How many holidays can you name in the month of May? If you've been aching for more holidays after a long two months, you'll delight in these holidays coming up!
The day we get vaccinated is the day we’re finally set free from our home’s overbearing embrace. At least, that’s what most of us wish for. Sadly, the vaccine is only going to reach us youths in Malaysia from May 2021 to February 2022. Quite the gigantic gap there I must say! But as we await for our saviour (vaccine) to arrive, there’s actually a lot to celebrate in May, if only I could go outside...sigh.
Did you know? The month May is probably named after the Roman goddess Maia, the Earth Goddess of Plants and Spring. The full moon’s name in May is also called Flower Moon. Sweet peppermints, I never knew moon phases had names like these! It’s a befitting name for a month called after an earth goddess, as isn’t that when the carnations come in for Mother’s Day? The full moon is expected to be visible on May 26, Wednesday, which is when Wesak Day takes place. So, here are some glorious Malaysian holidays in May to revel in while we receive the vaccines!
Ack, did Labour Day really have to arrive on a Saturday? Oh well, better luck in the year 2023. Nevertheless, it’s the day you get to spend time with your family and just enjoy quality time together! You could just chill with them at home, chat, and just have a lax day. Or, if you’re up for some event planning, you could also create a privilege card for your parents and treat them to your massage service or have a friendly match with your siblings with some games or even a fashion showdown. You could also hit the parks with your family to mark a fresh start of May!
Though it’s not really a public holiday, it is a significant day to remember! I had this unfortunate incident of forgetting Mother’s Day once, and it sure ain’t happening again. Now that I know a glorious earth goddess is responsible for the origin of May, it does make it easier to remember when Mother’s Day is! Another did-you-know fact, Mother’s Day was first officiated when Woodrow Wilson turned the second Sunday of May as the national holiday in 1941. Funnily enough, the holiday was first celebrated in 1908. Better late than never to thank your mother for all that she’s sacrificed for you!
I must say, it can be tough when you’re trying to plan a surprise for your mom but she’s stuck at home with you. Planning surprises online is one of the ways to go! Thank goodness it’s pretty easy to find good deals for Mother’s Day gifts, promotions, and special combos on social media. It all started when we were in the lockdown period and those Korean cakes were trending on Instagram. I got onboard and since then I always go there for gift ideas. In fact, there are already tons of Mother’s Day specials you can find through a variety of small businesses online! Rebloom.co is having a Mother’s Day sale which lasts until May 7, and Yellow Monkey Delivery has a wonderful recommendation of cakes specially for Mother’s Day. Regardless of what you get your mother on May 9, just remember that a simple “I love you” or “Thank you” is enough to amplify her happiness through the roof. I wish you luck on making your mother happy!
This is one of the most IMPORTANT holidays in Malaysia! Malaysians are no stranger to this but to those who’re new, Hari Raya Aidilfitri is also known as Eid al-Fitr and Festival of Breaking the Fast. It’s celebrated when the month of fasting, Ramadan, comes to an end. Ramadan is when Muslims fast for a month, only eating before dawn and after sunset to remember the suffering of those who live in poverty and to bring themselves closer to God. Personally, I always respect the Muslims for considering the feelings of the less fortunate and empathising for them. Once Ramadan is over, they celebrate their month of dedication by having lots of feasts and gatherings! It’s the season of open houses decked with decorations, snacks, and noise.
Open houses are really awesome, it’s always a pleasure to visit one! Hosts welcome visitors with open arms and we get to socialise and catch up with them. Of course, we’ve the responsibility of knowing the basic etiquette of visiting open houses. Hari Raya last year had to really tone down a lot because of the pandemic and the lockdown period. And the same for this year, as some of us may be restricted from moving out of our districts. It’s time to get creative and plan in-house activities again!
I’m really ashamed to admit it, but writing this article is the reason I actually realised we have a Hari Hol as a holiday in Malaysia. ‘Hol’ means annual banquet, and Hari Hol Pahang is a day when workers in Pahang get an off-day to commemorate the passing of Al-Marhum Sultan Sir Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah (Abu Bakar for short), the fourth reigning sultan of Pahang on May 7, 1974. This is a holiday that only Pahang celebrates, as they’re one of the states in Malaysia that has a sultan.
Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang, not to be confused with Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor, was much loved by his people, having brought a lot of prosperity to Pahang in his time of reign. He was born on May 29, 1904 and would travel around Pahang to connect with the normal citizens. He made it into history by marking the start of modernisation by changing the systems and discarded outdated practices. Truly a wonderful sultan that many Pahang residents would wish to remember!
When there’s a full moon in May or early June, there’s Wesak Day! Wesak Day is well-known for the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. In Malaysia, Buddhists wake up early to observe the Eight Precepts. They carry out offerings, ‘bathe’ the Buddha, a candle procession, and refrain from eating meat. The most fulfilling part of the day would be when Buddhists participate in acts of charity such as donations or setting birds free. It’s always good to have a reminder for us to give back to society, eh? When night comes, there’s the Wesak Day Parade that many people look forward to! Floats of dragons lined with lights, crafts of the Buddha floating down the streets; the parade carries an environment of cheer and celebration wherever it goes! It has been confirmed that though the routes it takes every year may differ, it’ll always pass Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail, and Jalan Bukit Bintang, making its way back to Brickfields.
Although the pandemic was still ongoing and mass gatherings weren’t allowed last year, Buddhists still managed to celebrate Wesak Day through online means. They attended Facebook Lives as the monks arranged online ceremonies and events for their followers to participate in. The monks really went through the challenge of learning social technology in order to reach out to their followers easily. And I used to think that monks holding phones was a rare occurrence! The movement control may still be ongoing as of now, so let’s maintain social distancing and look forward to the celebrations and parades of Wesak Day next year!
Also known as Pesta Kaamatan, this is a holiday celebrated in Sabah and Labuan! Natives of Sabah, the Kadazandusun, and the Murut celebrate the Harvest Festival to thank their rice deities for giving them another year of bountiful harvests. The Harvest Festival actually lasts for the entire May, but the last 2 days of the month are the best because that’s when all the celebrations and parties get fired up! According to the Kadazandusun folklore, Kinoingan, the Almighty Creator made an act of benevolence by sacrificing his daughter, Huminodun, who then turned into the rice plants we see today. When her body parts grew into the rice plants, her spirit, Bambaazon, is said to be contained in the rice. The Harvest Festival is said to honour both the sacrifices of Kinoingan and Huminodun, and also to respect the spirit still alive in their bountiful harvests.
The festival is usually held at Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) every year in Penampang, Sabah, and there are tons of things to do there. I personally attended the festival a few times, and it’s always a blast every year! The riot combination of cheers and traditional music, the smell of smoking roasts, and refreshing drinks — dear heavens, how I miss it. When the pandemic clears up, go pay the Harvest Festival a visit! Also, here’s a shoutout to Sarawak’s Hari Gawai happening from June 1, Tuesday to June 2, Wednesday. It’s the Harvest Festival’s twin!
May — the month where a large number of Taylorians are slowly transitioning into assignments from just-lectures-and-tutorials. May the Force be with you indeed! Though if you think there’s time to kill on your hands, why not create a daily challenge like what people do during Inktober? There’s a list of bizarre holidays for you to pick from, like School Principals’ Day and even Dance Like a Chicken Day. Sounds crazy, but it’s actually LIT?! There’s a bizarre holiday for every day, so if you’d like to feel the month of May with more fun days, making up a list of fun holidays will be no problem! Or, if you happen to be in Sarawak, you can also attend the Sarawak Harvest and Folklore Festival, which correlates to Hari Gawai.
Whatever you do this month, spend your time wisely and most importantly, stay safe!
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