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Festivals in my country

 
Malaysia is a multi-cultural country. The three dominant races in Malaysia are the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians. Each race has its unique culture and customary festivals. Public holidays are declared on the three important festivals celebrated by the Malays, Chinese and Indians, namely Hari Raya Puasa, Chinese New Year and Deepavali respectively.

Hari Raya Puasa, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, is a major event for the Muslim community. It celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan, during which all Muslims are required to fast. The exact date of this festival is determined by moon-sighting. A typical Malay family usually begins the day with a trip to the mosque in the early morning for prayers, followed by a visit to their ancestral graves to pay their respects to family members who have passed away. After that, they go on to visit the homes of relatives and friends. At home, the young will ask their elders' forgiveness for any wrongdoing, and they will usually be given a token sum of money called duit raya.

The Chinese New Year is the most important festival to the Chinese. The date changes from year to year, unlike the Western New Year which is always on 1 January, because it follows the Chinese lunar calendar. The festivities begin on the eve of the occasion with the reunion dinner, during which the whole family will gather to have a feast. Chinese New Year is traditionally ushered in with firecrackers and lion dances. Chinese families visit their relatives, especially their elders, with gifts of mandarin oranges and New Year delicacies. During these visits, they enjoy snacks like cookies and pineapple tarts. It is also the custom for married couples to present children with money in small red packets called hong bao.

The Malaysian Hindu community celebrates a major festival called Deepavali, also known as Diwali or the Festival of Lights. It is usually celebrated for five days around the months of October and November. Before the festival, Hindus clean their houses and business premises thoroughly. During this festival, Hindu families decorate their homes with oil lamps, along with patterns of colored rice known as kolam. Families put on new clothes and go to the temple before visiting their relatives and friends. Traditional gifts like sweets and dried fruit are exchanged. There is feasting while children play with fireworks.

The festivals in Malaysia are similar in that they draw people closer together be it family members, relatives, neighbors or friends. It is a time for renewing ties and showing respect for one another. Learning more about these festivals can help promote tolerance and harmony.

     
 
 
 

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