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Come celebrate with Malaysia on Kuala Lumpur’s major public holidays

There’s nothing like a party atmosphere to freshen the landscape and make everyone feel relaxed and rejuvenated! While every day is a holiday here at Canopy Lounge, where you can relax and unwind from a strenuous day’s work in our friendly atmosphere, we felt you should get to know the major public holidays here in Kuala Lumpur so you can be sure to join in the fun too!

Unique major KL holidays to know

These public holiday dates, celebrated on a fixed date every year, mark milestones in the development of Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur, and their unique history.

  • Federal Territory day: observed on the 1st of February annually, this holiday celebrates the formation of the KL federal territory in 1974
  • Merdeka [Independence] Day: celebrated on the 31st of August, this day marks the Federation of Malaysia ceding from colonial British rule
  • The King’s Birthday: Celebrating the life of His Majesty the King, Yang Di Pertuan Agong, this falls on the second Saturday in September annually.
  • Malaysia Day: This newer public holiday is celebrated on the 10th September, and is a second independence day celebration.

Global Holidays

The people of Malaysia also celebrate many globally observed public holidays. These include:

  • New Year’s Day on the 1st January
  • Labour day celebrated on 1st May
  • Christmas Day celebrated on 25th of December

Valentine’s Day, international Mother’s and Father’s day and Easter is observed in Kuala Lumpur, although they are not typically given time off as a public holiday. Changeable days celebrated as public holidays will also include any voting day on the political calendar, so that people may take the day off to exercise their right to vote.

Religious holidays aplenty

Kuala Lumpur is, of course, a melting pot of global cultures, and with each unique ethnic group come a host of relevant religious holidays to celebrate. The major ethnic groupings in the city comprise of people of Malay, Chinese and Indian extraction, with Punjabi people following close after, so there is a bustling full calendar of religious holidays which are observed by groups in the city. Expect to see a massive representation from Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese calendars, Buddhism, as well as Hindu and Tamil, Sikh and Muslim observances. While there are too many notable days from these rich heritages to name every single one here, here are a few of the most important religious days you should know about before travelling to Kuala Lumpur.

Chinese New Year

Lion Dances and the colourful red ang pow packets become the name of the game when Chinese New Year hits the city. Do expect to find a business slowdown around this time each year, as the city’s many Chinese business people take a little time to relax and unwind from their busy schedules. With the pop, sizzle and crack of fireworks lighting the night sky, Chinese New Year is the perfect time to explore the historic Chinatown district of KL, and enjoy everything this unique celebration offers.

The Chinese New Year dates do shift every year, being based on the 1st day of the 1st month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, but typically falls around February each year.

Muslim New Year

Awal Muharram is the Muslim New Year, celebrating two important observances- the first day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the dawning of the New Year on the 354 day Islamic calendar.

This is a movable feast depending on the dates of the Muslim calendar, so be sure to consult the guide for the current year for these dates. This will vary depending on local observance, so if you are a Muslim celebrant please be sure to check this for the Malaysian area.

Deepavali

The well-known Hindu Festival of Lights [sometimes known as Diwali as well] embraces the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It is one of the most crucial annual Hindu festivals, celebrated with light displays and vibrant garlands. Firecrackers and fireworks abound, and celebrants light oil lamps in their home to mark the celebrations. The exchange of gifts and sweets is common. Jains and Sikhs celebrate their own festivals on this same day.

The Festival of Lights begins on the first night of the new moon in the month of Kartik on the Hindu calendar, which does make it a movable date annually, although it is typically later in the calendar year.

Muhammad’s Birthday

‘Mawlid’ is a purely religious festival celebrated during the 3rd month of the Muslim calendar, representing the prophet’s birthday. Observance is slightly different for Shias and Sunnis. It is typically a public holiday in KL.

This is a shifting holiday annually.

Thaipusam

This is an annual Hindu festival, the second largest in Malaysia, and is celebrated in honour of Lord Subramanya, also known as Lord Murugan. You will see traditional body piercing, and the carrying of milk pots, on the main day of the festival, although devotees prepare for a long time beforehand. Penance and forgiving are the focus of this festival.

Thaipusam is also a changeable date, observed on the day of the full moon during the Tamil month of Thai early in the year.

Wesak Day

Wesak day, the day which celebrates the birth of the Buddha, is the holiest day for those of the Buddhist religion. You will see light displays and open doors at local Buddhist temples, as well as meditation and prayer from celebrants.

This is observed annually as a changeable holiday, based on the Sunday closest to the first full moon in May

The holy month of Ramadan and celebrations of Eid al-Fitr/ Nuzal al Qu’arn

Muslim adherents will celebrate the most holy month of Ramadan, ending in the most important celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, as one of the most sacred parts of the Muslim calendar. While the month-long fast of Ramadan will likely not affect you personally unless you are also Muslim, you will see a bountiful upswing in delectable food on the streets during this time. Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fast, is a holy time of celebration and bounty everyone is invited to share through a public holiday on Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the end of the fast. Nuzal al Qu’arn, the day of the first revelation to the prophet, will also be celebrated as a public holiday.

Eid will always fall on the 1st day of the month of Shawwal on the Islamic calendar. The fast begins 29 or 30 days before, and Nuzal al Qu’arn is observed on the 17th day of the fast. The dates for this important Muslim observance are based on sightings of the new moon by local authorities, so do vary globally. Please bear this in mind if you are a Muslim travelling to Kuala Lumpur at this time, as dates may not align exactly with your own country’s observance.

Hari Raya Haji

This marks the last day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage for Muslims and is a four day festival.

Again, the shiftable dates of this festival are dependent on the dates for the 10th day of the last month of the Muslim calendar.

As you can see, Kuala Lumpur has a busy schedule of public holidays celebrated throughout the year, a marker of the many people who call this busy city home. Canopy Lounge is typically open on most Public Holidays, so if you’d like to make us part of your celebration, be sure to give us a call and make a reservation today.

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