Malaysians love a celebration, and with 2015 recently announced as Malaysia's official Year of Festivals, it is definitely shaping up as perfect time to visit. The year-long program delivers a diverse mix of 50 festivals and events taking place to tempt every taste and interest.
And there is no time like the present to experience MYFEST. February is filled with a rich and diverse festival program, and here is a line-up of some of the best ones to inspire travellers.
Customarily, the religious Thaipusam Festival is celebrated during the month of Thai in the Hindu calendar (January 15 – February 15) at an astronomically significant point of time. This year, the Hindu devotees in Malaysia will celebrate Thaipusam on 3 February when the Hindu Temple at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, will host one of the largest religious gatherings in the country. A truly spectacular sight, Hindu devotees from all over the world will commence an 8-hour procession from the Kuala Lumpur city centre to the cave temple, bearing offerings ranging from milk in colourful pots to elaborate kavadis carried on their shoulders.
Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015
Held for the first time in Penang in 21 – 22 February, this 2-day festival will feature 15 hot air balloons floating against the picturesque backdrop of George Town's UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides the impressive hot air balloons, there will also be a wealth of family-friendly activities on offer including inflatable playgrounds, creative workshops, photography competition and more – not to mention a chance to taste some of George Town's deservedly famous cuisine!
World Kite Festival 2015
From 25 February – 1 March the skies over Pasir Gudang in Johor will fill with a mass of colouful and vibrant kite creations featuring in the World Kite Festival 2015. Asia's largest kit festival, the event attracts Kite enthusiasts from all over the world – and there is no doubting that they take their kite making and kite flying activities seriously! In 2014, 180 kite-flyers from 25 countries participated, proudly showing off their latest creations and kite-flying technology! Be enchanted by the amazing variety of kites, as well as some unforgettable kite-flying demonstrations.
Johor Bahru Jazz Fest 2015
From 26 – 28 February, Johor Bahru will sway to the swinging sounds of some of the world's best jazz musicians. With a fantastic program of performers including world-class saxophonist Sadao Watanabe, Italian acapella group Mezzotono, Steve Thornton, Jeremy Monteiro and Alberto Marsico, as well as local performers Jazz-Blues Brothers, The David Gomes Jazz Ensemble with Junji Delfino, and the Xiong Quintet, this is definitely an event not to be missed by jazz enthusiasts and music lovers generally.
Malaysian Chinese New Year Open House Celebration
Of course Chinese New Year marks one of the month's biggest celebrations. Witness spectacular parades right around the country as Chinese Malaysians usher in the Lunar New Year and mark the start of the Year of the Goat with lion dances, mandarin oranges, and other traditional delicacies.
One of the best places to experience Chinese New Year is Penang, with its festivities and various activities and performances taking place against the dramatic backdrop of George Town's world heritage site. George Twon is steeped in history, and Chinese New Year offers up an unparalleled opportunity to learn about its various Chinese clan associations and culture, as well as the chance to sample traditional Chinese fare, play some Chinese chess and witness art and craft demonstrations presentations and much, much more.
With adventure, culture, cuisine, beaches, jungle, nature and accommodation to suit every budget, with friendly locals and year round sunshine to boot. And with Festivals happening right across the country throughout the year, you can be sure that whatever time you visit, there will be something to appeal.