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Holidays and festivals

February Chinatown streets are crowded for weeks with shoppers buying traditional luck. Lion, unicorn or dragon dances welcome in the New Year and, unlike in Singapore thousands of firecrackers are let off to ward off evil spirits. Chap Goh mei is the 15th day of theChinese New Year and brings celebrations to a dose; it is marked with a final dinner another fire cracker fest, prayers and offerings. The Chinese believe that husbands, girls should throw oranges into the river/sea on this day. In known as Guan Hsiao cheih (Lantern Festival).

March-April

Easter (movable)celebrated in Melaka with candle-lit processions and special service Good Friday is a public holiday in Sabah and Sarawak.
Labour day (1st public holiday).
Kuran aran (1st) celebrated by the Bidayuh tribe in Sarawak after the paddy harvest is over.
Wesak day (moveable public holiday except La buan,l8 May 2000) the most important, celebrates the Buddha's birth, death and enlightenment e country are packed with devotees offering incense, joss-sticks r Buddhism and special exhibitions are held. In Melaka there is a decorated floats, bands, dancers and acrobatics.

June

Birthday of His Majesty the King (first Saturday of the month: public holiday mainly celebrated in KL with processions
Dragon Boat Festival (movable) honours the suicide of an ancient Chinese hero, Qu Yuan. He Tried to press for political reform by drowning himself in the Mi luo River as a protest against corruption. In an attempt to save him fishermen played. drums and threw rice dumplings to try and distract vultures His beat, commemorated with dragon boat races and the enthusiastic consumption of dumplings; biggest celebrations are in Penang.

August

Hari Kebangsaan or National Day (31,-f public holiday) commemorates Malaka independence (merdeka) in 1457- Big celebration in KL with processions of f representing all the states; best places to see I ton the Padang (Merdeka Square) or on TV in Sarawak, Hari Kebanasaan is celebrated in a different divisional capital each years
Mooncake or Lantern Festival (movable). This Chinese festival marks the overthrow of the Mongol Dynasty in China celebrated, as the name suggests, with the exchange and eat in a of mooncakes. At according to Chinese legend secret message revolt were carried inside these cakes and led to the Uprising. In the evening, light festive lanterns while women pray to the goddess of the Moon

August-September

Festival of the Hungry Ghosts ;movable; on the seventh moon in the Chinese September calendar, souls in purgatory are believed to return to earth to feast. Food is offer these wandering spirit, Altars are set up in the streets and candles with face burned on them

October

Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods or Kiew ong Yeah (movable) marks the re' the spirits of the nine emperor gods to earth The mediums whom they are to p purify themselves by observing a vegetarian diet. The gods possess the medium go into trance and are then carried on sedan chairs whose seats are comprised of razor-sharp blades or spikes. Devotees visit temples dedicated to the nine gods. A strips yellow cotton is often bought from in temple and worn on the right wrist as a - devotion. The ceremonies usually culminate with a fire-walking ritual

October-November

Deepvali (movable. public holiday except Sarawak and Labuan, 26 October 2000) November Hindu festival of light Is commemorates they victory of light over darkness and good over evil the triumphant return of ,Rama after his defeat of the evil Ramayana in the Hindu epic the Ramayana Every Hindu home is brightly lit and decorated for the occasion



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