Elly Zulaikha
May 28, 2020
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

In conjunction with the month of Eid al-Adha here in Malaysia, we’re here to extend a Happy Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim viewers! Here’s some throwback to some of the world’s most iconic festive songs you’ve probably heard before.

1. Suasana Hari Raya (Malaysia)

Just ask any Malaysians growing up here and chances are, they’ll immediately recognize this if they hear a snippet of the song. Arguably one of the most iconic ever produced here in Malaysia, this Hari Raya (Eid al-Adha) song is typically played across all Malaysian TVs and radio stations. With its deeply relatable lyrics that capture the essence and spirit of Hari Raya in Malaysia, you’ll understand why many Malaysians have come to love this song for generations. 

2. Feliz Navidad (Puerto Rico)

“Feliz Navidad”, or Merry Christmas in Spanish, was written by Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, José Feliciano. Recorded in 1970, this song, later on, became one of the classic Christmas pop songs which were aired and downloaded multiple times in the United States and Canada.

3. Jingle Bells (North America)

Initially intended for Thanksgiving season, it wasn’t until blackface minstrel performer, Johnny Pell, who sang the song in Ordway Hall in September 1857, that it became associated with Christmas music and the holiday season in general. Nowadays, it has been used and sung across every country that celebrates the Christmas season due to its joyous feeling the song gives. 

4. Gong Xi Gong Xi (China)

A popular Mandarin Chinese song, it is typically played and sung during the Chinese Lunar New Year as it means “Congratulations, congratulations”. Historically, the song was written to celebrate the fall of Japan and the liberation of China during the end of the Second Sino- Japanese War. 

5. Balik Kampung (Malaysia)

Another Malaysian classic for Hari Raya is none other than the “Balik Kampung”, which to this day, invokes a happy spirit for many Malay kids (even other races too!) as many families will return to their hometown to visit relatives who are staying there. Additionally, as Hari Raya usually means togetherness and celebrating the victory of fasting for a full month in Ramadan, this song has always and will forever be cherished by many generations to come. 

6. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (India)

Since it’s first released back in 2001 from the famous movie, “Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gam”, this song has been a staple in Diwali celebrations, sung by none other than the legendary singer, Lata Mangeshkar. Perhaps what made this song even memorable was when actress Jaya Bachan held the pooja (praying time) for her son, Shah Rukh Khan, which ultimately symbolizes the spirit of Diwali for many Hindu families. 

7. Arirang (South Korea)

Perhaps this isn’t considered as festive, however, "Arirang" is a Korean folk song that’s considered as the anthem of Korea, specifically during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 - 1945. Back then, singing was a criminal offense and soon became the unofficial anthem for Koreans when they sang for the March 1 Demonstration as well as plights of the Korean citizens. 

8. Oshogatsu (Japan)

“Oshogatsu” is the Japanese term for Happy New Year and like the meaning states, it’s also a song sung by many and widely televised across the country. 

9. Petit Papa Noel (France)

“Petit Papa Noel” or “Little Father Christmas is a popular Christmas song in France. The song tells a child who is anxiously awaiting Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, as the lyrics also notes how the child “advises” Santa to take care of himself on the cold day of winter. 

10. Hava Nagila (Israel)

An Israeli folk song, it is traditionally sung during Jewish celebrations. It’s also one of the first modern Israeli folk songs, as it, later on, became a staple for many band performers that sing this song at Jewish weddings and bar mitzvah celebrations. 

11. Betelehemu (Nigeria)

This Yoruba Christmas song version was written by Nigerian drummer, Babatunde Olatunji, and its uplifting hymn, often accompanied by drumming and some choreographies were performed by many choirs across the world during Christmas season.