23 October 2008

Malaysia - you are welcome anytime

Malaysia’s festivals and events attract because there is something for everyone. The country is a mixture of cultures, languages, religions and traditions so that its calendar has lots of events and festivals.

Country’s Muslim population celebrates Aidilfitri (or Eid al-Fitr). The celebration is known as “Day of celebration” (Hari Raya) in Malaysia. In this period, people living in cities pay visits to their relatives or friends in the countryside. Thus, cities are quieter in the month of Syawal. During this month, many Muslim families hold “open houses” by inviting neighbours or friends belonging to other races to join their celebration.
For the occasion, many houses and public buildings are decorated and brightly lit to mark the celebration. So get prepared to be enchanted and take pictures after dark falls.

For foodies, Hari Raya has special dishes to taste: rice cakes wrapped in coconut leaves (called ketupat) – being the promotional symbol of the season and featured on greeting cards or decorative objects. Ketupat is served with spicy beef cooked in coconut milk.

Malaysian Hindu community celebrates The festival of Lights (Diwali or Deepavali) in October or November. In Sanskrit, deepavali means ”row of lights” so that temples and houses are decorated with flowers and lanterns. Hindu homes are also decorated with candles and lights who are meant to invite inside the goddess of wealth – Lakshmi.

Christmas Day - what is different in Malaysia is that at Christmas, you don’t’ get snow but around 20 degrees and, in most cases, sun. On Christmas Eve in Malaysia, people of different beliefs attend night sermons where carols are sung. In the kitchens, housewives and chefs prepare local delicacies (very hot curry) as well as Western food (turkey or fruitcakes).

Moon Cake Festival holds place in September and is an important Chinese celebration. The festival celebrates the end of summer. People offer each other moon cakes which are round pastries filled with a paste of lotus seeds. If you are health conscious, don’t worry, because nowadays they have healthy moon cakes made without fats. Moon cakes are considered delicacies and their price ranges from 10 to 50 dollars.

If you like good food and your palate likes to experience new tastes, then Malaysian Gourmet Festival is right for you. In 2008 it is held in November and it gathers International chefs into Malaysian restaurants. During the festival you can find special prices and offers in restaurants as well as cooking classes or gourmet tours (limos which will carry you to selected restaurants).

Malaysia Flora Festival is a must see, if you love flowers and go to Malaysia in July. It celebrates the beauty of this blessed land and the flowers that can be found there. The Flower Parade on the streets of Kuala Lumpur is the main attraction of this festival.

Wesak Day is a Buddhist celebration, also called Buddha’s birthday and celebrating the birth and Nirvana enlightenment of Gautama Buddha. This festival includes activities like lectures on inner reflection and Buddhism and gift giving.

In May each year takes place in Malaysia – The Colours of Malaysia, a festival celebrating the cultural diversity of people who live in the country. There is dance and music specific for each culture. The Festival is full of colour and sound and will delight every spectator.

For sport lovers Malaysia has to offer Malaysian F1 Grand Prix held on Sepang International Circuit and Sarawak Regatta and many more competitions or festivals.

Malaysia is a world in itself and it has much to offer to its visitors.

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