Calendar list of Events & Festivals in Malaysia during the year

Malaysia is reknown for being filled with multi-cultural diversity and fantastic festivals throughout the year. Listed below are some of the main highlights that visitors to Malaysia should enjoy.

Devotee during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival Malaysia
Devotee during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival Malaysia

Do remember to dress conservatively if attending any cultural festivals in Malaysia

Many religious festivals in Malaysia are lunar based so exact dates differ every year. However those dates have been noted below. If possible it's also worth contacting local tourisim boards if you are in the area to get specific dates.

January Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Pongal Festival Date: 13-16 January

Location: Malaysia in Indian quarters

Pongal is a Hindu “thanksgiving” festival dedicated to the Sun God Surya. The term pongal literally means "boiling over". This refers to pots of rice and milk which are heated up until they boil over. The moment the mixture spills people shout out "Ponggalo Pongo"

The festival lasts for four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the fourth day of Thai and is celebrated throughout Malaysia


Event: Thaipusam Date: 24 - 28 January

Location: Penang / Batu Caves KL

Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai and commemorates the Lord Muruga, a hindu deity.

Over the course if three days there are many celebrations around Batu cave in Kuala Lumpur and Little India in George Town Penang. With highlights including a procession with a statue to Lord Muruga on a silver chariot. Throughout the festival there are many colorful stalls lining the streets. Expect large crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands!

February Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Chinese New Year Date: February

Location: Nationwide

Chinese New Year is usually celebrated in the month of February but the date changes within February every year. A countdown to Chinese New Year takes place in the days beforehand so it's a good time to find the date. Then on New Years there's a large celebration involving many street parades and fireworks.


Event: Chinese Valentines Day Date: Late February

Location: Penang, KL, Ipoh

During in the evening young unmarried ladies throw oranges into the sea wishing for a good soul mate. Street food, fireworks and street parades take place. This is a Chinese based festival so it largely take place in Chinese communities.


April Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Songkran Date: 13th April

Location: Nationwide

A water festival where throwing bags of water at to wash away bad luck. After that having good fun is the aim of the day. Good fun but be prepared to be very wet!


Event: Harvest Festival Date: April / May

Location: Penang / Sabah

Traditionally Known as Pesta Ka’amatan in Sabah. In Penang it's a Sikh festival which is also celebrated to mark the rice Harvest. Singing and dancing are the main celebrations. Open houses are popular and give you an insight into what a traditional households are like.


May Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Wesak Day Date: 24th May

Location: Nationwide

Devotees flock to Buddhist temples to celebrate Buddha's birthday. From early morning candle lit processions are common place along with free meals along streets and Monks chanting sacred sutras all day.


June Events & Festivals


Event: Gawai Dayak Festival Date: 1st - 2nd June

Location: Sarawak

Gawai Dayak is a harvest festival celebrated by Sarawaks indigenous people. People in traditional costumes make ceremonial offerings to the gods of rice and prosperity.


Event: Penang Durian Festival Date: 1st June - 15th July

Location: George Town

The huge sticky fruit known as Durian is celebrated during this period. Some of Penang's most prized Durian fruits are exhibited here. During the festival there will be plenty of occasions to try the "king of fruits".


Event: George Town Festival Date: 7th June - 7th July

Location: George Town

A month long cultural, theatrical and musical performances celebrating Penang's prized heritage town.


Event: Dragon Boat Festival Date: 8th- 9th June

Location: Teluk Bahang Dam

A recently new sport in Penang Dragon boat racing can be a good and exciting spectator sport. Colorful team boats race to a finish line with a mixture of speed, discipline and teamwork.


Event: Rainforest World Music Festival Date: June / July

Location: Kuching, Sarawak

An annual three day music festival celebrating the diversity in world music. With daytime workshops, craft fairs and world food stalls there's plenty to do. In the evening musical acts from all over the world perform on stage.


July Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Singer during a festival in Malaysia
Event: George Town World Heritage Day Date: 7th July

Location: George Town

George Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage city on the 7th of July 2008. Now the date is commemorated as a public holiday on the entire state of Penang.

Event: St. Anne's Festival Date: 22nd - 28th July

Location: Penang

St. Anne's Church is the center point to the carnival like celebration of the 10 day Novena. Masses and prayers are said throughout the day which are open to all believers.

Event: Ramadan Bazaar Date: July/August

Location: Nationwide

During Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month) the streets around Malaysia's towns are filled with with night stalls selling a huge variety of food and shopping bargains.

Event: Nuzul Al-Quran Date: July/August

Location: Nationwide

On the 17th day of Ramadan there is a celebration to commemorate the day Prophet Mohammed first received the Scriptures from Heaven. This is a national public holiday.


August Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Hungry Ghost Festival Date: 7th August - 4th September

Location: Nationwide

Falling on the seventh lunar month it is believed that the gates of hell are thrown open for spirits from the netherworld to roam freely in search of food. Makeshift altars are erected on streets where giant joss sticks are lit and food is offered to appease the gods. Opera and puppet shows are also conducted on a nightly bases. This is primarily a Chinese community based celebration in Malaysia.

Event: Hari Raya Aidilfitri Date: 8th - 8th August

Location: Nationwide

Muslim households celebrate by opening their houses for family and friends. Traditional Malay food is cooked for all to enjoy. Money is given to children, elderly or the poor in little green envelopes.

Event: Malaysian Independence Day Date: 31st August

Location: Nationwide

A national holiday there is often a street parade consisting of government offices to the military.



September Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Vinayagar Chaturthi Date: August / September

Location: Nationwide

A huge Hindu festival celebrating Ganesh. Nearly all Ganesh temples will have people visiting and paying respect to the Hindu deity.Kortumalai Pillayar Temple in Jalan Pudu Lama in Kuala Lumpur will be particuarlily busy.


October Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Nine Emperor Gods Festival Date: 5th - 13th October

Location: Penang / Nationwide

Celebrating when the spirits of the Nine Gods descend to earth by possessing spirit mediums by putting them in a trance. Throughout the festival activities like skewering and fire walking ceremonies are carried out.

Event: Navratri Festival Date: 5th - 13th October

Location: Nationwide

A Hindu festival where devotees pray to the Goddess Thurga, Laxmi and Sarawathy for power, wealth and education. There's also a chariot procession.

November Events & Festivals in Penang


Event: Deepavali Date: 2nd November

Location: Nationwide

A colorful festival also known as "The Festival of Lights" is celebrated with many oil lamps. This is to thank the gods for happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth.

Event: Penang Bridge Marathon Date: 17th November

Location: Second Penang Bridge

The Penang International Marathon has been held ever year since 1985. Covering 13.5km across one of South East Asia's longest bridges it attracts over 34,000 participants.


December Events & Festivals in Malaysia


Event: Jazz Festival Date: 5th- 8th December

Location: Penang

International & national jazz musicians come to play at many establishments. The main venue is usually at the Bayview Beach Resort.

Event: Christmas Eve parties Date: 24th December

Location: Nationwide

Live bands and dance shows line the area along with a host of lights and christmas decorations which has a party atmosphere..

Event: New Year Countdown Date: 31st December

Location: See below

A New Year countdown is held in all the majory towns in Malaysia. Firework displays and live stage shows are held thougout the evening.