Festivals in Kuching
Surrounded by the wonderful sights of Mt Santubong, 45 minutes from Kuching is the Cultural Village of Sarawak. A visit to the center gives you an idea of the diverse cultures and traditions of the region. The center also hosts several festivals like the Rainforest World Music Festival all round the year where there is a lot of music, fun and lots to eat and drink. The people are hospitable enough to welcome strangers to their place of abode and serve them with traditional food and drink.
At the Cultural Village you get gorgeous handicraft items that includes gold and cloth inlay of Malaysia called Kain Songket, Chinese ceramic, swords called Iban Parang, traditional baskets called Bidayuh tambok and sunhat called Melanau Terendak. Come and learn of the rich cultural heritage from the eagerly anticipated festivals in this part of the world.
The Rainforest World Music Festival is the most popular festival in Sarawak which brings together famous international and local artists on a common platform. At this annual festival held at the Sarawak Cultural Village you will be engulfed by the rhythmic beats of traditional music and sweet natural sounds. You are welcome to take part in workshops or can hear the musical concerts. Mini concerts, jamming sessions, ethno-musical lectures and informative workshops are usually scheduled for the afternoon. Besides the dance and music you can also find several food stalls, a festival memorabilia counter and a crafts area.
The end of the harvesting season brings with it the Gawai Dayak Festival. A celebration of good harvest and hope for a better tomorrow unites the people during these days. People wear some of the best traditional costumes; have a big feast among them and play traditional games like cock fight. Remote villages are some of the best places to visit during this time of the year where there is a lot of music and dancing besides the serving of rice wine called Tuak.
As the fierce northeast monsoon subsides, it heralds the beginning of a season of fishing and is also the New Year of Melanau. The fishing community of Melanau celebrates the festival of Kaul during this time of the year. The festival is a celebration of thanksgiving, purification and good fortune.
In the month of April each year you witness the Baleh Kapit Raft Safari where you can get a glimpse of rafters steering their rafts through the gushing tributaries of the Rajang River. You can see how top rafters pit their mental and physical skills and traverses through dangerous stretches of the river. Moreover you also get a taste of the hospitability and merrymaking of the Iban people. You get to see ethnically diverse cultural tradition of the communities living on the banks of the river.
Kuching was declared a city in August 1988 and the Kuching Festival is celebrated each year hence to mark this occasion. Various entertaining events like competitions, concerts, stage shows, night exhibitions and city parades are held during this month long event. Initially the festival was known as the Sarawak Festival with the sole aim of promoting art and culture of the region.
Come enjoy the varying jazz music ranging from Asian jazz to Caribbean and Latin jazz in the Miri International Jazz Festival. Set amidst quiet setting of tropical beach, this event is organized for two nights. Performers from all round the world especially Europe, Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Australia perform in this event.
In the month of May the Sarawak Cultural Village hosts the World Harvest Festival and it celebrates the end of the harvest season in Sarawak. This festival has its origin from the tales that speaks of the voyage of adventurous men to the spirits. The spirits were later encouraged to join the festivity of mortals. The most attractive event during the festival is the beauty pageant competition where gracious, charming women with excellent knowledge of the culture of Sarawak take part.
If you visit Sarawak in March donâ€™t miss the first series of Miri International Motorcycle Sprint Challenge organized by the Miri Motors Club. Talented racers from Bruneian, Sarawak and Sabah compete against each other and showcase their talent. You can also see the Hong Sam Si Temple Parade where various private companies, clubs and Chinese associations take part in a parade planned by Hokkien Association.
The Borneo Jet Ski Challenge and Tua Peh Kong Day Celebration are two cultural programs organized by the people in the month of April. The Borneo Jet Ski Challenge is organized to challenge young Jet Ski experts. On the other hand the Tua Peh Kong Day is celebrated as a birth anniversary of Tua Peh Kong deity.
May is a time of grand festivity and celebration among the people. The Miri May Feast is celebrated for the whole month where various cultural programs are organized. On the 4th and 5th of May a women conference is held which aims at enlightening and empowering women in the corporate world to be facilitators of change in workplaces and homes.
You can experience the color and festivity of Sarawak in the form of traditional food, dance and music in the Baâ€™kelalan Apple Fiesta held from May 11th to the 13th. Moreover numerous hybrid varieties of apples like Apple Anna, Lady William, Manalagi, Roma Beauty and Granny Smith besides jams and apple pies are on display. For fishing enthusiasts the Miri International Deep Sea Fishing Tournament held from 15th to 17th provides an opportunity to catch fish and win cash prizes.
The 20th of May is celebrated by the people of Miri to mark the day when Miri was officially granted the status of a city. This day is celebrated with a lot of fun and several cultural programs. The Pesta Air Batang Sadong held on the 30th of May is a festival of water sports where Jet Ski and boat races are organized.
The Pesta Lun Bawang festival, held from 1st to 3rd June celebrates the tradition of the Lun Bawang community. You can hear flute band and also enjoy a night of cultural festivity where people showcase their traditional costumes. The Pesta Benak or Tidal Bore Carnival is held throughout the month of June where the local people celebrate food fairs, longboats roads, competitions and performances.
The month of July is the most eagerly anticipated month of the year as it that time of the year when several festivals like Pesta Limbang, Sarawak Handicraft Week, Borneo Cultural Festival, BHR Padawan Challenge, Pesta Babulang. Rainforest World Craft Bazar and Sarawak Regatta are held. These festivals not only showcase Sarawakâ€™s culture but are also hosts several music concerts, boat races, handicraft exhibitions, cultural exhibitions of each ethnic groups, cycling and trekking events and exhibition of international and local craft items.
August brings with it the Borneo International Kites Festival, Pesta Ikan Buntal or the Puffer Fish Festival, Kuching Street Parade, Colors of Nature and World Amateur Inter Team Golf Championship where people organize kite flying competition, fish catching competition, mini-expo, men and women football matches, parades through the streets of Kuching and flower exhibitions.
The Borneo International Yachting Challenge is held in the month of September and is jointly held by the states of Federal Territory of Labuan and Sarawak. People from around the world take part in the event.
The annual event of Sarawak Bead Bazar is held from the 2nd to the 4th of October. It showcases the works of several bead weavers who weave beads of varying shapes, sizes and shades.
The local people searches, identifies and records the number of bird species during the Miri Bird Raceheld on the 10th and 11th of October. The event is organized in the Penrissen ranges where people in groups of two compete against each other.
The Padawan Municipal Corporation organizes the Padawan Raft Safari on the 31st October and 1st of November where participants journey through the river and pass through some of the most picturesque surroundings.
Each year a memorial service in honor of the soldiers who died fighting for Malaysia against the Communist Insurgency is held on the 7th of November. Moreover the second series of the Miri International Motorcycle Sprint Challenge is held in this month which continues to the month of December when the third series is held.
Thus whenever you visit you are bound to enjoy one festivity or the other in this wonderful land of Hornbill.