Wealth of Culture

Malaysia has a rich and colourful cultural heritage. Many of the traditional arts, culture and crafts are diligently kept alive by the various communities. Traditional dances and music hold a ' special place in the performing arts and every community has something to present at festivals or special occasions.  Aside from religious festivals, Malaysians find many occasions to celebrate. There are a large number of public festivals and parades at certain times of the year.

Some of these include the Penang street festival known as Chingay, the National Day or 'Merdeka' celebration in Kuala Lumpur on August 31 and the 'Colours of Malaysia' which showcases the cultural heritage of the 13 states consisting of a grand procession as well as traditional dance performances and food promotion at participating hotels and complexes in Kuala Lumpur in September. In Kelantan, a colourful display of giant kites weave in the wind in late May in the International Kite Festival which draws participants from the region and follower enthusiasts from Europe and Japan.

Most states have performance venues for staging dance and music festivals, while top restaurants in the high-density tourist areas also provide stages or open halls where these activities can be observed and enjoyed. A good time to observe these performances is during the festivals held by each ethnic group such as at Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. Traditional games are usually played in the kampungs (villages). These are especially important to the Malay community and most have been preserved in their original forms. There are numerous cultural activities and festivals taking place throughout the year. All are guaranteed to make memorable experiences and interesting snapshots for the visitor to take home.


Malaysia is a veritable land of festivals and celebrations. The major festivals of its multi-racial communities are celebrated to mark important events or days in their religious calendars. Most of them are colourful occasions when centuries-old customs and traditions are still observed. Prior to major festivals, there is usually a feverish burst of activity as people from the urban centres make the annual exodus to their hometowns while in individual homes earnest preparations are made in anticipation of the auspicious day.

Getting the house in order with extensive spring cleaning and decorations, shopping for new clothes, festival delicacies and stocking ample food is the norm. The holding of 'open house' by the different communities during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavah, Christmas, Gawai and Ka'amatan festivals is a heart-warning feature unique to Malaysian society. Such gatherings foster goodwill and provide the opportunity to renew social ties in a convivial atmosphere with the hosts usually feting their guests to a generous spread of food and drinks.

There are many other exciting international, national and state events that take place throughout the year around the country. Some have become regular tourist attractions. Tourism Malaysia publishes an annual Calendar of Events which provides a listing of the most important events held throughout the country.

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  Information provided by Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.


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