Holidays and festivals are a major part of Malaysian life, and Kuala Lumpur holidays boast dazzling parades, light shows and exhibitions for special days of all kinds.
Government-sponsored holidays are colourful extravaganzas in Kuala Lumpur. Merdeka Square was the historic site of the August 31, 1957 inaugural hoisting of the Malayan flag; and its Merdeka Day celebrations are rich with ceremony, including traditional dancing, military parades, flying salutes and royal guests. Commemorating the declaration of the federal territories, the parades and fireworks of Kuala Lumpur’s City Day festivities coincide with the spirited celebrations of Chinese New Year and the Hindu festival of Thaipusam.
Malaysia celebrates the important holidays of each of its many ethnic groups and religions. Colours Malaysia is dazzling carnival of the arts, music, dance and crafts of all 13 states and their Malay, Chinese, Indian, British and Portuguese heritage. The Hindu festival of Deepavali, or festival of lights, bestows the fairy-tale enchantment of countless shimmering lamps to the porches and balconies of the Kuala Lumpur; while the Muslim celebration of Hari Raya brings feast-laden tables to venues all over the city as the holy month of fasting ends. Observance of the ancient Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival lures dancing throngs of brightly costumed merrymakers out into streets aglow with swaying paper lanterns.
Nature is joyfully celebrated in Kuala Lumpur. The Floral Festival, spanning January and February, brings the glorious colours and scents of Malaysia’s tropical blossoms into the limelight, with photography competitions, walking tours and a spectacular flowery parade. The splashy jubilance of the Water Festival calls attention to the serious issue of water conservation in a gleeful way, with kayak and jet-ski races, log-walking contests and catch-the-duck tournaments.