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I don’t think there’s a Malaysian festival that I don’t like and I think we are very fortunate that we have many of them. In my family alone, we celebrate at least three main ones as we’re a huge but close knit family with members of different races and religions.

Chinese New Year is, of course, a major celebration and every member of the family, no matter which part of the world they’re in, would gather at my parents house for 15 days of feasting.

My parents are quite traditional and insist that we all keep to the many ‘don’ts’, including not wearing black, washing our hair or sweeping the floor on the first day.

A couple of my siblings are married to Indians, and so the family has also embraced the festival as one of our own. Mum often goes to the Hindu temples to offer prayers despite not being a Hindu, and she relishes any occasion to put on her saree.

About half of our family are Catholics and so Christmas is almost as big an event for us as Chinese New Year. We would have a giant tree up with brightly wrapped presents underneath and every year, one of us men would take turns to play Santa Claus.

One of my nieces is getting married to a fine young Dayak man from Sarawak soon so who knows, the family may want to give a nod of the Gawai Dayak festival as well next year.

What’s your favourite Malaysian festival and how do you celebrate it? Share your story via the comments section below.

Image taken from flickr from Colin Charles via the Creative Commons License.

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