The 10 Most Amazing Festivals in Asia
The continent of Asia is home to many groups of people, each with amazing cultures and history. For the sake of the following list, we tried to choose from a variety of festivals whether cultural, religious or something else, from as many varying countries as possible. The result is what we believe to be the ten most amazing festivals in Asia.
10 Yi Peng Lantern Festival (Thailand)
Not to be confused with the Loi Krathong festival, Yi Peng (or Yee Peng as known by the locals) is a celebration all of its own. Held on the second lunar month of the Lanna calendar, this religious ceremony has revelers sending sky lanterns by the thousands into the night sky in hopes of ending bad luck and misfortune. The largest celebration takes place in the city of Chiang Mai which was the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom. The show is absolutely brilliant to witness and should not be missed.
9 Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan)
Held over a seven day period every year in the month of February in the Japanese city of Sapporo, the Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s largest winter events. It attracts over two million people from Japan and abroad to take part in the festivities and witness the amazing snow and ice sculptures. In addition to the sculptures, every year a female beauty contest known as the Susukino Queen of Ice, is held at the festival site.
8 Konaki Sumo (Japan)
One of the oddest festivals on our list is the Konaki Sumo. This is a tradition dating back more than 400 years in some Japanese Temples. Every year, around one hundred babies will participate in this festival during the month of April in the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. The rules are odd, but quite simple. Two sumo wrestlers, each holding a baby, will stand face to face. The winner is the baby who cries first. In the event of a tie, the winner is the baby who cries the loudest.
7 Thrissur Pooram Elephant Festival (India)
Thrissur Poorum is a Hindu temple festival held annually in the Indian city of Kerala. Unlike other festivals in India, the Thrissur Poorum is unique in it’s participation, pageantry and magnitude. The festival begins with fireworks, and is followed by a number of activities at the local temples, including folk dancing. The highlight of the festival is the elephants. They are adorned in golden headdresses, decorative bells, palm leaves and peacock feathers.
6 Naadam (Mongolia)
Look out Olympic Games, here is Naadam, Mongolia’s largest cultural festival. Held annually on July 11th – 13th at the National Sports Stadium, Naadam is a contest of athleticism. Following a grand opening spectacle complete with mounted cavalry and bright colors, is the Wrestling competition. This is a men’s only competition which involves either 512 or 1024 athletes that compete one on one in single elimination wrestling. Next is the Horse Race competition which can include up to 1000 horses and their child jockeys, competing in various long distance races. Finally is the Archery competition that includes ten men/women teams competing for titles of National Marksman and National Markswoman.
5 Phuket Vegetarian Festival (Thailand)
Although the Vegetarian Festival is celebrated in a number of provinces in Thailand, the festivities that take place on the island of Phuket has them all beat. The festival is a celebration stemming from Chinese tradition wherein the participants cleanse their bodies and souls. This is done for the most part by eating vegetarian food and abstaining from sex and alcohol. Which sets Phuket apart from the rest are the participants who result to self mutilation in the cleansing process. This is typically done by piercing the cheeks with any range of items and parading through the streets of Phuket City.
4 Boryeong Mud Festival (South Korea)
The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual even that takes place for around two weeks in the summer months. Originally started as a means to promote Boryeong mud cosmetics, it has since expanded into the party that it is today. Celebrators are in for a muddy experience with such attractions as the mud pool, mud prison, mud slides and of course, the mud skiing competitions. The actual mud used for the festival is produced on the Boryeong mud flats and is said to contain natural minerals that are wonderful for the skin.
3 Ati-Atihan (Philippines)
The Ati-Atihan Festival is an annual event celebrating Santo Niño, the Infant Jesus. Celebrated in the third week of January, this week-long festival is a spectacle of color and culture. Leading off the celebration is a formal opening mass for the Santo Niño. There are street processions set to rhythmic drumbeats and dancing. The participants all show off bright colored face paint and beautifully decorated costumes. It is a fun and exciting atmosphere that is reminiscent of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
2 Holi (India)
Informally known as the Festival of Color, the spring festival of Holi holds strong religious significance within the Hindu religion. Typically falling in March, sometimes late February, Holi signifies the victory of good over evil. It ushers in the beginning of spring and is a time for regrowth and forgiveness. Holi is a time to play, to laugh and most importantly, repair those relationships that may have been damaged over the previous year. It is a fun, lighthearted festival that has a way of bringing everyone together, if only for a single day. Otherwise offensive activities are completely acceptable on Holi, whether spraying colored water at passers-by or getting completely intoxicated in the streets, all you need to say is “Don’t mind, it’s Holi!”
1 Songkran (Thailand)
Topping out our list is one of the wildest parties that you will find in Asia. The Festival of Songkran falls over the traditional Thai New Years (April 13th to 15th), and what was once a solemn Buddhist festival is now the largest water fight in the world. Although the festival typically spans the course of three days, people in certain cities choose to celebrate for a week or more. Songkran is a drunken, wet party that has to be experienced firsthand to truly understand.
That’s our list of the 10 most amazing festivals in Asia. Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments below.
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