Festivals & Events in Malacca
varies, but always in January (2012 was on the 1st) - Malaka Kite Festival: International festival of kites, affiliated with the local Chinese community and run by the Melaka Kite Flyers Association (Persatuan Rakan Layang-Layang Melaka / 马六甲风筝之友 / phone 06-281 5649), who since the 1990s have also run the now well-established Kite Museum.
13th-15th - Thai Pongal: Tamil (South Indian) harvest festival celebrated by the local Chitty (Tamil/Malay) community. The festival corresponds to the winter solstice, and is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. It marks the beginning of the northward journey of the Sun from its southernmost-limit, a movement traditionally referred to as uttarayana. The festival coincides with that known as Makara Sankranthi which is celebrated throughout all of India as the winter harvest. Celebrated at the Chitty Cultural Village, and organized by the Melaka Chitty Cultural Organization. The day preceding Pongal is known as Bhogi (often celebrated on the 14th), and is marked by discarding old things (sometimes in bonfires!), focusing on new belongings, and cleaning, painting or decorating houses. It is similar to Holika in northern India.
Varies by lunar calendar - Chinese New Year: Local celebrations center on Melaka Chinatown and Jonker Street, and include a giant lion dance.
Thaipusam: Hindu festival honouring Lord Muruga including a parade concluding at Sri Subramaniam Deasthanan Temple, Batu Berendam (Batu Caves). Festivities include trances and ritual piercing.
Second week - Malacca’s Tourism Week: Various tourism-oriented promotions.
Holy Week: Christian celebrations between Good Friday and Easter/Palm Sunday, mostly at St. Peter’s Church. Sunday celebrations include a procession starting early in the morning with palm fronds following a life-sized statue of Jesus. Maundy Thursday also features an evening mass where the priest symbolically washes 12 boys' feet with wine in commemoration of Jesus washing those of the 12 disciples.
Tomb Sweeping Festival: Chinese traditional festival where the local Chinese community head to the cemetery at Bukit China or other burial grounds to tidy up burial plots, light candles, burn incense and make offerings of food to the deceased.
Ramadan - Nuzul Quran: Islamic festival that commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Mohammad.
Mid April - Gendang Nusantara: Malay traditional dancing and percussion.
End of April - Hari Raya Puasa: The end of the Ramadan fast and includes prayers at the mosque followed by large family visitations.
Vesak: Celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Last weekend of May - Sikh Commemoration of Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji: The sizeable amount of Sikhs residing in Malacca as well as Sikhs from abroad congregate in the gurdwara (Sikh temple) situated in Jalan Temenggong for three days to commemorate the death of its former priest, Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji, who was elevated to a saint upon passing away. Visitors are welcome but are advised to follow rules and common practices within the premises. Typical vegetarian Punjabi cuisine will be served to everyone visiting the gurdwara.
5th - King's Birthday: The birthday of Yang di Pertuan Agong, the King of Malaysia.
23rd - Feast of St. John the Baptist: Catholic festival featuring candles and banquets.
28th or 29th - Fiesta de San Pedro: Portuguese festival for St. Peter, the patron saint of fisherman featuring a boat decoration competition, a mass for blessing the vessels, Portuguese cooking and fishing competitions.
mid July - Hari Raya Aidil Fitri: Islamic festival commemorating Mohammad's journey from Mecca to Medina. Discussions and lectures are held in local mosques.
end of Ramadan - Awal Muharram: Islamic New Year celebrations featuring open hospitality and prayer.
Malacca Carnival: this celebration lasts for a month and showcases traditional dances and a variety of expositions covering local tourism, industry and art.
Theemithi: Hindu festival featuring walks over hot coals at Sri Subramaniam Temple, Jalan Gajah Berang.
mid August - Governor's Birthday: A parade at Warrior’s Field.
National Day and Malaka Sea Carnival: Celebrating independence day, the Sea Carnival takes place at Klebang Besar Beach and includes boating and windsurfing competitions.
Malaysia Fest: Two weeks of promotions from local businesses.
Feast of Santa Cruz: Catholic festival at which thousands of local Christians participate in the Feast of the Holy Cross at 7AM at Malim, followed by a procession and mass.
Melaka Festival (melakafestival.com): A free international arts and film festival held annually since 2009.
varies by Lunar calendar - Mid-Autumn Festival: The Chinese community celebrates their victory over the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, ushering in the Ming Dynasty that would lead Chinese 15th century seafaring as far west as the east coast of Africa. This basically boils down to eating lots of moon cakes!
Deepavali or The Hindu Festival of Lights: Hindu celebration of the triumph over good over evil.
Sunday closest to 3 December - Feast of St Francis Xavier: Christian celebration in which the Church of Saint Paul honours Saint Francis Xavier with a mass.
25th - Christmas Day: Celebrations include street decorations and carols that center on the Portuguese Square, as well as a midnight mass.