Asia’s Must-See Cultural and Colorful Festivals
Cultural festivities in Asia are plentiful. There are so many to choose from. In order to help you, we will present you the best Asian cultural festivals. For this carnival special, we picked the biggest and lesser-known celebrations from China to Thailand to South Korea. Our carnival special shows that there is no lack of culture and color in Asia.
Harbin Ice Festival, China
From December 24th, 2017 to February 25th, 2018, Harbin City transforms into a winter wonderland. The city offers the world's largest ice festival and showcasesan ice and snow world with beautiful ice sculpture artwork. At the festival, visitors can try out various winter activities, such as winter swimming watching, staying in ice hotels, dog sledding or safari-style Siberian tigers watching.
Chinese New Year, Singapore
Also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest and longest celebrations in the Chinese calendar. Singapore hosts a three-day party featuring dragon parades and distinctive Chinese fireworks. Festivities take place all over the city. The festival starts before the start of Chinese New Year, with the streets decorated with beautifully-designed lanterns. Moreover, there are colorful processions, seasonal markets, and lively lion dances. The main public event is the Chingay Parade, where street floats, clowns, dancers, acrobats, and jugglers celebrate Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year 2018 is held on February 16th.
Holi Festival of Colors, India
One of the most colorful Asian festivals is the Holi Festival of Colors. The Holi Festival, also known as the Festival of Love, celebrates the beginning of spring. The festival originated in India and has been adopted in many places around the world. During this Asian festival, revelers throw smearing colored powder and water at each other, leaving everyone coated in color. The night before the Holi festival a big bonfire is burned to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Holi takes place every year on the day after the full moon in March. In 2018, Holi will be celebrated on March 2nd in most areas of India. In West Bengal and Odisha, the festival takes place a day earlier. Traditional Holi celebrations are the biggest in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Taiwan Lantern Festival, Taiwan
There are so many different lantern festivals happening in Asia. However, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is the most stunning one. The festival is happening on the water, on the land, and in the air. The festival was launched in Taipei 28 years ago and has been held at a different location every year since 2001. The event includes lantern making, water and light shows and the display of traditional craft art. The most magical event happens when the lanterns are released simultaneously along with thousands of others.
Songkran, or Thai New Year, is a Buddhist festival and Thailand’s most important public holiday. Songkran is the world’s biggest water fight and is held in April every year. The streets are full of people armed with buckets, bowls, and water guns, rubbing colored chalk on each other and throwing water. Do not expect to stay dry during this weekend. Do not feel offended, the throwing of water is symbolic of spring-cleaning and is also seen as a way of paying respect to others. The festival will be held from Friday, 13th to Sunday 15th of April.
Dragon Boat Festival, China
The Duanwu Festival, also often known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is one of the many Dragon Boat Festivals in Asia. During the festival, people enjoy eating sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves (zongzi) and drinking realgar wine (xionghuangjiu). The main event is the dragon boat race. The teak wooden boats are brightly decorated. The front end displays the head of an open-mouthed dragon and the back a scaly tail. Up to 80 rowers can sit in a boat. Before the race starts a sacred ceremony is performed to bring the boats to life. The festival will be held on Monday, 18th of June. The event has high popularity in southern areas of China, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian Provinces.
Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
Boryeong Mud Festival is held in the Daecheon beach area in west South Korea every summer. Visitors of this Asian festival fully immerse in Boryeong's mud and experience mud wrestling, mud sliding and mud skiing. Visitors looking for a relaxing activity can swim in the giant mud bath and enjoy a mud spa. In the evening, music and firework will keep the party going.
Winter Light Festival, Japan
In Japan, there are more than 300,000 "matsuri," traditional Japanese festivals. Gion Matsuri is the most famous festival in Japan. It is not just Kyoto’s biggest festival – it’s one of Japan’s biggest annual events. This festival of Yasaka Shrine takes place over the entire month of July and features religious observance and a raucous street festival. The grand procession of floats is the most spectacular event during this month. Visitors will see locals dressing up in colorful yukata robes promenading around the streets, eating and drinking.