Asian and African Festivals

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Asian festivals vary from place to place but all share one thing in common: they're big and a lot of fun! With so many different cultures, religions, and reasons to celebrate squeezed into Asia, you'll probably be close to an interesting festival no matter where you travel. Many events are based on lunar calendars and the dates change each year. Use this guide to plan around some of the largest festivals in Asia. 1. Festivals in Thailand

Songkran / Thai Water Festival: April 13 -15.
Loi Krathong and Yi Peng: Usually November.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival: Around September or October. •King's Birthday: December 5.
Queen's Birthday: August 12.
Full Moon Parties: On or close to the full moon. See Full Moon Party dates. See details about the festivals in Thailand.
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Gandhi's Birthday: October 2.
Republic Day: January 26.
Independence Day: August 15.
Holi Festival: Usually in March.
Diwali: Between October and December.
Thaipusam: In January or February.
Pushkar Camel Fair: Usually in November.
See details about the festivals in India.
3. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world and the first few days will certainly have an impact on all destinations in Asia, even outside of China. Expect accommodation to be pricier than usual and for transportation to fill up. The reward is worth the effort! •When: Dates change; see when is Chinese New Year.

Where: All major cities in Asia including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang, and others. 4. Ramadan
There is no reason to avoid travel during the Islamic holy month. In fact, you'll get to enjoy special foods, markets, and festivals in the evenings and particularly during Hari Raya Puasa at the end of the fasting. •When: Dates change yearly based on the sighting of the crescent moon. •Where: Any country with a large Muslim population including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and others. 5. Chinese Moon Festival

Also known as the Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinese Moon Festival is a happy time when friends, family, and lovers spend time together and exchange mooncakes. Chinese mooncakes are small, round cakes with different fillings; some can be surprisingly heavy and expensive! •When: Dates change, but usually around September.

Where: Anyplace with a large Chinese population including Singapore and other major Asian cities. 6. Rainforest World Music Festival
One of Southeast Asia's largest music festivals, the Rainforest World Music Festival, is held each summer just outside of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. As if a large, international lineup of bands wasn't enough, the scenery is amazing and the three-day festival has plenty of cultural demonstrations and workshops. Read about how to find cheap flights to Borneo. •When: Every year in June or July.

Where: The Sarawak Cultural Village, located outside of Kuching. 7. Hari Merdeka

Hari Merdeka translates to 'Independence Day' and can refer to the celebrations in either Malaysia or Indonesia. The day marks both countries' independence from colonial rule and is celebrated with a parade and demonstrations. Public transportation is greatly affected during the festivals. •When: On August 31 in Malaysia. On August 17 in Indonesia. •Where: Throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, including Sumatra. 8. Setsubun in Japan

Setsubun is celebrated during Japan's Haru Matsuri or Spring Festival to welcome the beginning of spring. Participants throw soy beans to frighten away evil spirits that could threaten health in the new lunar year. Although Setsubun is not an official national holiday, the event has...
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