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Not Only Hari Raya, But Malaysia Observed 5 Other Celebrations Last Week – A Nod To Our Diversity

Not Only Hari Raya, But Malaysia Observed 5 Other Celebrations Last Week – A Nod To Our Diversity

Last week, Malaysia observed six celebrations although not all are recognised as public holidays.

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Malaysia is known for its many public holidays and festivities due to our multicultural and multireligious makeup.

READ MORE: Malaysia Among The Top In Public Holidays! 

As a testament to this, six celebrations were observed last week alone. National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang noted this and said Malaysia’s diversity is its most valuable asset.

The six celebrations observed last week in Malaysia were:

  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri (10 – 11 April)
  • Ugadi aka Telugu New Year (9 April)
  • Tamil New Year aka Puthandu (14 April)
  • Vaisakhi (13 April)
  • Vishu Day aka Malayalee New Year (14 April)
  • Songkran (13 – 15 April)

What is each of the celebrations about?

Although not all celebrations are considered public holidays, it did not deter people from making the events as festive as possible.

If you’re not sure what each of the celebrations entailed, here’s a glimpse of the festivities this month:

Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the fasting month. During this time, families will return to their hometowns and seek forgiveness from their loved ones. There are usually open houses where they welcome neighbours and friends to join in the celebration and enjoy the good food.

Ugadi is also known as the Telugu New Year and celebrations start with prayers at the temple followed by rituals, processions, traditional dances, and almsgiving.

Malaysia Telugu Foundation president Datuk R. Kantharao Ackunaidu said this year’s Ugadi is known as Sri Krodhi Nama Ugadi and a communal prayer event was held at Sri Ramar Temple in Selayang, Selangor.

The Tamil New Year, not to be confused with Deepavali, is also known as Puthandu. This year, a celebration was held at Little India, Brickfields. Guests enjoyed various traditional South Indian foods, musical performances, and games.

The Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi, a spring harvest celebration in Punjab and northern India, and the birth of the Khalsa order by the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It’s a time to express gratitude, seek blessings, and rejoice in the spirit of togetherness and prosperity.

The celebrations are held at all gurdwara or Sikh places of worship starting with a continuous recitation of the Guru Ganth Sahib Ji, the Sikh holy scriptures. At Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya, activities included singing spiritual hymns, seminars, displays of Sikh martial arts, a medical camp, and children’s tea parties.

The Vishu Kanni is a collection of auspicious items which is the first thing the family will see on the morning of Vishu. Image: Sivalal Sadasivan/Malay Mail

Vishu Day is also known as the Malayalee New Year and involves several components. The celebration starts with the eldest female member of the house with the Vishu Kanni, referring to the practice of sighting auspicious items at sunrise to have a prosperous year ahead.

It involves setting up auspicious items such as a statue of Krishna or Guruvayurappan with flowers, fruits, ornaments, coins, clothes, and holy books.

The Vishy Kaineetham involves the elders offering money to the youngest family members. Meanwhile, Vishu Sadya is a feast prepared by the whole family with at least eight to ten vegetarian dishes.

Songkran is a celebration of the Thai New Year. Since there’s a Siamese community in Malaysia (and both countries are neighbours after all), Malaysians get to participate in the festivities too. The celebration is observed in some Buddhist temples with prayers.

Songkran is more popularly recognized as the water festival with the public splashing and spraying each other with water in the streets. Water is an important symbol in Songkran because it symbolises purification and “washing away” the previous year to welcome the new year.

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