Georgetown Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia)

Festivals in Georgetown are regular occurrences, whether celebrating the island's culture, religions or specifics like food or flowers. The state of Penang boasts more festivals and events than the rest of Malaysia, meaning that there's always something going on somewhere.

As many of the festivals in Georgetown are based on the Chinese Lunar calendar, it is best to check with the local tourist office before setting off. For advance planning, a full listing of Penang events and things to do is available online at the Penang Tourism Authority's website.

Georgetown Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • New Year's Day - January 1st, a national Malaysian holiday
  • Thaipusam - late January / early February, a Hindu festival celebrated by the Tamil community on Penang, often staged at the end of January during the full moon


  • Chinese New Year - mid-February, held according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, this important celebration usually falls around the third week of February, with fireworks, lion dances, street parties, family celebrations and temple visits
  • Chap Goh Meh - the Chinese 'Valentine's Day', celebrated by young unmarried Hokkien women. Throwing oranges into the sea is believed to reveal the names of suitors
  • Prophet Mohammed's Birthday - February / early March, an annual holiday


  • Penang Orchid Festival - the Botanical Gardens host this orchid extravaganza for eight days and showcase some 35 rare and spectacular species of orchid
  • Muslim New Year - mid March, with related religious celebrations staged by the Muslim communities


  • Songkran - celebrated on Penang as it is in Thailand, with much splashing of water, festivities and worship based at Thai Buddhist temples


  • Labour Day - May 1st, a national Malaysian holiday
  • Penang International Triathlon - staged every May, drawing large numbers of international athletes to the island for a fast-paced cycling, swimming and running race


  • International Dragon Boat Festival - held every June off Batu Uban, attracting dragon-boat teams from all over for South-east Asia's friendliest and most colourful race


  • Georgetown Festival - held for the entire month of July, with an impressive entertainment programme including traditional performances, opera music, dancing, theatrical shows and film screenings
  • Penang Beach Carnival - kicks off for a full week's revels in July at Batu Ferrenggi. Featured are partying, beach and fashion shows, food and lots of drink, cultural events and a host of performances


  • Ramadan - this Islamic festival is held between August and September, with Muslims being forbidden to eat or drink during daylight hours
  • Penang Cultural Festival - runs for the entire month of August and boasts special performances celebrating the island's rich heritage, in conjunction with Penang's Food Festival
  • Malaysia National Day - celebrated on August 31st, with parades, performances and shows marking the country's hard-won independence


  • Hari Raya Puasa - early September, an annual Muslim holiday held at the end of Ramadan
  • Malaysia Fest - mainly aimed at tourists, with the island's major hotels, shopping malls and handicrafts centres joining together to offer special deals to celebrate all things Malaysian
  • Hari Malaysia (Malaysia Day) - September 16th, remembering the day when the Malaysian federation was founded in 1963


  • Shopping Carnival - a two-week extension of the Malaysia Fest, hosted as a yearly extravaganza in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, with even more special deals in malls and shopping centres
  • Hari Keputeraan Sultan Pahang - October 24th, birthday celebrations for Pahang's ruler
  • Deepavali (Festival of Lights) - late October / early November, an important festivity lasting around five days, celebrated by Hindus, who fill the streets with brightly coloured lanterns


  • Hari Raya Haji - early November, a religious Muslim holiday remembering how Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son for God. This takes place approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan
  • Pesta Pulau Festival - held every November and celebrates the island's unique multi-cultural heritage
  • Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) - late November / early December, a national Malaysian holiday


  • Christmas - December 25th, celebrated at churches all over the island, with religious ceremonies. Local families gather to spend the day together. Yuletide festivities are also organised by entertainment venues, restaurants and hotels

More information about Penang festivals.