Penang calendar of events
January – April
Chap Goh Mei is often depicted as the Chinese valentine’s day. It is celebrated on the fifteenth day after Chinese New Year and marks the end of Chinese New Year celebration. During the night of Chap Goh Mei, the young maidens will throw oranges to the sea in hope to find life partners.
The Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a hot air balloon festival that was first held in 2015. The fiesta is held at the city’s polo grounds around Penang. It takes place on February every year.at the city’s Polo Ground. The participants come from various nations such as Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States.
The Annual Songkran Water Festival has been organized for more than 15 years by Thai and Burmese Community in Penang. It is a traditional festival celebrated to wash away bad luck by liberally splashing water on each other. The festival takes place in several Thai and Burmese Buddhist temple all over Penang.
May – August
Penang Bon Odori Festival is a traditional Japanese festival. It is celebrated to welcome the homecoming of ancestral spirits by performing the traditional dance and drum performances. The Japanese Buddhist believes that the spirit of ancestors will return once a year to visit the families. There are also various stalls selling a variety of Japanese food, souvenirs and games. There is also firework displays going on.
The Lion dance is the most adored Chinese heritage of Malaysia. Hence, Penang International Lion Dance Championship event is held in order to find the best Lion Dance team at the international level. The participants come from different parts of the world like Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Australia to compete. The judges are picked from experience professionals in the Lion Dance arena.
St. Anne’s Festival is the biggest Christian festivals in South East Asia. Saint Anne is believed to be Jesus’s grandmother. The festival is very important in Penang. It draws a huge number of pilgrims from across the world to Bukit Mertajam, a town in mainland Penang state. The festival lasted for 10 days
An Evening Of Lights at Khoo Kongsi is the event where Khoo Kongsi turns on all the lights at its courtyard and hosts Chinese arts and cultural performances. The visitors can come to witness and take photos of Khoo Kongsi’s spectacular display of lights at night.
George Town Festival is celebrated in honor of George Town designation as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It lasts for a month and draws visitors from all over the world. It is celebrated in August since 2010 and really lights up the capital of Penang.
Penang Hill Festival is a relatively new festival in Penang. The first Penang Hill Festival was celebrated from July 21st to 29th in 2018. Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera has a vast diversity of wildlife, natural habitat and many beautiful delights for the people to enjoy.
September – December
Nine Emperor God Festival is a major custom among the Chinese communities in Penang. It falls during the ninth Lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It lasts for nine days and the biggest celebration happens on the last day.
Chingay & Lion Dance parade is part of the magnificent displays of Chinese culture. The parade showcases several dance troupes to entertain the audience with the lion dance and showing off their skill of balancing the stilt poles. It is held to celebrate the birthday of the Chinese deities and the procession of Goddess of mercy, Guanyin for Chinese New Year.
Penang International Dragon Boat Race has been conducted in for almost 30 years. It is very famous among Chinese communities. The dragon boats that compete come come in different designs and layouts. It is a treat to water sports lovers.
Pesta Pulau Pinang is an exhibition held annually to promote the sales of local goods. It also encourages local businesses and vendors. The duration of the exhibition takes one month. Pesta Pulau Penang started when Penang was in economic crisis. In the beginning, the exhibition only drew a small crowd however as time goes, it gets bigger each year.
Penang Bridge marathon started small and grow bigger each year. It is an important running event for Penang. The event started in 1984 and turned out to be very successful in subsequent years. It used to take place at the first Penang bridge, but currently it is relocated on the second Penang bridge or the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.