Malaysia, in line with its multi-cultural status celebrates many festivals from various ethnic backgrounds and religions. Their three main popular festivals are the Eid ul Fitri to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Chinese New Year and Diwali. Each of these major festivals belong to a different religion, namely, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Malaysia is a secular country and proudly portray themselves as 1Malaysia. I got a sense of this unity when I attended their Chinese New Year Open House at Taiping in the Perak state of Malaysia.
Even though this was a festival celebrating the Chinese New Year, a lot of people from various ethnic backgrounds and religions participated in this colorful event. Till I attended this event, I hardly understood the concept of an open house, but once I became a part of this event, I understood that open houses are a way for Malaysia to help its citizens and its visitors to enjoy its various festivals. Each time, a different city is chosen as the host city depending on the work it has done for the country. And each open house focuses on bringing a great festival to its people.
At this open house, I got treated to some fantastic local food, stunning dance performances, a sight of Malaysia’s prime minister and an entertaining fireworks display at the end of the event. The highlight of the event for me were the lion and the dragon dances. The act of balance of the lion dance is something that I find very interesting. Plus, these dances and performances gave me so many insights into the colorful Malaysian Chinese culture.
If you ever happen to be in Malaysia during an open house or during the festival days, I would recommend you to be a part of them. Like all festivals, it helps us understand the local culture better and it is a celebration with great food, fun and frolic. What more do we need as travelers and human beings?