governmental and private organizations. State holidays are normally observed by certain states in Malaysia or when it is relevant to the state itself.

In addition, Government agencies are closed every Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, government agencies are closed every Friday and Saturday.[1]

Types of holidays

Malaysia has one of the highest numbers of public holidays in the world, ranking number seven in the top ten countries after Thailand, Indonesia, India and Hong Kong.[2] Some holidays are federally gazetted public holidays and some are public holidays observed by individual states.[3] Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, but are not public holidays. The main holy days of each major religion are public holidays, taking place on either the western calendar or religious ones.[4]


The most widespread holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" (National Day), otherwise known as "Hari Merdeka" (Independence Day), on 31 August commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya. This, as well as Labour Day (1 May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other festivals are major national public holidays. Federal Territory day is celebrated in the three Federal territories.[4] Malaysia Day, held on 16 September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia, became a nationwide holiday in 2010. Before that it was celebrated only in Sabah.

Religious and ethnic

Muslim holidays are highly prominent in Malaysia. The most important of these is Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri),[5] which is the Malay translation of Eid al-Fitr. It is generally a festival honoured by the Muslims worldwide marking the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha (also called Hari Raya Haji referring to its occurrence after the culmination of the annual Hajj or Hari Raya Qurban), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet).[4]

Malaysian Chinese typically hold the same festivals observed by Chinese around the world. Chinese New Year is the most prominent, lasting for 15 days[4] and ending with Chap Goh Mei (十五瞑). Other festivals celebrated by Chinese are the Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hindus in Malaysia celebrate Diwali/Deepavali, the festival of light,[4] while Thaipusam is a celebration in which pilgrims from all over the country meet at the Batu Caves.[6] The most important Sikh festival is the Sikh new year or Vaisakhi festival. Other important days are Lodi and Gurpurab. Other Indian and Indochinese communities observe their new year celebrations at around the same time, such as Pohela Boishakh of the Bengalis and Songkran (water festival) of the Thais. People in the northern states also hold the thai festival of Loy Kratong.[7]

Wesak (Malay for Vesak), the Buddhist festival commemorating Buddha's birth, is a public holiday.[4] Malaysia's Christian community observes most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas[4] and Easter. Good Friday, however, is only a public holiday in the two Bornean states. The harvest festivals of Gawai in Sarawak and Kaamatan in Sabah are also important for East Malaysians.[3]

New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, and the start of the Islamic calendar are all public holidays.[4]


Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, festivities are often participated in by all Malaysians. One example of this is the celebration of Kongsi Raya which is used when Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year coincide. The term Kongsi Raya (which means "sharing the celebration" in Malay) was coined because of the similarity between the word kongsi and the Chinese New Year greeting of Gong xi fa cai. Similarly, the portmanteau Deepa Raya was coined when Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali coincided.[8]

A practice known as "open house" (rumah terbuka) is common during the festivities, especially during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Christmas. Open house means that all well-wishers are received and that everyone regardless of background is invited to attend.[9] Open houses are normally held at the home of the host and food are also prepared by the host, however, there are also open houses held at larger public venues especially when hosted by government agencies or corporations. Also during the festivities, most Malaysians would take the time off work or school to return to their hometowns to celebrate the festivities with their extended relatives. This practice is commonly known as balik kampung and usually causes traffic jams on most highways in the country.[10]

2014 Public holidays by states and territories [11]

January 1 New Year's Day
January 14 Negeri Sembilan State Ruler's Birthday
January 14 Birthday of Prophet Muhammad National
January 17 Thaipusam
January 19 Kedah State Ruler's Birthday
January 31 Chinese New Year (1st day) National
February 1 Chinese New Year (2nd day)
February 1 Federal Territory Day
March 4 Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu
April 15 Declaration of Malacca City as Historical City
April 18 Good Friday
April 19 Perak State Ruler's Birthday
April 26 Terengganu State Ruler's Birthday
May 1 Labour Day National
May 7 Hari Hol of Pahang
May 13 Wesak Day National
May 17 Perlis State Ruler's Birthday
May 27 Israk dan Mikraj
May 30 and 31 Pesta Menuai
June 1 and 2 Gawai Dayak
June 7 Malaysia King's Birthday National
June 29 First day of Ramadan
July 7 Declaration of George Town as World Heritage Site
July 12 Penang State Governor's Birthday
July 15 Day of Nuzul Al-Quran
July 28 and 29 Hari Raya Puasa National
August 31 Merdeka Day National
September 13 Sarawak State Governor's Birthday
September 16 Malaysia Day National
October 4 Sabah State Governor's Birthday
October 5 Hari Raya Aidiladha (1st day) National
October 6 Hari Raya Aidiladha (2nd day)
October 10 Melaka State Governor's Birthday
October 23 Deepavali
October 24 Pahang State Ruler's Birthday
October 25 First day of Muharram National
November 11 and 12 Kelantan State Ruler's Birthday
November 22 Johor State Ruler's Birthday
November 29 Hari Hol Sultan Johor
December 11 Selangor State Ruler's Birthday
December 25 Christmas Day National

Public holidays by states and territories

January 1 New Year's Day Hari Tahun Baharu
January Thaipusam Thaipusam
February 1 Federal Territory Day Hari Wilayah
January-February Chinese New Year (1st day) Tahun Baru Cina (Hari ke 1) National
January-February Chinese New Year (2nd day) Tahun Baru Cina (Hari ke 2)
March 4 Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu
March–April Good Friday Hari Jumaat Agung
April 15 Declaration of Malacca City as Historical City Perisytiharan Bandar Melaka sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah
May 1 Labour Day Hari Pekerja National
May 7 (Hari Hol of Pahang) Hari Hol Pahang
May-June Wesak Day Hari Waisak National
May 30&31 Pesta Menuai
June 1&2 Gawai Dayak Gawai Dayak
1st Sat June Malaysia King's Birthday Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Agong National
July 7 Declaration of George Town as World Heritage Site Perisytiharan George Town sebagai Tapak Warisan Dunia
August 31 Merdeka Day Hari Kebangsaan National
September 16 Malaysia Day Hari Malaysia National
November Deepavali Deepavali
November 29 (Hari Hol Sultan Johor) Hari Hol Sultan Johor
December 25 Christmas Day Hari Krismas National
Muharram 1 First day of Muharram Awal Muharram National
Rabi' al-awwal 12 Birthday of Prophet Muhammad Maulidur Rasul National
Rajab 27 Isra and Mi'raj Israk dan Mikraj
Ramadan 1 First day of Ramadan Awal Ramadan
Ramadan 17 Day of Nuzul Al-Quran Nuzul Al-Quran
Shawwal 1&2 Hari Raya Puasa Hari Raya Aidilfitri National
Dhu al-Hijjah 10 Hari Raya Qurban (1st day) Hari Raya Aidiladha (Hari ke 1) National
Dhu al-Hijjah 11 Hari Raya Qurban (2nd day) Hari Raya Aidiladha (Hari ke 2)
Variant State Governor's Birthday Hari Jadi 2nd Sat Oct 2nd Sat July 1st Sat Oct 2nd Sat Sep
Variant State Ruler's Birthday Hari Keputeraan Nov 22 Jan 19 Nov 11 Jan 14 Oct 24 April 19 May 17 Dec 11 April 26
Total 19 16 16 17 17 18 16 18 20 18 16 17 19 16 18 17

Festivals of Malaysia

Muslim Festivals

Christian festivals

Buddhist festivals

Hindu Festivals

Chinese Festivals

Tribal Religious Festivals

Sikh Festivals

See also


External links

  • Malaysia Public Holidays 2013: A full list of Malaysia Public holidays & School Holiday
  • 2012 public holidays: A full list of holidays by state
  • "Malaysia — Holidays"
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