It goes without saying that Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) is the most important date in the Chinese lunar calendar. During the celebrations, entire households spend a small fortune just on festivities alone. Businesses and other forms of work stop and everyone sets aside for at least 3 days to join in the celebrations.
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National Day is celebrated every year in Malaysia on the 31st of August to commemorate the momentous occasion when the Federation of Malaya achieved independence from British rule in 1957. On the 30th of August, Malaysia’s then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman took to the Royal Selangor Club Padang, now known as the Merdeka square at 11.58pm and observed two minutes of darkness. At the stroke of midnight, the Union Jack was lowered and raised with the Flag of Malaya. The morning after, Tunku Abdul Rahman read aloud the Proclaimation of Independence, followed by seven chants of Merdeka, with the crown at the square joining following each chant. The moment is considered to be one of Malaysia’s most memorable and significant points in history.
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Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated at the end of the Ramadan month every year to mark the end of the fasting season. It is celebrated in a grand scale in Malaysia whose population and administration are predominantly Muslim. Hari Raya Puasa is also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or simply called Hari Raya for short, even though the latter term is also used for other Muslim celebrations throughout the year.
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Thaipusam is celebrated every year by the Hindu Tamil community on the full month in the Thai month (February) of the Hindu lunar calendar. As Malaysia has a sizeable Hindu Tamil population, the festival is celebrated on a large scale among the Tamil community, the main location of which culminates in Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, and in Balathanda-yuthapani temple which is located on a hill in Penang.
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Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated every year on the Hindu month of Kartik which falls around October or November on the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated by Indians of Hindu faith in Malaysia. The festival signifies, as do other festivals such as Thaipusam, the triumph of good over evil. Deepavali is a four day celebration, even though in Malaysia only one day is marked as a public holiday to celebrate this festival. Deepavali is sometimes misunderstood because the Hindu New Year is celebrated in a very similar fashion as the Chinese New Year or Hari Raya.
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