Events and Festival in Penang

Races, Events, Festivals

Penang has a whole host of exciting festivals and events lined up throughout the year. Just like any other state in Malaysia, Penangites celebrate all the major religious festivals, namely Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha (Muslims), Chinese New Year and Wesak Day (Buddhists), and Deepavali and Thaipusam (Hindus).

Penang, having such a large Chinese population, often plays host to many colourful Chinese events and festivals, which are not normally celebrated widely in other parts of the country.

On Wesak Day, thousands of Chinese take to the temples to celebrate the origin of the Buddhist religion. At night, there is even a procession of floats, flowers and flags starting from Burmah Road.

Certain festivals are unique to Penang, such as the International Dragon Boat Festival, where participants from across the world take part in an annual Chinese dragon boat race, and the Penang Festival, a yearly jamboree celebrating the island's colourful heritage.


Bon Odori Festival

Bon Odori Festival

Organised by the Malaysian Japanese Society, the Bon Odori Festival is the Japanese version of the Chinese's Hungry Ghost Festival, where Japanese expatriates both young and old take part in this carnival-like festival to pay homage to their descendants.

Remarks: Visit www.visitpenang.gov.my for more information on the dates and venues each year.


 

Nine Emperor God Festival

Nine Emperor God Festival

The worship of Nine Emperor Gods (Known as Kew Ong Yah in Hokkie, and Koh Wong Yeh in Cantonese) is very prevalent in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
Every year, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held for nine days, from the first day to the ninth day of the 9th lunar month. This is when the spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods which are believed to dwell in the starts, descend to earth and possess the spirits mediums, putting them in a trance.

During the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, many devotees will go on a vegetarian diet. Stalls are set up to sell vegetarian food, vegetarian cake and goodies. An opera show will also be performed as a mark of respect to the Gods.

During the 9 days, you will be able to witness a variety of events like the Spear Skewing Ceremony, the Making of the Herbal Medicine and the Fire walking Ceremony. These rituals are spectacular, extraordinary but yet challenging.

Penang International Dragon Boat Race

Attracting participants from all over the world since its inception in 1979, this annual event was created as a way to venerate the celestial dragon of the Chinese culture. Originating from China, dragon boat festivals are now being held in various locations around the globe. Watch colourful boats fitted with decorative dragon heads race each other accompanied by the loud and rhythmic thumping of the drums.

Race dates vary every year.

Remarks: www.penangdragonboat.gov.my - for more information

Penang International Floral Festival

Penang International Floral Festival

This is the time of the year where Penang Botanical Gardens is covered with flowers in different shapes, sizes and colours.

The highlight of this festival is a beautiful parade made up of elaborately-decorated floral floats.

Remarks: Visit www.visitpenang.gov.my for more information on the dates and venues every year.

St. Anne's Festival

St. Anne's Festival

Held every year on 29 July, the St. Anne’s Festival is an annual event where Penang’s Catholics congregate in St. Anne's Church to pay homage to their patron saint.

At night, there is a candlelight procession by thousands of devotees on the church grounds.

Wesak Day

Organised by the Malaysian Buddhist Association, Penang’s Buddhists will take to the streets around Jalan Burmah in a night-long procession to celebrate the founding and founder of their religion.

Taking place every year, the date on which Wesak Day falls depends on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. 

Tel: (604) 262 0202


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