Southeast Asia is gleaming with natural beauty in every possible way, on every inch of the region. Clearly this can be seen by the ever-so popular tourism across Southeast Asia which keep on inviting travellers. So, what else is there to talk about?
Well, not only blessed with beautiful landscape and scenery throughout the region, Southeast Asia also has interesting history and culture that are captivating — There’s no doubt about it. Rich in culture, exactly what makes Southeast Asia so unique with its own diversity. As these cultures define the identity of each areas, various festivals and events are held as a ceremony to celebrate them. Again, these cultural festivals are what makes Southeast Asian even more fascinating.
Tết (Vietnamese New Year)
Vietnamese celebrates new years a little differently where it is an occasion for Vietnamese to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors. As part of the celebrations, there are parades and people in the streets trying to make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, gongs, to ward off evil spirits. Tết festival usually falls between late January and mid February, and the next one would be in January 25th 2020.
Attracting over a million devotees as well as tens of thousands of tourists, Thaipusam is a Malaysia’s celebration of Hindu festival. Celebrated by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai. Now, what makes this festival unique is the rare scene of people from different ethnic groups and faiths comes around and participate in the celebration alongside the Hindu devotees. For those who’s interested to see Thaipusam, the dates are decided by the Tamil Calendar, and projected to be on February 8 in 2020.
Not only Vietnamese with the Tết festival, in Thailand the celebration of new year is referred to as Songkran. The celebration usually takes place in Chiang Mai and Bangkok around April 13th to 16th. Traditionally, this festival is a celebration with families and pay respect to elders by spraying a little scented water on their hands. Over the years, Songkran has changed and become a public 3 day water fight, with not only Thais but more than half a million tourists join in the water fight.
Waisak, which is also known as ‘Tri Suci Waisak’ or ‘Three Holy Events’ is a sacred festival by Buddhist community throughout Java. The festival commemorates the birth of Buddha, the acceptance of divine revelation under the Bodhi tree and the journey of Buddha to heaven. Held on the night of the full moon in May, Waisak takes place at Borobudur, the spectacular Buddhist monument in Yogyakarta. Ceremonial offerings are made such as fruit and flowers and thousands of candles throughout the city.
Rainforest World Music Festival
This unique festival held in Malaysian island of Borneo is a celebration of music, nature and culture. While the main event is the music performance, the three-day festival also includes a packed schedule of informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, intimate jamming sessions and mini concerts. Considered as one of the largest musical events in Malaysia, the Rainforest World Music Festival takes place at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching. To witness this festival, you can check on the website for the announced dates which on this year would be the July 12 - 14.
Also known as the “Hungry Ghost Festival” and “Festival of the Dead”, Pchum Ben is the day when the Cambodians pay respect to 7 generations of ancestors. As Pchum Ben means “to gather together a ball of food”, the festival involves a food offering ritual in the pagodas with the expectation to the monks will reduce the sins of the ancestors. Cambodians believe that on the first day of this festival, the gates of hell are opened and ghosts as well as ancestors are let out. The Pchum Ben festival will be held this year on September 27.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Regardless of the name, this world-renowned 10 days event is a feast for the eyes rather than the stomach. Series of celebration like walking barefoot on hot coals, climbing ladders made of blades, and even the crazy body piercing will be the servings of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. It is said that gods can enter the body and evil spirits are dispelled from town. This year, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival will be held on September 27 until October 7 through the streets of Phuket’s Old Town in South Thailand.