Experience Ramadan Celebrations in Malaysia in 2018
- DHRUVALAKSHMI PAITHANKAR
- UPDATED May 29, 2018
- 29 Views
More than half the population in Malaysia celebrates Ramadan with the spirit that does not wither even after strict fasting that lasts for a month. This holy month of Islam is considered to be one of the major festivals in Malaysia and is observed throughout the country with a slight difference. Even though this country is the melting pot of different cultures and religions, you will find everyone soaking in the vibe of Ramadan in Malaysia. Most of the cities set up special bazaars to mark the occasion, adorn mosques, and streets with sparkling lights to add charm to the celebrations, and street-food stalls pop-up everywhere.
You never have to worry about travelling to Malaysia during Ramadan. In fact, this can be the best time to visit Malaysia if you want to understand its cultural and religious side. Read on to understand the basic idea of Ramadan and how popular areas in Malaysia celebrate Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is celebrated during the 9th month of Islamic calendar to mark the event of prophet Muhammad receiving the Islam’s holy book - Quran from the God. This festival is all about following a strict schedule for fasting as well as breaking a fast. It is also about abstinence oneself from a plethora of things like smoking as well as drinking. For many Muslim families, it is the festival to spend time with your loved ones and at the same time, being generous by doing charity work. Muslims who are fasting are not allowed to eat and drink anything from sunrise to sunset. They break the fast in the evening, the act of which is known as Iftar, and this is the time when cities transform into lively hubs.
So, if you are asking ‘is it safe to travel to Malaysia during Ramadan’, do yourself a favor and stop doing it. Let the echo of prayers accompany you while you are exploring this country during this month-long festival and experience the zest and zeal!
Religious vibes of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur
The capital of Malaysia is always an interesting place to visit. But, when you visit Kuala Lumpur during Ramadan, you will come across a whole new side of this gigantic city. You can go to Bukit Bintang district for Ramadan shopping in KL or you can wander through Petaling Street to taste local delicacies. But, as these places come to life after the sunset, you can visit National Mosque of Malaysia during a day to understand what Ramadan is all about. This place of worship offers guided tours and welcomes foreigners as well.
But, one of the most important things to do in Kuala Lumpur in Ramadan is to explore local markets. Popularly known as Ramadan Bazaars, these places are perfect to soak yourself in celebratory atmosphere. You can choose from Kampung Baru Ramadan Bazaar, Bangsar Ramadan Bazaar, or bazaar near Jalan Masjid India to make the most of your time.
The specialties of Ramadan in Langkawi
The popular island that is known for its bustling nightlife scenes becomes quieter and slower than usual during the month of Ramadan. Though you will find several bars, pubs, and restaurants working regularly, most of the Muslim-owned properties either stay shut or open late and do not serve alcohol. If you want to visit open-air markets for Iftar in Langkawi, then you can visit areas like Kuah, Pantai Cenang, and Padang Matsirat. Most of these night markets in Langkawi start after 4 pm and close just before dawn.
You can also visit all the top beaches in Langkawi during Ramadan. Just do not show too much of skin to show and you will be fine. It might be considered a bit disrespectful if you wear that bikini or other body-hugging clothes during the holy month.
Celebratory spirit of Ramadan in Penang
The whole state of Penang basks in the spirit of Ramadan making it one of top destinations in Malaysia to visit during the holy month. The streets of Penang in Ramadan gear up for giving you a scrumptious gastronomic experience and the markets illuminate with sparkling fairy lights to announce the start of the festival. You can visit areas like Bayan Baru Mosque in Penang district and Little India in George Town are perfect if you want to be a part of the local canvas. You must try the dishes like roti jala, pulut panggang, Ikan Bakar, and murtabak to pamper your taste buds with traditional Malay cuisine.
Whichever city you visit during this Islamic holy month, remember not to eat or drink anything during a day in front of those who are fasting. It will show them that even if you are observing a fast, you respect their religion and culture.
Traditional festivities of Ramadan in Kedah
The state of Kedah is also known by the name of Darul Aman which means Abode of Peace. This peaceful state is a great place to witness the festivities of Ramadan culture in Malaysia. Winding alleys of Kedah look deserted during the day, but as the evening approaches, the whole sleepy atmosphere changes suddenly. The streets start bustling with Muslim families who are out to break the fast at one of the Iftar stalls that line the corners. This will give you an opportunity to interact with the locals about their traditions and customs.
The only thing that you will have to consider during Ramadan in Kedah is the traffic. After 4 pm, the roads will be packed with taxis and cars toing and froing. You will have to plan your commute accordingly. In fact, you will find this time-based traffic jam throughout Malaysia when it’s Ramadan.
You can join in the celebrations of Eid that start after the holy month ends. Check the dates and plan a Malaysia trip during Ramadan accordingly. People always travel to Malaysia for its beaches and nightlife, but now is the time to learn about its religious and cultural beating heart!