Hello and welcome back!
Indian Festival, Chinese New Year and fascinating Kek Lok Si – my first impressions from multicultural Malaysia are coming!
Prelude. After I successfully entered Malaysia I went to Butterworth – a city in Penang state. Train journey was hard: no AC and +30 outside, people looked really tired after a while.
However I could see the beautiful views of Malaysia – hills, jungles, green zones everywhere!
When I arrived to Penang Island (George Town) by ferry I was very tired and full of dreams about cold shower.
Since I had no Internet, I needed to find a cafe with WiFi to contact my host Jim (couchsurfing). Guess I walked no more than 5 minutes when suddenly somebody called my name. I was like WTF, who here, in Malaysia, can know me? Luckily it was my host Jim, who was so nice to come for me to the pier and even recognized me on the streets 😀
India. After reaching home, dropping things and shower, Jim told me that Indian festival was happening there at the moment, so I had an opportunity to see it.
It was incredible! Plenty of people around dressed in Indian clothes with different bright colors, music and food everywhere. People were smiling, the mood there was very friendly!
Decorations were charming as well!
Free food (quite big queues for that but still so cool) and free cold drinks were everywhere! It was a great pleasure to be there, like I really was in India!
What’s interesting in Malaysia – here’re many people from different nationalities, the country is a mix of cultures. So there’re various religions as well, which is noticeable by different temples, mosques and churches. Approximately 61.3% of the population practice Islam, 19.8% practice Buddhism, 9.2% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism and 1.3% practice Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining 1.4% practiced other religions. (c) Wikipedia
People speak different languages here, as well I haven’t met anybody who wouldn’t speak English. Malaysia contains speakers of 137 living languages. The government provides schooling at the primary level in each of the three major languages: Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. There are a number of Chinese languages native to the ethnic Chinese who originated from southern China, which include Yue, Min and Hakka Chinese. (c) Wikipedia
Chinese New Year. A bit information about this incredible holiday: it’s also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. This year (year of the Dog) starts on 16th of February.
Lunar New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese, which is widely celebrated in many Asian countries and territories like Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Australia, and the Philippines. So as for Christmas, people start preparing for Chinese New Year some time before and plenty of decorations could be noticed weeks before!
Actually every year I was wondering when there was a Lunar New Year event in League of Legends – why they would make special event for that? I mean there’s no event for any country-specific holiday, so why Chinese New Year which is happening in China is mentioned in the game for the whole world?
Well, now I know that it’s more than just Chinese holiday, it’s a huge event celebrated in many places in Asia. I geuss mainly because there’re many Chinese families in different countries, however, it’s an international holiday with huge celebrations, beautiful decorations and interesting traditions.
Some off top: inspired by all these decorations around I decided to visit China for the Lunar New Year. However after I checked prices for tickets I changed my mind 😀 Probably it’s the same as searching for tickets for 31.12 😉
Kek Lok Si. The next day Jim showed me incredible Kek Lok Si temple.
The Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in Penang facing the sea and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It is also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from other countries in Southeast Asia. This entire complex of temples was built over a period from 1890 to 1930, an inspirational initiative of Beow Lean, the Abbot. The main draw in the complex is Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, and the 36.57 meters tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
There’re millions of of magnificent images of Buddha and the hundreds of beautiful meaningful carvings, sculptures and murals in the interior and exterior of the temple halls, pagodas and archways.
There’re many ways to make blessings to your closest people, which would also become lovely decorations for Chinese New Year. Wanted to add mine, unfortunately I don’t know Chinese 😉
The Kek Lo Si Temple is very astonishing, definitely would recommend to everybody who will be near Penang Island!
Generally my trip to Penang was really nice, next article I will tell about Penang National Park and George Town. And my trip wouldn’t be so delightful if I wouldn’t meet such a nice host, guide and a pleasant person Jim, who told me much about the places and Malaysian culture, introduced me local cuisine and showed me places around, and also gave local SIM (so I was not suffering from not loaded Google maps and non-playing Clash of Clans 😉