|Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Hari Raya Puasa (or Hari Raya Aidil Fitri) falls on the first day of the Muslim month of Syawal and is a joyous occasions for all Muslims. It marks the successful observance of fasting throughout the month of Ramadhan - the tenth month of the Muslim calendar. The celebration is determined by sighting of the new moon. After morning prayers at the mosque followed by visits to the graves of family members to pay respects. Open house or invitation for relatives and friends to come to their house is practiced.Plenty of traditional Malay delicacies are served during this festive season.
Celebrated throughout Malaysia by Hindus on the tenth month of the Hindu calendar. Thaipusam is a day for penance and atonement among the Hindu community. Thaipusam an extraordinary festival, is a time for Hindu devotees to fulfil a vow they have made to the Lord Muruga, also known as Lord Subramaniam. The displays of devotion are varied, but the most devout prepare themselves for weeks, purifying themselves by fasting and celibacy. In a state of religious ecstasy thousands of devotees carrying body piercing kavadis - a frame decorated with colored papers, tinsels, fresh flowers, and fruits as a form of penance, makes this a once in lifetime experience. They move through the town up the hill to the Batu Caves with the kadavis tearing at their flesh, but without appearing to feel any pain. Kuala Lumpur is probably the best place to enjoy this colourful and fascinating festival as this is where Lord Muruga's jeweled chariot is led through the streets of the city, culminating at the Batu Caves in Selangor.
Celebrated around May by Buddhists which marks three momentous events in Buddha's life - his birthday, enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana. As the most important figure in Buddhism his life is celebrated and revered. The celebration begins at dawn when devotees gathering at the temples to meditate on the Eight Precepts. The 'Bathing the Buddha' ceremony is often part of Wesak celebrations. Water is poured over the shoulders of the Buddha and serves as a reminder to purify the mind from evil. Donations, giving food to the needy, offerings of incense, joss sticks releasing of pigeons, ordination of monks and the offering of flowers normally takes place in temples. Chanting and praying are an important part of the Wesak celebration. At night, processions of floats parade the streets, with devotees carrying candles.
Hungry Ghost Festival
Celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month by Buddhists and Taoist, it is believed according to Chinese tradition, that the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives. The reason why the Chinese celebrate this festival is to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck. Sacrificial offerings are made by burning fake money notes, which are also known as hell money and even paper television or radio sets. Some families also burn paper houses & cars to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their world. Religious ceremonies are also held at temples.
Commonly known to Hindus as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali is celebrated during the 7th month of the Hindu calendar. Deepavali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, when Lord Krishna defeated Narkansura. Oil baths are taken in the morning, before donning new clothes and paying a visit to the temple. Homes are lit with oil lamps, called vikku, signifying victory over darkness. This is believed to invite Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth who will not enter an unlit house. As with all open houses in Malaysia, friends join in the celebrations by visiting the homes of Hindu friends and relatives to extend good wishes and to partake in the feasting and jollity.