Malaysia celebrates several national public holidays each year due to its multi-cultural society. Besides its major celebrations, there are other holidays which are observed throughout the year.
Labour Day is held on the first of May each year. Some countries no longer use the word Labour and has changed it to Worker’s Day or May Day. It is an important day of great significance where this day remembers the contributions of the labour force and movements. In Malaysia, Labour Day is observed as a national public holiday which is the same with more than 80 countries across the world.
Wesak Day is celebrated by Buddhists across the world. It is a prominent day observed in countries like India, Thailand, Bhutan, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. It commemorates the:
- enlightenment or Buddhahood
- and death
of Gautama Buddha.
Besides Wesak, it is known as Vesak, Vesakha, Buddha Day and Buddha Purnima. Wesak Day usually falls in May each year. Devotees will visit Buddhist temples where they give offerings and meditate. In Malaysia, it is a public holiday observed nationally.
Yang Dipertuan Agong’s Birthday
Each year, Malaysia observes the official birthday of the Yang Dipertuan Agong, who is the head of state of the country. This is usually held in the first Saturday of June each year.
Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy where the head of state changes once every 5 years upon the election among the Conference of Rulers of the country. During the Yang Dipertuan Agong’s birthday, the country observes a public holiday where there will be a series of events and activities including conferment of titles for prominent people who have contributed to the country.
Each year, Muslims observe the Awal Muharram day which commemorates 2 significant events for the community. Muharram refers to the first month of the calendar for Muslims while Awal means early or start.
Put together, Awal Muharram means the start of the Muslim calendar. It is the date when Prophet Muhammad mads his journey from Mecca to Medina. In Malaysia, Muslims celebrate Awal Muharram by going to mosques, holding religious meetings and reciting the Quran at mosques and on television. Besides Awal Muharram, it is known as Maal Hijrah where each year, a Muslim person who have contributed to the Islamic faith is awarded the ‘Tokoh Ma’al Hijrah’.
Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
Each year, Muslims commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. This comes around the end of November or the beginning of December. It is a time to remember peace and kindness. In Malaysia, it is known as ‘Mawlid’ or ‘Maulidur Rasul’.
Malaysia observes this day as a national public holiday where Muslims will visit the mosque or visit homes with gifts and presents.
Hari Raya Haji
This is the second ‘Hari Raya’ observed by Muslims and Malaysians alike. It is known as Eid Al-Adha Hari Raya Aidiladha or Hari Raya Haji in short. It comes around in the month of Dzulhijjah on its 10th day which is the last month in the calendar. Hari Raya Haji is celebrated for 2 days in certain states where it commemorates the conclusion of the Haj each year.
It is the Festival of Sacrifice which remembers Prophet Abraham’s willingness to offer sacrifice in any kind to God including Ishmael, his own son. Then, God spared his son and substituted the sacrifice with lamb which is why this livestock is used during the festival.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day comes a week after Christmas. It is part of the year-end holiday season. People from all walks of life will celebrate New Year’s Day with much fanfare. Clubs will have countdown parties, street parties will be held, carnivals will organize and shopping malls offering sale and other promotions. It is a public holiday which comes with renewed hope and dreams for a better year ahead.
Like every other countries in the world, Malaysia observes the same public holiday where families are known to go for trips during the long break while others take the time to relax and take time-off from work.