Kuala Lumpur Public Holidays (Upcoming in 2024)

Lion Dance in Celebration of Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Public Holidays in 2024: Important Dates to Keep You Updated

Setting foot in a multicultural country calls for an unforgettable getaway with music, art, and food from the different cultures in Kuala Lumpur. And there’s no better way to experience the richness of every culture than celebrating the city’s holidays.

Take note of these important holiday dates in 2024 for your next trip to Kuala Lumpur!

DatesPublic Holiday
1 JanuaryNew Year’s Day
25 JanuaryThaipusam
1 FebruaryFederal Territory Day
10 – 11 FebruaryChinese New Year
28 MarchNuzul Al-Quran
10 – 11 AprilHari Raya Aidilfitri
1 MayLabor Day
22 MayWesak Day
17 JuneHari Raya Haji
7 JulyAwal Muharram
31 AugustMerdeka Day
16 SeptemberMalaysia Day
16 SeptemberProphet Muhammad’s Birthday
31 OctoberDeepavali
25 DecemberChristmas

Kuala Lumpur Public Holidays vs Malaysia Public Holidays

In Malaysia, there are different types of holidays the public follows, and we’ll dive into it, holiday type by holiday type. 

National public holidays

A national holiday is observed by both public and private organisations in Kuala Lumpur. The national public holidays usually include cultural and historical celebrations, mostly religious holidays. It’s a great time to visit the city if you really want Malaysia’s full cultural experience.

These are the annual national public holidays, including bank holidays (when the following day is a public holiday as well) in Malaysia you need to watch out for:

  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year Holiday
  • Chinese New Year
  • Chinese New Year Holiday
  • Nuzul Al-Quran
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri Holiday
  • Labour Day
  • Wesak Day
  • Agong’s Birthday
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Awal Muharram
  • Merdeka Day
  • Malaysia Day
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • Sabah Governor’s Birthday
  • Deepavali
  • Deepavali Holiday
  • Christmas Day

Note: The government can exempt some public departments from celebrating the holiday. This applies to instances where they need a specific department to work on the day.

State public holidays

Next, we have the state public holidays, which only specific states or areas in the country observe. 

State governments are free to establish their state holiday in accordance with state laws and regulations. They are also responsible for announcing the state public holidays at the beginning of every year.

And these holidays usually depend upon each state’s history, culture, and events. The state public holidays also include the state rulers’ birthday, celebrated as a public holiday.

Meanwhile, federal territories, including Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan, celebrate the Federal Territory Day. The Federal Territory Day is held every February 1st  to commemorate their progress as an administrative region in Malaysia.

Holidays by declaration

In accordance with Section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951, the Prime Minister has the overall power to declare bank or public holidays in collaboration with the federal territories or other states.

There have been instances where public holidays are set to allow citizens to travel home to vote during an election (like during the 15th general election in November 2022) or to celebrate achievements of the national athlete’s team.

Similarly, state governments also have the liberty to declare occasional holidays like the inauguration of a state ruler or celebrating sports achievements or other special days. 

Top 5 Public Holidays in Kuala Lumpur

Now that you know how public holidays work in Malaysia, you can plan for your next trip to KL. Spending a holiday in a foreign country will open you to new experiences, especially with how vibrant and diverse KL is.

Here are the top five public holidays In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, you don’t want to miss.

1 – Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the “Spring Festival” or “Lunar New Year,” is one of the biggest festivals for people with Chinese ancestry. It’s celebrated every Springtime, either in January or February.

They name each year after one of the 12 in the Chinese Zodiac. Chinese communities and people of Chinese descent observe this special holiday.

Witness the full bloom of Chinese culture because this is a day for showing acts of devotion. People prepare for this holiday by cleaning their houses as part of their superstition of sweeping away bad luck.

On New Year’s Day, they prepare new clothes to wear. By New Year’s Eve, they prepare mountains and heaps of food to put on the table as part of their belief that it brings good luck.

And they will even bring specific dishes that have different symbolisms. Some traditional Chinese New Year foods include dumplings and spring rolls (wealth), long noodles (happiness and longevity), and fish (prosperity).

The beginning of the New Year is the time for reunions and gatherings, a sacred holiday celebrated by the whole family. Loved ones abroad or in other parts of the country return home and spend time with the family.

2 – Thaipusam

Thaipusam is an annual spiritual event celebrated by Hindus across the world. Every full moon in the tenth month of every year, Hindus devote this time to honour Lord Muragan, the Hindu God of War.

The holiday starts with a procession held in the streets with a chariot carrying a statue of Lord Murugan.

Then comes Thaipusam’s second day and the most popular part, a long and barefoot walk to the Batu Caves. Some devotees will carry milk pots and ornate frames, called kavadi, on their shoulders.

The kavadi ritual serves as an act of penance and shows their true devotion to their faith. Inside the caves, there’s another statue of Lord Muragon and shrines ready to accept the offerings from the devotees.

Devotees will go on fasting and abstinence or maintain a strict vegetarian diet to cleanse their bodies.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the most popular sites to witness Thaipusam. Batu caves take the spotlight for most Hindu devotees and tourists, gathering over a million attendees yearly.

3 – Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Hari Raya directly translates to “celebration day,” and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (also known as hari raya puasa) is the Festival of Breaking of the Fast. This day signifies the end of Ramadan, another important holiday celebrated by Muslims all over the world.

It’s considered one of the biggest holidays in Malaysia and one of the most important Islamic holiday. This holiday allows Muslims to return home and celebrate the day with their beloved families and loved ones.

Muslims use this time to connect with friends and families, seek forgiveness from each other, and visit their loved ones who have passed. And family members greet each other Selamat Hari Raya.

This time is also for feasting together and eating different Malay delicacies such as rendang, satay, lemang, and curry.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a wonderful celebration filled with happiness and excitement, sharing conversations and laughter with friends and neighbours.

What’s great is that it doesn’t just end in a day because, just like during their time of fasting, Hari Raya Aidilfitri lasts for a month too!

This means a month of activities, catching up, and eating with your loved ones and neighbours. It’s one of the best times to spend quality time with the important people in your life. 

4 – Malaysia National Day 

Celebrated every year on August 31st, Malaysia National Day marks Malaysia’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957.

Also known as Merdeka Day or Hari Merdeka, you can’t celebrate the day without shouting “Merdeka!” seven times. Introduced by the first-ever Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, this practice has already become the norm. Fun fact: did you know that the brand new Merdeka 118 tower (world’s second tallest building) is a silhouette of Tunku Abdul Rahman? Next time you see the building, imagine the spire is his arm, which he lifted in the air while shouting Merdeka. 

During Independence Day, the pride of Malaysian people peaks as they raise the Malaysian flag, as they rightfully should! You’ll see it on the streets, in cars, buildings, and shopping malls.

You’ll find this reminder everywhere as people fully display their patriotism and love toward their country. 

Join the people of Malaysia in their celebration of their ancestors’ success in gaining independence of the country. In celebration of this day, show-stopping parades, incredible performances, and exhibitions are held across the whole country.

Each year brings a new theme centred around Malaysia’s Independence, and every year the people never fail to deliver.

5 – Deepavali

Devoted Hindus all over the globe consider Deepavali or Diwali as one of the major festivals and most festive holidays. It’s also known as the Festival of Lights, a day of practising traditional customs and making preparations beforehand.

Before the day, they clean their houses and prepare clay lamps, so Lakshmi can light and bless them. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of prosperity. These lamps also serve as the light symbolising the triumph of light (good) over darkness (evil).

They wake up early in the day to take a herbal oil bath, which signifies the cleansing of past sins. Like most Hindu holidays, Deepavali is also a time for families and loved ones to be together.

Hindus use this time to perform a family prayer service in their homes and temples in the city. Then, they have open houses where friends and neighbours are encouraged to come over and share meals and conversations.

Celebrating Deepavali is a wonderful way to see gorgeous art in the form of coloured-paper lanterns and kolam. Kolam is the art of making beautiful and intricate patterns on the floor using coloured rice and powder. You can see these amazing works of art in Hindu homes, shopping malls, and other public spaces.

What’s Next?

Kuala Lumpur has more public holidays worth experiencing and travelling for.

One of which is Wesak Day, held on a Sunday, about the time of a full moon in May. This is when Buddhists celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.

Kuala Lumpur, as a federal state, observes Federal Territory Day. It’s held on the first of February every year to remember the day Kuala Lumpur became the second federal territory in 1974.