28 January - 11 February Chinese New Year The beginning of the Chinese New Year is a stately affair with joyous celebrations with family and friends. There are fireworks, lion dances, special prayers, open houses and, of course, Mandarin oranges. The Kek Lok Si temple is brightly lit up to celebrate the new lunar year. Kek Lok Si temple, Air Itam.
TBC Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta This highly anticipated two-day event sees a colourful array of hot air balloons brightening the skies of Penang. There will be various activities and workshops for the family, and at night some balloonss are lit up for the ‘night glow’ shows. www.penanghotairballoonfiesta.com
10 Thaipusam Celebrated by the Hindu, Thaipusam commemoratest th the victory of Lord Murugan over the demon Soorapadam. Devotees observe a strict vegetarian diet prior to the festival and on the day itself participate in processions, bearing kavadis, piercing themselves with hooks or spears, smashing coconuts and walking over hot coals.
11 Chap Goh Meh Also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, Chap Goh Meh is celebrated on the 15th day of Chinese New Year (CNY). Young single women traditionally throw oranges into the sea to find a match, while the men collect them from boats. Marking the end of CNY, it’s celebrated with fireworks, lanterns, prayers and offerings.
17 St Patrick’s Day The Penang Irish Association usually holds a parade and street party to commemorate St Patrick’s Day. Expect a host of fun activities, traditional Irish customs, and a whole lot of green.
TBC Thai Songkran Festival This Thai water festival is celebrated to wash away negativity and bad luck. In this case, literally as devotees splash water on each other. Celebrations take place in several venues across Penang, including the Wat Chayamangkalaram temple. Wat Chayamangkalaram, Pulau Tikus.
21 Wesak Day Celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha by visiting a local temple. Practitioners participate in prayers, chants and candlelit processions with floats as well as perform charitable acts.
TBC Indie Penang Indie Penang (IndiePG) provides a platform for and is a celebration of local indie music. Having more of a music gig type of vibe with live performances, the festival also includes music-related workshops. www.facebook.com/indiepg
TBC Hari Raya Aidilfitri This public holiday marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan (also known as Eid) and a month of fasting, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. This is a time for worship, reflection and charity. Muslims return home to spend time with family and friends by visiting and having meals together.
07 George Town Heritage Day To celebrate George Town being recognised as one of the top historical cities in Asia and gaining its Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site status in 2008, a local public holiday was declared. Every year colourful cultural activities are held celebrating the history and heritage of George Town so check ahead to see what activities are on this year.