You can never go wrong with a little more party in your life, and the Wild East of Southeast Asia: Malaysia can really throw a party. Malaysia’s population is largely composed of Malays, Chinese, and Indians. With a colorful mix of Asian cultures, the country boasts a way of life that’s uniquely Malaysian. Discover the amazing manifestations of this multicultural country through its many celebrations in this edition of the Viva La Fiesta series.
The best time to soak in Malaysia’s festivities would be in April when the majority of the entire country celebrates the Water Festival. The festivities kick off in Kuantan City with sporting events, fishing contests, and sandcastle building, but everyone really comes for the no-holds-barred water fight in the streets.
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
As if you needed another reason to visit Borneo, the wild Rainforest World Music Festival, one of Asia’s largest festivals, treats guests to live performances in the middle of the woods. The 3-day concert also has cultural immersions and workshops if dancing isn’t your scene.
In Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state, the Dayak people celebrate their version of the New Year known as Gawai Dayak. The hosts dress up in traditional attire and dance in the streets. Afterward, they have open houses with traditional food and drinks as far as the eye can see.
For the biggest Hindu celebration in Malaysia, the Sri Kandaswamy Temple gets all dolled up for Diwali in November. You’ll be greeted with beautiful patterns drawn with colored chalk all over the ground. The monks then scatter rangoli or colored rice on the ground as part of the Indian tradition.
Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia
Penang Island hosts the Malaysian leg of the International Dragon Boat Festival at Teluk Bahang Dam. Racers from all over compete in a rigorous two-day December event where one team will be crowned the best in all of Asia. It’s a great watch as well as a great eat for spectators thanks to all the little local food stalls that pop up during the festivities.
Teluk Bahang, 11050 Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia
Everybody loves Christmas and Malaysians are no exception. If you find yourself in Malaysia during the holidays, check out the Genting Highlands. The resort gets completely decked out in yuletide cheer with a new theme every year.
Genting Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Penang has a large Buddhist community that the festivities for Wesak Day are unlike anywhere else in the country. Head over to any Buddhist temple on the island to see monks in saffron robes offer their prayers and have flower-filled processions to honor this holy day in May.
Penang Island, Penang, Malaysia
The large Hindu community of Malaysia celebrates Thaipusam on the 10th full moon of the Hindu calendar (late January to early February). Here, participants pierce their bodies with large metal skewers with each insertion representing the person’s penance for their sins. They then carry milk pots on their hands as they march along a four-kilometer procession to the Batu Caves.
68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Chinese New Year and the 15 days of its celebration are the most important days to any festival-goer, so make sure to visit Kek Lok Si if you’re in Malaysia. It’s the largest temple complex in Malaysia where Chinese New Year is celebrated with mesmerizing light shows, a tradition dating back to 1983.
Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Ayer Itam, Kek lok si temple邮政编码: 11500