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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 13, 2021
Headline for 6 Colourful festivals in Kuala Lumpur – Enjoying the religious and cultural differences
Joanna James Joanna James
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6 Colourful festivals in Kuala Lumpur – Enjoying the religious and cultural differences

Malaysian yearly calendar is filled with many festivals and events, and all of them are equally colourful. KL, the capital city gets to witness the best of all these celebrations since it's a melting pot of many religions and ethnic groups.



If you are spending a vacation in late January or early February at a boutique hotel in Kuala Lumpur the likes of The Kuala Lumpur Journal Hotel, you'll surely love to witness the colourfulness of this festival 'Thaipusam' celebrated by the Tamil community. The festival celebrates Murugan defeating Soorapadman, an evil spirit. Batu Caves (a little far away from KL) has a series of events to commemorate this special occasion.


Chinese New Year

KL celebrates the Chinese New Year with parades, processions, and shows filled with lion and dragon dances. Participants get dressed in vibrant and fancy dresses and dance along the streets to receive good luck, and also to chase evil spirits. Children love the Chinese New Year the most, not because of the fancy celebrations, but also because they are given 'ang pow's which are small red packets filled with lucky money (according to the Chinese beliefs, Red brings good luck and prosperity). All shopping malls and other public places are decorated with red lanterns to celebrate the New Year, in addition to all these, religious events also happen at temples.


Wesak Day

Wesak Full Moon Poya Day marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of the Lord Buddha. So, Buddhists in Malaysia celebrate this special day with a lot of devotion. Buddhist Temples organize many religious events including prayer sessions and processions filled with flowers, lamps, and candles.



Eid is considered the biggest celebration in the Islamic community, and Malaysians too celebrate it annually. The fasting period (during the Ramadan month) happens right before Eid, and during this season the Islamic community refrains from eating, drinking, and smoking from sunrise to sunset. Eid includes many religious observances at the mosque, and these rituals are normally followed by the charity and other family celebrations.


Independence Day

This is also called the National Day and is celebrated on the 31st of August each year. In 1957, Malaysia which was then called 'Malaya' gained independence from the British colonial rulers and Independence Day celebrates this national victory. Independence Day celebrations start right from the second the clock strikes 00.00 and they include live concerts, firework displays, and street parades as well.



Deepavali is a Hindu festival celebrated in November. It's also known as the 'Festival of Lights' and indeed, is a very colourful festival in Malaysia. In addition to heading to the Hindu Kovils early in the morning, locals decorate their houses and business entities with patterns and shapes on the ground with coloured chalk. They also scatter coloured rice on these patterns. Expect to find many Indian food items such as samosas and murukku on sale during this time, especially in Little India.