Penang, Malaysia



Penang like the rest of Malaysia is home to a diverse cultural community comprising mainly of Malays, Chinese and Indians. The state is also home to several religious communities including Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists. Regardless of their cultural and religious diversity, Penangites like the rest of the people of the country are united as Malaysians. Many of the festivals are public events welcoming visitors to experience.

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Hari Raya Puasa
'Hari Raya Puasa' or
'Hari Raya Aidilfitri' (period varies) is celebrated by the Muslim community after the fasting month of Ramadan. The festivity generally lasts for two days where the tradition of 'open house' is practiced, where guests are welcomed to Muslim homes for food and drinks.

Chinese New Year
The Chinese (Lunar) New Year falls in January or February and celebrated with plenty of feasting, traditional lion dance and fireworks. Fourteen days later there is a festival in which the gods from numerous temples around the island are brought out for processions with routes including Chulia Street. 

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January of February). A pilgrimage procession is held starting from a Hindu temple at Waterfall Road where devotees smash coconuts along the road and pierce their bodies with skewers and hooks.

Thaipusam in Penang by grahamwell

Vesak is a Buddhist festival celebrated in May and mainly by Penang's Chinese community. Temples will typically be filled with devotees and there are the various activities including street parades.

Penang International Dragon Boat Festival
Penang International Dragon Boat Festival (period varies) is a two-day sports event held at Teluk Bahang Dam. The event also attracts teams from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Canada and the United States.
Dragon Boat Festival by Ben's Optic
Penang Bon Odori Carnival
Penang Bon Odori Carnival is a traditional Japanese festival held in July and organized by Penang's Japanese community. Usually held at the Esplanade, the festival is a showcase of Japanese culture and features Japanese dance, music and food.

Feast of St. Anne
The Feast of St. Anne is a Christian festival held on 29 July at St. Anne's Church in Bukit Mertajam (on the mainland side of Penang). The festival features a candle-light procession at the church.

Nine Emperor Gods
Nine Emperor Gods vegetarian festival is held at Taoist temples for nine days of the 9th lunar month in the Chinese calendar, normally in September or October. The festival features processions with devotees wearing traditional white, fire walking ceremony and bodies pierced with skewers.

Deepavali or the
'Festival of Lights' is another Hindu festival occurring in October or November. The festival celebrates good over evil when the Hindu god Rama triumph over the demon Raavana.

Penang Floral Festival
Penang Floral Festival is a one week festival held at the Penang Botanic Gardens usually from late May to early June. The festival features a floral competition and vendors promoting various types of flora.

Penang Bridge Marathon
Penang Bridge Marathon is an annual event held in November 2011, starting near Queensbay Mall on Penang Island, running over Penang Bridge (13.5 km) and ending in Butterworth on the mainland. This is the only time of the year when Penang Bridge is closed for several hours.
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