Whether you are drawn to the drama of a street parade, the spirituality of a prayer ritual or the beauty of an avant-garde theatre performance, there is bound to be an event around the corner waiting to be experienced.
Penang’s vibrant festivals are a colourful reflection of the state’s multiculturalism. Traditional festivals such as Thaipusam, Hungry Ghost Festival, Nine Emperor Gods Festival, Ramadan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chingay Parade and Chinese New Year have retained an authenticity that is unmatched in Asia. Home-grown arts festivals are increasingly popular with global travellers such as the highly-anticipated George Town Festival and the international award-winning George Town Literary Festival.
Also, watch out for the Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday (LFSS) programme that happens each month-end in George Town, where cultural shows, musical performances and interesting walkabout tours happen. Other annual events such as the Catholic St Anne’s Feast Day, Penang International Food Festival, Penang Anime Matsuri, Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, Japanese Bon Odori Festival, George Town Heritage Celebration, Penang International Bridge Marathon and Dragon Boat Festival are not to be missed in Penang.
Weekend markets abound in Penang. Vendors are an assorted mix of small business owners to passionate hobbyists presenting their wares and services to a curious crowd. Markets like Occupy Beach Street, Artisan Market at The Star Pitt Street and Sunday Pop-Up Market at Hin Bus Depot are great places to buy local, handmade products and meet these individuals producing them face-to-face. There are usually street performances, workshops or activities during these markets that provide opportunities for participants to interact, learn something or simply have fun.