Kuching is sharing pretty much a similar festivals as other region of Malaysia, nevertheless you can still find some local festivals that only Sarawakian get to celebrates. All festivals and events in Kuching are as follow:
1. New Year’s Day (1 January)
Public Holiday through out the entire Malaysia, and the world; and Kuching has no different too.
2. Chinese New Year (January/February)
Chinese New Year is fall on 1st day of every lunar calendar year, which will fall on any days during January or February.
Google it for exact date of the particular year you wish to know, eg. “Chinese New Year 2010”. Travel to Kuching two weeks before the Chinese New Year is the best time for you to see the local people getting ready for the Chinese New Year festival. People in Kuching is usually busy shopping for Chinese New Year goods and goodies during this time period. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, locals will do their final shopping before noon, and after 2pm usually the Kuching is much like a dead town. Shops closed, businesses ended, everyone is in the home getting ready for their reunion meal. If you are still in Kuching on this day, the only place you can have your dinner is probably the fast food restaurant for example KFC or McDonald.
During the midnight once the clock strikes 12am, the whole city is much like entering into a war, you’ll be dazzled by the fireworks on the sky, as well as firecrackers are everywhere. The whole occasion will last for around half an hour to an hour before you can get a good sleep. It’s illegal though playing with fireworks or firecrackers; however it’s not been fully enforced in Sarawak. You won’t have this if you’re in the capital of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur. Most businesses remain closed in Kuching from the first to the forth day of the festival, you’ve still got to dine at the fast food restaurant during those days. However, cafe, pubs and bars are normally opened as soon as the day turns dark.
3. Good Friday (March/April)
Nothing much special in Kuching on this day, it’s simply a public holiday.
5. Labour Day (1 May)
Just a public holiday. Business as usual for shopping malls and restaurants.
6. Wesak Day (May)
It will fall on any day during May be based upon which calendar year. If you are at Kuching during this period, visit the Buddhist temples, in which the crowds are gathered on this special day.
7. Gawai Day (1 June)
This is the very important festival for the Dayak (indigenious people) in Sarawak, which celebrating the end of rice harvesting and welcomes the new planting season. Everyone in the longhouses in Sarawak will begin to celebrate the festival from the Eve of the Gawai day. On the Gawai day itself, that is 1 June, traditional rituals are held, dancing, lots of local foods especially Bamboo rice and bamboo chicken. Should you be traveling in Kuching during this special occasion, you are able to participate in the Annah Rais Homestay program and experience the fun of the Gawai festival with the locals people. No walk-in traveler will be entertained during this day at the majority of the longhouses, apart from pre-arranged tour from the tour company, and the invited guest from the local people.
As for Annah Rais Longhouse, simply take part in the homestay program and you will get a chance to see how the local people celebrate the festival at Annah Rais village.
8. Dragon Boat Festival (June)
As the name suggest, you will witness the dragon boats competition during this day through out most part of Malaysia. In Kuching, you may witness the dragon boat competition along the Sarawak River, at the Kuching Waterfront. Local Chinese will be making their own rice dumpling in this special day for their family. Most Chinese coffee shops in Kuching do selling them as well, so you should try it!
9. Rainforest World Music Festival (July)
These are the famous worldwide event which will be held in Kuching every year. Rainforest World Music Festival brings together the planet famous musicians around the world and indigenous musicians from all parts of mythical land of Borneo to come to the same stage to perform for you.