Holidays

2014 Malaysia School Holiday

The Ministry of Education released the 2014 Malaysia School Holiday Calendar.  These should be pretty definitive, but please note that these dates can change.  This list plus the public holidays calendar should help you in your travel planning.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - December 6, 2013 at 4:26 PM

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31 days: Thaipusam photo tour announced

31 days of Living in PenangI’ve mentioned the Thaipusam festival on the blog before.  It is a Hindu festival that happens every year in January.  It is a very colorful and exotic thing, and while I do not recommend it for younger children, it is something that you might be interested in experiencing.

 

Well our good friend Dave Ray will be running a photo tour here in Penang during the next Thaipusam Festival.  You will get to see the tour, embedded with the people, trailing the participants.  There will be opportunities to work with the other tour participants to learn new photography techniques, and story telling with photography.

The details can be found at Dave’s tour page.  The tour price includes the hotel and meals plus all the work Dave’s put into getting you into the heart of the festival.

Spaces are limited, so you need to sign up as quickly as possible.

In general, I think photo tours and photo workshops like these are a great way to get into the local culture.  The tour guide has done a lot of the legwork to get you an insider’s perspective, in this case into the Thaipusam festival.  The advantage of a photo tour over a regular tour is that 1) you can see what you’re going to see because the photographer often shows you the images you should be expecting to capture.  and 2) you take home with you all your images to remember what you’ve experienced.  I highly recommend photo tours and will be pointing out other photo tours in Penang as they come up.

[I have not been paid for promoting this tour, I just believe in the product and the photographer.]

 

 

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - October 14, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Categories: 31 days, Activities, Holidays, Photography   Tags:

2013 Malaysia School Holiday Calendar

The Ministry of Education released the 2013 Malaysia School Holiday Calendar.  These should be pretty definitive, but please note that these dates can change.  This list plus the public holidays calendar should help you in your travel planning.

Check out the public holidays in the surrounding countries to help make the most of your time off.

Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - January 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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2013 Public Holidays of the surrounding nations

As you plan to use your time off during the Malaysia public holidays for 2013, you might be interested in traveling in the region.  Here is a list of the public holidays for Brunei, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.  There is a list of flights into and out of Penang to help you make plans.

Hope this helps you make the most of your 2013.

Brunei Public Holidays 2013

Brunei Public Holiday
01 Jan New Year’s Day
24 Jan Mohammed’s birthday
10 Feb Chinese New Year
23 Feb National Day
31 May Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day
05 Jun Israk Mikraj
09 Jul Ramadan Begins
15 Jul His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 67th Birthday
25 Jul Nuzul Al-Quraan
08 Aug Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
15 Oct Hari Raya Aidil Adha
04 Nov 1st Day of Muharram 1435 (Islamic New Year)
25 Dec Christmas

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China Public Holidays 2013

China Public Holiday
01 – 03 Jan New Year’s Day
09 – 15 Feb Spring Festival
04 – 06 Apr Qingming
29 Apr – 01 May May Day
10 – 12 Jun Dragon Boat
19 – 21 Sep Mid-Autumn Day
01  – 07 Oct National Day

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Indonesia Public Holidays 2013

Indonesia Public Holiday
01 Jan New Year’s Day
24 Jan The Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
10 Feb Chinese New Year
29 Mar Good Friday
09 May Ascension Day of Jesus Christ
25 May Waisak Day
06 Jun Ascension of the Prophet
05 – 07 Aug Shared Holiday
08 – 09 Aug Eid al-Fitr
17 Aug Independence Day
14 Oct Shared Holiday
15 Oct Eid al-Adha
05 Nov Muharram
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec Shared Holiday

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Singapore Public Holidays 2013

Singapore  Public Holiday
01 Jan New Year’s Day
10 – 11 Feb Chinese New Year
29 Mar Good Friday
01 May Labour Day
24 May Vesak Day
08 Aug Hari Raya Puasa
09 Aug National Day
15 Oct Hari Raya Haji
03 Nov Deepavali
25 Dec Christmas Day

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Vietnam Public Holidays 2013

Vietnam Public Holiday
01 Jan New Year’s Day
09 Feb Eve of Tet Lunar New Year
10 Feb Tet New Year (4 days)
30 Apr Reunification Day
01 May Labour Day
02 Sep National Day

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Thailand Public Holidays 2013

Thailand Public Holiday
01 Jan New Years Day
11 Mar Makha Bucha Day
08 Apr Substitute day holiday for Chakri Day
13 – 17 Apr Songkran Festival (Thai New Year
01 May Labour Day
06 May Substitute day holiday for Coronation Day
24 May Visakha Bucha Day
30 Jul Asahna Bucha Day
12 Aug H.M. Queens Birthday
12 Aug Mothers Day (not offically a public holiday)
23 Oct Chulalongkorn Day
05 Dec H.M. Kings Birthday
10 Dec Constitution Day
31 Dec New Years Eve

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Cambodia Public Holidays 2013

Cambodia Public Holiday
01 Jan International New Year Day
07 Jan Victory over Genocide Day
25 Feb Meak Bochea Day
08 Mar International Women Day
14 -16 Apr Khmer New Year Day
01 May International Labor Day
13 – 15 May King’s Birthday, Norodom Sihamoni
24 May Visak Bochea Day
28 May Royal Plowing Ceremony
01 Jun International/Cambodian Children Day
18 Jun King’s Mother Birthday, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk
24 Sep Constitutional Day
03 – 05 Oct Pchum Ben Day
15 Oct Commemoration Day of King’s Father, Norodom Sihanouk
23 Oct Paris Peace Agreements Day
29 Oct King’s Coronation Day, Norodom Sihamoni
09 Nov Independence Day
16 – 18 Nov Water Festival Ceremony
10 Dec International Human Rights Day

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Laos Public Holidays 2013

Laos Public Holiday
01 Jan New Year’s Day
06 Jan Pathet Lao Day
20 Jan Army Day
23 Jan Chinese New Year
08 Mar International Women’s Day
22 Mar Day of the People’s Party
13 Apr Lao New Year (Pi Mai)
28 Apr Buddha Day (Vesak)
01 May Labour Day
25 May Vixakha Bouxa (Buddha’s Birthday)
01 Jun Children’s Day
02 Dec National Day

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Myanmar Public Holidays 2013

Myanmar Public Holiday
04 Jan Independence Day
12 Jan Kayin New Year Day
12 Feb Union Day
02 Mar Peasants Day
26 Mar Tabaung Full Moon Day
27 Mar Armed Forces Day
12 – 21 Apr Thingyan Holidays
01 May Labour Day
24 May Kasone Full Moon Day
19 Jul Martyrs Day
22 Jul Waso Full Moon Day
19 Oct Thadingyut Full Moon Day
17 Nov Tazaungmone Full Moon Day
27 Nov National Day
25 Dec Christmas Day

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - January 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM

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Thaipusam celebration in Penang

Thaipusam in Penang

Crowd at the Thaipusam celebration in Penang Malaysia.  Courtesy of DaveRayPhoto.com

Crowd at the Thaipusam celebration in Penang Malaysia. Courtesy of DaveRayPhoto.com

The Indian holiday of Thaipusam is coming up this Sunday.  If you’ve had the opportunity to drive down the end of Scotland Road on the way to Jalan Gottlieb you would see the tents that have been set up in preparation for the festivities.  Many of us foreigners living in Penang have no idea what Thaipusam is about, so I did a little research and this is what I found.

My friend Dave Ray started my information gathering.  Last year he spent a week following a group of Kavadi makers (more about this below) living in Penang.  Dave narrated a slideshow of his stunning images, definitely worth your time to watch.

Timing of Thaipusam

The name Thaipusam comes from the Tamil month “Thai”, which falls around January and Februrary, and “Pusam”, one of the stars in the hindu astrology.  Pusam is most austere (prominent) during the full moon of the month of Thai.

The Legend of Thaipusam

The story behind the festival involves the Hindu god, Murugan, also known as Kartikeya (AKA Subramaniam, AKA Sanmukha, AKA Shadanana, AKA Skanda, AKA Guha).  The festival commemorates goddess Parvati, Murugan’s mother, giving Murugan a ‘Vel’.  The Vel is a magical weapon that has sakti or powers that Murugan uses to vanquish three demons, Surapadman, Tarakasuran and Singamugan, representing the forces of ego, passion and greed.

The Observance of Thaipusam

It is said that a true devotee of Murugan will gain the power to overcome ego, passion and greed, if he objserves fasts and spiritual disciplines during the period before Thaipusam.  Some say 3 days of fasting, others say up to 48 days.  Stricter Hindus don’t just fast from food, but from a whole list of activities: sex, sleeping on the floor, and if a death should occur, the devotee would not be able to participate in any mourning ceremonies.

The Kavadi

During Thaipusam in Penang, the devotee carrying the Kavadi, pierced through the cheeks and tongue.  Courtesy of DaveRayPhoto.com

The devotee carrying the Kavadi, pierced through the cheeks and tongue. Courtesy of DaveRayPhoto.com

The Kavadi is the burden carried by the devotee who is the designated burden carrier.  I encourage you to watch Dave’s slideshow to see the awe inspiring devotion that goes into making and carrying the Kavadi.  Before putting on the Kavadi, the burden carrier has piercings put through his cheeks and his tongue.  The Kavadi, weighing more than 100 lbs is carried on the shoulders of the devotee.  The devotee then walks, dances and sometimes sprints along the parade route to the Hilltop Temple.

The Trek to Hilltop Temple

In Penang Thaipusam is celebrated at Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple (Hilltop) along Jalan Waterfall in Georgetown.  The Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) told the Star newspaper that a million devotees are expected to throng the  Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple this year.

Family activities

From all reports, this is not a family friendly festival.  Hindu families are expected to meet the burden carrier at the temple.  The Kavadi burdens are quite elaborate, and interesting and will be something to be seen and photographed, but the piercings are pretty graphic and can be scary for younger children unprepared to seeing it.

I would go if a Hindu friend’s family invited me and my family to join them.  I don’t think I would show up on my own.

Please share about Thaipusam in Penang

Have you seen Thaipusam in Penang?  Please share your experiences in the comments below.

 

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - January 24, 2013 at 5:45 AM

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2013 Malaysia Public Holidays

Below is a list of the National and State Public Holidays for 2013. National and Penang Holidays are highlighted. Knowing the public holidays in advance can help you plan your time here or time away.

 

Date Public Holiday Applies to
01 January New Year’s Day National except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Terenganu
14 January Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan’s Birthday Negeri Sembilan
20 January Sultan of Kedah’s birthday Kedah
24 January Mohammed’s birthday National
27 January Thaipusam Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Selangor
01 February Federal Territory Day KL, Labuan, Putrajaya
10 February Chinese New Year National
11 February Chinese New Year 2nd day National
12 February Chinese New Year (replacement holiday) National except Kelantan, Terengganu
04 March Installation Anniversary of Sultan of Terengganu Terengganu
29 March Good Friday Sabah, Sarawak
15 April Declaration of Melaka as Historical City Melaka
19 April Sultan of Perak’s birthday Perak
26 April Sultan of Terengganu’s birthday Terengganu
01 May Worker’s Day National
07 May Hari Hol Pahang Pahang
17 May Tuanku Raja of Perlis’ birthday Perlis
24 May Wesak Day National
30 May Kaamatan Harvest Festival Labuan, Sabah
31 May Kaamatan Harvest Festival Labuan, Sabah
01 June SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong’s birthday National
01 June Gawai Dayak Festival Sarawak
02 June Gawai Dayak Festival Sarawak
06 June Israk and Mukraj Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis
07 July Anniversary of declaraion of Penang as World Heritage Site Penang
09 July Ramadan Begins Johor, Kedah, Melaka
13 July Yang di-Pertua of Penang’s Birthday Penang
26 July Hari Nuzul Al-Quran Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu
08 August Hari Raya Puasa National
09 August Hari Raya Puasa 2nd day National
31 August National Day National
07 September Yang di-Pertua of Sarawak’s birthday Sarawak
16 September Malaysia Day National
05 October Yang di-Pertua of Melaka’s birthday Melaka
15 October Hari Raya Qurban National
16 October Hari Raya Qurban 2nd day Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Terengganu
24 October Sultan of Pahang’s birthday Pahang
04 November Deepavali (replacement holiday) National execpt Labuan, Sarawak
05 November Awal Muharram 1435 Hijrah (Islamic New Year) National
12 November Sultan of Kelantan’s birthday Kelantan
22 November Sultan of Johor’s birthday Johor
09 December Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Johor
11 December Sultan of Selangor’s birthday Selangor
25 December Christmas day National

Some dates are subject to change. Replacement holidays are for when the actual holiday lands on a Sunday, the next weekday is given as a replacement holiday.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Daniel - January 23, 2013 at 3:43 AM

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