Sunday, November 22, 2009

MALAYSIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Malaysia Public Holidays

Typical festive fare during Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Haji(clockwise from bottom left): beef soup, ketupat (compressed rice cubes), beef rendang andsayur lodeh.

Malaysian observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some holidays are federal gazetted public holidays and some are public holidays observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, but are not public holidays.

The most celebrated holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" (Independence Day), otherwise known as "Merdeka" (Freedom), on 31 August commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957, whileMalaysia Day is only celebrated in the state of Sabah on 16 September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Hari Merdeka, as well asLabour Day (1 May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other festivals are federal gazetted public holidays.

Muslims in Malaysia celebrateMuslim holidays. The most celebrated festival, Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri) 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. The sight of the new moon determines the end of Ramadan. This determines the new month, therefore the end of the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, the translation of Eid ul-Adha), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul(Birthday of the Prophet).

Chinese in Malaysia typically celebrate festivals that are observed by Chinese around the world. Chinese New Year is the most celebrated among the festivals which lasts for fifteen days and ends with Chap Goh Mei (εδΊ”ηž‘). Other festivals celebrated by Chinese are theQingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. In addition to traditional Chinese festivals,Buddhists Chinese also celebrate Vesak.

The majority of Indians in Malaysia are Hindus and they celebrate Diwali/Deepavali, the festival of light, whileThaipusam is a celebration which pilgrims from all over the country flock toBatu Caves. Apart from the Hindus, Sikhscelebrate the Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year.

Other festivals such as Good Friday (East Malaysia only),Christmas, Hari Gawai of theIbans (Dayaks), Pesta Menuai (Pesta Kaamatan) of theKadazan-Dusuns are also celebrated in Malaysia.

Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, all Malaysians celebrate the festivities together, regardless of their background. For years when the Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year coincided, aportmanteau Kongsi Raya was coined, which is a combination of Gong Xi Fa Cai (a greeting used on the Chinese New Year) and Hari Raya (which could also mean "celebrating together" in Malay. Similarly, the portmanteau Deepa Raya was coined when Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali coincided.

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