Festivals and celebrations in Pahang are many and often because the state, being part of Malaysia, is delightfully multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious, with a government dedicated to defending freedom of religion for all.
In fact, the main festivals of all the major races in Malaysia have been elevated into national festivals.
National holidays, if not state holidays, are accorded to the festivals to enable all citizens of the country to enjoy them, irrespective of race or religion.
And not surprisingly, you will find Malaysians visiting their neighbors and friends of different ethnic and religious backgrounds during festivals - a unique tradition of Malaysians.
This tradition ties bonds of lasting friendship and harmony among the various races in the country.
In other words, festivals and celebrations in Pahang and Malaysia are enjoyed not only by the ethnic race celebrating the event, but also by the other races as well.
The many festivals and celebrations mostly fall inevitably at various times of the year according to the specific ethnic or religious calendars.
And therefore we always find that the "New Year" for Malaysians doesn’t just fall on the 1st of January.
Although 1st of January is always celebrated with joy and fireworks in the big cities and towns, we lucky Malaysians do also have other "New Years" to celebrate.
For instance, the Malays, being Muslims, celebrate their New Year on the 1st of Muharram or Awal Muharram, which is based on the Islamic lunar calendar (the Hijri), and this falls on different days of the Gregorian calendar.
And so do the Chinese, Indians and other minority groups residing peacefully in the country. They too have their own religious New Year to celebrate, based on their own religious and zodiac calendars. (see below)
There are occasions however, when nature collaborates and religious celebrations do sometimes fall on, or nearly on, the same day together, creating a gigantic celebration by different faiths on that day or week.
When that happens you will find a really special occasion of remarkable splendour and goodwill in the country, when many faiths observed their festivals and the spirit of joy, happiness and enlightenment on that particular day or in the week.
For instance, on that day Hindus and Sikhs may be at their temples celebrating some spiritual event, while Christians may be at their churches on a special Christianity religious event.
And while the Chinese folks celebrate their lunar new year, the Malay muslims will be celebrating the aidil fitri or the aidil adha, and thus the explaining the Malaysian term "Kongsi Raya", a joint celebration of two cultures that happens close together in the week.
This fact happened on many occasions during the past years in the country.
END OF SIDE-NOTE
In Pahang, and of course in Malaysia as a whole, the official New Year is celebrated nationally on the 1st of January based on the Gregorian solar calendar of 12 months and 365 days.
However, as mentioned earlier, other "New Years" are celebrated by the people.
The Malays, being Muslims, celebrate their New Year on the 1st of Muharram (known as "Awal Muharram" by the Malays) following the "Hijri" or Islamic lunar calendar, of 354 days in a year.
For the Chinese in Pahang and Malaysia, the New Year usually falls in January or February of the Gregorian calendar.
For the Tamil Hindus, the new Year is called Varusha Pirappu. The Tamils believe that on this new year day Lord Brahma, who Hindus believe is the creator of the world, began his divine work.
So also are the Malayalees, who celebrated on that day their New Year called Vishu.
And the Sinhalese (mostly Sri Lankans) with their New Year called Aluth Avuruddha.
Sikhs (mostly Punjabis) also celebrate the Vaisakhi, which marks the anniversary of the creation of Khalsa by the 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. There are about 90,000 Sikhs in the country.
Malaysians of Thai origin celebrate their new year with a festival called "Songkran" (New Year and Water Festival). During this festival, people get wet when they get sprayed or bathed with water.
Besides the new year, there are other major religious festivals and celebrations in Pahang and Malaysia.
The following are some of them that I will endeavor to describe in this website. And hopefully other festivals and joyous occasions will be added from time to time:
So, living in a diverse racial and religious society of course means the advantage of an all-year-round of joys and merriment by Malaysians of all races during their religious festivals and celebrations.
And foreign tourists in Malaysia are always welcomed and encouraged to participate and mingle in the joys of the celebrations, because peace and harmony amongst people of all races are what characterize Malaysia – a close-knit family of diverse ethnic groups.
Fortunate, aren’t we, Malaysians?
As always, from me...
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