Asia is a culturally enriched continent that features an incredible number of colourful festivals almost everywhere. These festivals bring people of all backgrounds together in a joint celebration of love, laughter and joy. This is one of the main reasons why travellers love visiting Asian countries during those peak festival seasons. The sheer enthusiasm and the amount of preparation that goes into bringing these festivals to life make them a must-see event. But at any given time there are multiple festivals that take place across Asia, so being confused about which ones to attend, is expected. In this article, we will try to help you with just that. So without further ado, here is a list of some of Asia’s most bewitching cultural festivals you can’t-miss.
Yuki Matsuri – The Sapporo Snow Festival
If you thought Japan is only a springtime destination then, you are missing out on an amazing fiesta. Popularly known as the Sapporo Snow Festival, Yuki Matsuri is celebrated for an entire week in February in the capital of the northernmost Island in Japan, Hokkaido. During this week you will see hundreds of stunning snow sculptures throughout Odori Park near Sapporo Station, which are made by well-trained teams.
Teams of visionary artists from over 20 different countries come together for this festival and compete for the grand prize. But you don’t have to be a snow or sculpting expert to have fun here. You can also enjoy participating in the snowball fight, going down the snow slide, skiing and snowboarding contest, enjoying the best delicacies Hokkaido has to offer and even chilling at the music concert.
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year, unlike the new year we are all familiar with, is celebrated on a different date each year, generally in January or February, according to the Lunar Calender. The celebration of one of the largest festivals in Asia lasts for 15 days across Chinese communities in South Korea. Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
This grand festival is celebrated with a magnificent fireworks display across Asian countries, along with red paper lanterns that are set free near the rivers, Lion and Dragon Dances, and temple fairs. The streets and houses are decorated in red while people enjoy the large family feasts. Among all the Asian Countries, China and Singapore observe the occasion with the top extravagance.
Diwali – The Festival of Lights
India celebrates countless festivals and auspicious occasions throughout the year as a multi-religious country, but none is observed as opulently as Diwali. It is one of Asia’s most widely celebrated cultural festivals. It is a fiesta of lights and a celebration of the victory of good over evil. It takes place between October and November, depending on the position of the moon.
Since it is regarded as the darkest night of the year, lighting “Diya” in every corner of the house and lighting the streets is the expected way to celebrate Diwali or a small clay lantern. Some of these Diyas extend down the streets, lighting up the entire neighbourhood. Hindu communities all over the world celebrate this holiday by spreading love and joy among others, creating memorable moments.
Thaipusam – Thaipooyam Mahotsavam
Thaipusam is one of the most exceptional festivals in Asia celebrated by the people who follow the Hindu religion, especially in the Tamil community. The 2-day holiday is dedicated to the Hindu God of War, Murugan, and is celebrated on the night of the full moon during a month that coincides with the Pushya Star, in January or February.
Since 1892, this festival has attracted Tamil Born Hindu Pilgrims to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from all over the world in hope and prayers to avoid any and all misfortune. But to get their wishes across to the Gods they have to carry Kavadi, a physical burden, to climb up 272 steps up the temple cave or pierce their skin with Vel skewers. Between the two options most opt for the first one for obvious reasons.
Taiwan Lantern Festival
Asian People are not unfamiliar with Lantern Festivals as dozens of them are celebrated each year. Among them, if you ever had the chance to see one firsthand then you must visit Taiwan to see the Lantern Festival in the Pingxi District. The Lantern Festival is enthusiastically observed across Taiwan to mark the end of New Year celebrations to symbolize good luck, health, prosperity, or fortune.
These Lantern festivals are not just celebrated as a visual treat but they also serve some important purposes. For instance, the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display at the Wumiao Temple in the Yangshuo District is hosted to ward off evil spirits and diseases. While the one at Pingxi District was to assure others of the safety of the town. Together they are known as the “Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North”. The beauty and magic of this event can only be realised on the spot.
Songkran – Thai Water Festival
If you have ever visited or want to visit Thailand, you should be familiar with the original Thai new year, Songkran, which is celebrated on the 13th of April. It is undoubtedly one of Asia’s most energetic cultural festivals. Although now they observe New Year’s on 1st January with the rest of the world, it is still a national holiday of the country. The festivities of the occasion last for 3 days from the 13th to the 15th of April.
Songkran is also known as the water splashing festival. This tradition is based on the belief that water is the true symbol of purity and cleanliness. So Thais believe that splashing each other with water will help cleanse us from our past sins and bring good luck in the future. They also splash water on the hands of the monks and elders as a sign of respect. Apart from the religious ceremonies, traditional dances and music, and feasting, being in the midst of the world’s biggest water fight has to be the highlight of the festival. So if you ever have the chance to participate in the festivities of Songkran then remember to pack some rubber slippers. And don’t forget to wish other Sawadee Pee Mai!
If this blog has piqued your interest, then hurry up and book your next flight out to attend Asia’s magnificently bewitching cultural festivals right now with British Bangla Travel Ltd.