Langkawi Cultural Events
The archipelago of Langkawi is located off the Northwestern coast of Malaysia in the Andaman Sea. Â The 97 uninhabited and 2 inhabited islands that comprise the archipelago were designated a Geopark by UNESCO in 2007. Â Unlike neighboring Penang, Langkawi has enjoyed a relatively off-the-beaten track status for many years and boasts serene nature, idyllic beaches, and many cultural events representative of Malaysiaâ€™s melting pot society.
The influence of many of the worldâ€™s religions has a large impact on the national events that take place throughout the island. Â Â With one of the largest Islamic and Hindu populations inside South East Asia, Malaysiaâ€™s culture has adopted many long-standing traditions accordingly, with Langkawiâ€™s celebrations of the major festivals being some of the best! Â While staying in many of the seaside hotels in Langkawi, there are many cultural festivals that should not be missed by any tourist!
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is celebrated throughout the world as a way for Muslims to connect with Allah, seek forgiveness of past sins, and seek heightened spirituality by way of fasting. Â Between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan, Muslims avoid eating, drinking, and sexual contact in order to achieve this spiritual enlightenment.
As the sun begins to set, however, the festivities begin and Langkawi is transformed into a gigantic food bazaar with over double the normal vendors with cuisine from all over Asia. Â Although the celebration is for the daily breaking of fast ritual for Muslims, all religions and nationalities are welcome to take part, and the celebration is nothing short of spectacular.
The holy month of Ramadan is anticipated to begin at sunset on August 1st and continue until August 30th in 2011. Â The festivities for the Langkawi Bazaar begin at around 4pm and continue well until after sunset when the breaking of fast commences.
Deepavali Festival of Lights
The Hindu celebration of Deepavali (Diwali) is a celebration of the triumph over evil. Â This victory for good is celebrated by a Festival of Lights, representative of light shining out of the darkness. Â Visitors to the island of Langkawi will be delighted by the thousands of lit clay pots, electric lights, and floral arrangements set out by the Hindu population.
Like the Islamic festival of Ramadan, Deepavali is all about new beginnings; old quarrels and transgressions are often forgiven after a period of prayer and fasting in hopes of greater prosperity in the following year.
The date of the Diwali/Deepavali celebration changes from year to year in line with the new moon when light shines most in the darkness. Â The Festival of Lights celebration in Langkawi is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, October 26th in 2011.
Langkawi Food and Fruit Fiesta
While the Langkawi Food and Fruit Fiesta is not representative of any one cultural group, the yearly week-long celebration in July is a feast for the senses for foodies from all cultures and should not be missed.
During the fiesta, the island of Langkawi is transformed into a gastronomical paradise, with many local markets, cooking competitions, and street food from all cultures: both Eastern and Western. Â The highlight of this celebration is an array of fresh and exotic fruit brought in from all climates for newcomers to try. Â There is often so much food that it is impossible for one person to try everything, and a multi-day visit is worthwhile for all!
Travelers looking to reach this serene destination can easily visit Langkawi by flight from most major destinations in South East Asia such as Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore or by a short ferry ride from Penang, Malaysia and Ko Lipe, Thailand.