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Event Category: Festivals in Asia

As the largest and most populous continent in the world occupying almost a third of our planet’s earth area, it’s no wonder that festivals in Asia cover virtually anything you can imagine, from religion and folklore to food and music via the quirky and the downright bizarre. There’s probably no better way to get under the skin of a particular Asian country or destination than by attending a local festival.

Importance of festivals in Asia

On such an incredibly diverse continent where so many different religions, ethnicities and cultures have to co-exist peacefully, festivals in Asia are the glue that binds human relationships and keep people connected to their roots and values while opening up minds to other worldviews.

Types of festivals in Asia

Plenty of festivals in Asia have religious or mythical origins, from the many Hindu festivals such as Diwali India and Thaipusam in Malaysia, or popular Buddhist festivals such as Loy Krathong and Yi Peng in Thailand, to Muslim Eid al-Fitr in all Muslim-populated countries, and animist-inspired festivals of indigenous peoples like the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, India. But also the more worldly festivals are becoming increasingly popular in Asia, whether they are art and literary events such as the Rainforest Fringe Festival in Borneo and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, or music and food happenings like Singapore’s Ultra Music Festival and the Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong. But often a country’s most important event is their culture’s New Year, from Nowruz in many Central Asian countries and Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia, to Chinese New Year amongst all ethnic Chinese across Asia and the fun-filled water battles of Songkran in Thailand.  Others are simply nature’s gift such as the Cherry Blossom Season Japan, or honour fertility like Kanamara Matsuri or Japan Penis Festival.

Dates of festivals in Asia

Plenty of Asia’s festivals don’t have a fixed date and hence are celebrated at slightly different times each year. That’s because they are often based on lunar calendars like is the case with the Sky Lantern Festival Taiwan, or follow agricultural practices related to planting and harvest seasons such as the outrageous Bun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival Thailand. So don’t forget to do a little bit of research if you plan to incorporate a festival into your Asian travel plans.

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September 2019

Setouchi Triennale 2019, Japan

September 28 - November 4
Setouchi islands Japan
Setouchi Triennale Japan

Every three years the Setouchi Triennale, one of Japan’s biggest festivals of modern art, takes place in the south-west of the country. Come spring this exceptional celebration...

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October 2019

Nabana no Sato Winter Light Festival Japan 2020

October 15, 2019 - March 31, 2020
Nabana no Sato, 270 Urushibata, Komae
Kuwana City,Mie511-1144Japan
+ Google Map
Japan light tunnel

Nabana no Sato, a botanical garden in the Japanese prefecture of Mie, is home each year to one of the country’s best and biggest winter light festivals. During several months, magical light tunnels, animated light shows and millions of LED lights immerse Nabana no Sato into an endless sea of light. Nabana no Sato flower park and botanical gardens The popular Nabana no Sato flower park comprises of several sections each dedicated to flowers. Its impressive number of flower varieties…

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Diwali 2019 (Deepavali), Festival of Light, India

October 27
Various
Diwali

What do you do when you return home after having been exiled for 14 years? You heave a sigh of relief and celebrate. That’s what happens during Diwali (also called Deepavali) in October when in India Lord Rama, his wife Sita, his younger brother Lakshmana and the monkey god Lord Hanuman return home after defeating the demon King Ravana. To welcome back their king and to illuminate their path, the people of his home town Ayodhya lit diyas or oil…

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Tokyo International Film Festival 2019, Japan

October 28 - November 5
Roppongi Hills, 6 Chome-10-1 Roppongi
Minato City, Tokyo,106-6108Japan
+ Google Map
Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan

Prepare yourself to rub shoulders with film stars and to discover top international movies at one of Asia’s most prestigious competitive film events, the annual Tokyo...

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November 2019

Pushkar Camel Fair 2019, India

November 4 - November 12
Pushkar Camel Fair Pushkar,RajasthanIndia + Google Map
Pushkar Camel Fair

The Pushkar Camel Fair in November is a fantastic, colourful madhouse where Hindu pilgrims, mystics, cattle traders, entertainers, tourists and camera crews mix with some 30,000 camels.   Also known as Pushkar Mela or Pushkar Fair, every year this nine-day event turns into one of the world’s largest animal fairs when this small, sacred desert town in the Indian state of Rajasthan attracts over 200,000 visitors. From genuine, age-old Indian trading practices and chanting Hindu devotees all the way to the…

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December 2019

Hornbill Festival 2019 in Nagaland, India

December 1 - December 10
Kisama Heritage Village, Kisama Heritage Village
Kisama,NagalandIndia
+ Google Map
Hornbill Festival worldwide festival

The biggest event of indigenous warrior tribes in India’s Nagaland state, the 10-day Hornbill Festival sees singing, dance and sports performances mix...

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Konya Whirling Dervishes Festival 2019

December 7 - December 17
Konya Konya,Turkey + Google Map
Whirling Dervishes

For eleven days, the Turkish city of Konya will host one of the most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality with the mesmerising beauty of the Whirling Dervishes honouring Mevlana, the great Sufi mystic. Thousands of people will gather to commemorate the life and teachings of the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi – also known as Mevlana (“our master”). The unity of being is the central tenet in the transcendental teachings of this Islamic philosopher who believed that dance…

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Harbin Ice Festival China 2020 Extravaganza

December 25, 2019 - February 25, 2020
Harbin Harbin,China + Google Map
Harbin Ice Festival

Once mostly a regional affair, the Harbin Ice Festival, China - or the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival...

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January 2020

Tsagaan Sar 2020 in Mongolia

January 25, 2020 - January 27, 2020
Various
Tsagaan Sar, Mongolia

Tsagaan Sar or Mongolia’s lunar new year is the most important festival for ethnic Mongols and the people of the Arctic where age-old rituals combine with eating local delicacies such as dumplings, sweets and plenty of vodka.  While many travellers may be reluctant to visit the world’s coldest capital Ulaanbaatar in winter – temperatures can drop to -40C – Tsagaan Sar is a particularly favourable time for exploring Mongolia. This is when the country’s rich traditions come to life with…

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Chinese New Year 2020

January 25, 2020 - January 30, 2020
Various
Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is undoubtedly China’s pre-eminent and most intense festive period characterised by sumptuous family meals, the colour red, paper lanterns and lots...

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February 2020

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival 2020, Taiwan

February 8, 2020 - February 9, 2020
Sky Lantern Release Square Shifen,New Taipei countyTaiwan + Google Map
Free
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Experience the magic of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in February when thousands of glowing lights float up into the ink black sky above the small hillside village of Shifen in northern Taiwan. A few years ago The Discovery Channel named the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival one of the best festivals from around the planet while in 2016 National Geographic listed it among the 10 best winter trips worldwide. Taking place during the first full moon of the Chinese Lunar…

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Hong Kong Arts Festival 2020

February 13, 2020 - March 14, 2020
Different venues in Hong Kong Hong Kong + Google Map
Hong Kong Arts Festival

International top artists giving world class performances ranging from the classical to the avant-garde, and the familiar to the surprising – the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2020 is this vibrant city’s premier cultural happening. Organised since 1973, the festival is now in its 48th edition and has grown into the territory’s biggest arts event of the year drawing thousands of spectators. What is the Hong Kong Arts Festival? During the four weeks of the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2020, leading…

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Valentine’s Day 2020 around the World

February 14, 2020
Various
Valentine's Day

It’s that time of the year again that love birds look forward to, many singles dread, and some brave souls try to ignore. The least that could be said about Valentine’s Day is that it triggers a range of emotions. So, are you bored with chocolates, roses and the obligatory candle-lit dinner? Travel Begins at 40 has put together a list of Valentine's Day traditions around the world to help you decide to which places to go on Valentine's Day…

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Khövsgöl Ice Festival 2020, Mongolia

February 28, 2020 - March 1, 2020
Khövsgöl Lake Khatgal,Mongolia + Google Map
Khövsgöl Ice Festival, Mongolia

Each March, residents of Mongolia’s Khövsgöl Lake area celebrate the Khövsgöl Ice Festival with horse-drawn sleighs, elaborate ice sculptures, traditional food and vibrant competitions including ice skating, ice sumo wrestling, tug of war, ice ger building and dog sledding – all on the dark blue ice of the frozen lake. During the Khövsgöl Ice Festival, the lake after which the festival is named becomes a frozen playground for locals and visitors alike. For the occasion, participants dress up in their…

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March 2020

Winter Golden Eagle Festival 2020, Mongolia

March 3, 2020 - March 4, 2020
Chinggis Khaanii Khuree Complex, Chingisiin Khuree Tsogtsolbor
Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia
+ Google Map
Golden Eagle Festival Mongolia

At Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival in winter, ethnic Kazakhs show off the breathtaking skills of their trained hunting eagles, alongside cultural displays of Kazakh...

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Camel Festival Mongolia 2020 (Temeenii Bayar)

March 6, 2020 - March 7, 2020
Gobi Desert Dalanzadgad,South GobiMongolia + Google Map
Camel Festival Mongolia

During the Camel Festival, held in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, nomadic herders show off their skills during the biggest camel race in the world, alongside cultural activities…

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Holi Festival 2020 India

March 9, 2020 - March 10, 2020
Multiple Venues
Holi Festival

Holi festival India 2020 is a riotous two-day Hindu celebration where crowds douse each other with colour and water – and is probably India’s most vibrant and fun festival.  Holi sees family, friends and strangers come together to dance, laugh and feast, celebrating the triumph of good over evil and the arrival of the spring harvest season. Most often associated with getting drenched in water and throwing coloured powders or gulal at one another, Holi Festival actually consists of two…

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Cherry Blossom Season Japan 2020

March 16, 2020 - April 20, 2020
All over Japan
Cherry Blossom Japan

The Cherry Blossom Season Japan or sakura is one of the country's top highlights every year when locals and visitors gather to admire the stunning, blooming cherry trees in parks and streets. The entire 3,000-km-long country turns topsy-turvy with lots of hanami or flower viewing picnics taking place underneath the spectacular cherry trees. This explosion of colour is a true national treasure in the country and is the pride of every Japanese. The red and white flowers during the famous…

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Nowruz or Persian New Year 2020

March 21, 2020
Various
Nowruz - Persian New Year

Experience the opulence of Nowruz – or Persian New Year – with an abundance of food, music and hospitality in one of many Persian-heritage countries...

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April 2020

Kanamara Matsuri, Japan Penis Festival, 2020

April 5, 2020
Kanayama Shrine, 2 Chome-13-16 Daishi Ekimae
Kawasaki,Kanagawa210-0802Japan
+ Google Map
Japan Penis Festival

The Japan Penis Festival is arguably the country’s most amusing event when tens of thousands of revellers roam the streets of Kawasaki city in April to pay tribute to fertility in an age-old ritual, amidst thousands of phalluses of all sizes, shapes and colours. Kanamari Matsuri means Festival of the Steel Phallus and is becoming more and more popular every year amongst Japanese and foreigners alike, to whom it is more commonly known as the Japan Penis Festival. The modern…

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