Festivals happen all throughout the world. There are many in the states, festivals in Europe that reach back hundreds of years, and some beautiful celebrations in central and South America. But Asia is littered with festivals in every country all year round.
And while there are hundreds of them, I wanted to focus on just a few that stand out amongst the others. Each festival in Asia is in no way exclusive. They all welcome locals of any age and gender and foreigners alike. They offer color and beauty, culture and traditions. They are the kind of festivals you put on your bucket list because you can’t go a lifetime without experiencing at least a few them.
SONGKRAN IN THAILAND
This is basically the world’s biggest water fight. People of all ages come out on this day with water guns, water cannons, water hoses, and buckets full of water to throw at each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re just passing by on a moped through the city, you will get splashed and doused.
So be sure to wear some clothes you don’t mind getting messy. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time on a hot day then having a giant water fight with the entire city.
Also, be careful of the water people throw at you. Some people get their water from the river which is not clean to drink, so just be sure to close your mouth as they douse you. Another thing to look for are people with buckets of ice or water with ice. Having ice throne on or at you can be painful, so keep an eye out. Thankfully, this rarely happens.
The water fights can start a few days before the actual beginning of the festival, so be sure to get to your rooms with a few days as a buffer. You don’t want to be lugging around soaked backpacks and suitcases.
The festival happens between the 13th and 15th of the year because they are said to be the hottest. So be sure to book a room in Chiang Mai early, this is a very popular festival in Thailand. Other great places to celebrate this would be Bangkok or even some of the Thai islands like Koh, Phangan, and Koh Tao. So check into flights and accommodations in all of these places and see what interest you.
HOLI IN INDIA
Holi or “Festival of Colors” is a celebration in the month of Phalgun which usually falls on March. It marks the arrival of spring and the colors are said to represent life, joy, and energy.
The celebration starts the night before Holi with a bonfire where people gather together to sing and dance. The next day, the color fights begin. Just like Songkran in Thailand, this is a festival for people of all ages to come out and spray each other with water guns, colored water balloons, and of course the colored powder. Amazing food and drinks are had as people fight with colors amidst temples and villages and streets and houses.
The festival moves around the month of March, so keep an open schedule for this one. It’ll be worth the travel!
THAI LANTERN FESTIVAL – YI PENG IN THAILAND
Thailand has a special lantern festival in the month of November, where everyone lifts off a lantern into the night sky. Golden colors lift high into the air for an amazing experience.
Said to represent letting go of past struggles and hurts, this amazingly beautiful festival moves around in the month of November. This is definitely something to put on your bucket list.
WINTER LIGHT FESTIVAL IN JAPAN
Set in the Kuwana city’s Nabana no Sato, a beautiful botanical garden, Japan has created one of the most beautiful light festivals in the winter. With over seven million LED lights, this festival gives a feast for the eyes.
With spectacular light tunnels and flower fields lit up in colors, this festival runs from mid-November to mid-March, so you have plenty of time to see the wondrous display of lights. It really is a great way to knock the winter doldrums off.
MUD FESTIVAL KOREA
In 1998, a festival was started as a way to promote the Boryeong mineral-rich muds. But after a successful first run, the festival became a hit and was then made as an annual celebration.
People can come to Boryeong to lounge and relax on the beach, or they can come to partake in the crazy inflatable water/mud slides, mud wrestling, and mud races. But if you’re looking to be a bit more laid back, thankfully there are activities that aren’t as intense. You can opt for body painting, mud facials, and other fun activities that take place at the fair.
During this time of crazy muddy madness, pop stars from around the world will perform at the festival. Keep your eyes open for anyone famous, and be sure to take part in the fireworks, cultural performances, and parades. Also, book your flight early for the month of July and get ready to get messy.
ATI-ATIHAN IN THE PHILIPPINES
In the Philippines, there is a beautiful and colorful celebration called Ati-Atihan. The locals of the Iloilo city want you to join in with their stunning parade of tribal dances and festivities. They welcome heartedly all outsiders to celebrate with them and watch their tribal dance offs at the Ati Ati Grand Parade.
Many events lead up to the Ati Ati Parade, such as street festivals and fun cultural activities. Happening in early January, it’s a great way to leave the cold winter weather behind for the tropical Philippines.
TRISSUR POORAM ELEPHANT FESTIVAL IN INDIA
More than 200 years old, over thirty colorfully and ornately dressed elephants parade their way through the streets of Thrissur, and down to the Vadakkunnathan temple. Two different teams of men on their elephant all take part in the “pass the parasol” ritual. They stand up on their elephants which gives it a bit of a challenging and competitive feel.
A festival that lasts six days, you will tire yourself out visually and physically from all there is to see and do.
A firework display goes off at three in the morning and continues on for three hours to create a feast for the eyes as everyone in surrounding villages and temples celebrate with folk dancing, amazing food, drum beating, and cultural activities. Usually taking place in mid to late April, this is an amazing festival you’ll want to dive into.
Whether it’s a quick trip or a few months log excursion throughout Asia, putting this on your bucket list is unregrettable. You will come back with a friendly and happy view of the locals after they’ve let you join in on their festivities. There’s no better way to get to know other people then sharing a celebration together.
I hope I was able to provide value to you in this post. If there was something that wasn’t answered or you want to know more about the subject, email mee or let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear you out and answer you as best I can.