Festival season always an exciting period to travels. In Malaysia for instance; there will be a lot of major festivals happening throughout the years and the country and normally, Tourism Malaysia will have a full list of events and festivals happening on that year.
Unfortunately, since Malaysia still on Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the pandemic, the calendar is not fully updated, and we totally understand it since it is a hard time to plan, getting a sponsor and so on.
If you are into cultural festivals and looking to experience it, we have a list of famous festivals in Asia that takes place in Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Huong Pagoda Festival
Huong Pagoda Festival is among the greatest Buddhist festival in northern part of Vietnam as it tells the story of a journey to the Buddhist land in February.
Huong Pagoda Festival plays an important role in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people in general and Vietnamese Buddhists in particular. According to the myth, one of the Buddhas attained enlightenment there, and so Buddhists celebrate her birthday in the lunar calendar by taking a pilgrimage to Huong Pagoda in the Spring every year.
It is also believed that the pilgrimage will bring health, prosperity, good luck and happiness.
Hung King Temple Festival
The official name of the festival is 'Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings'. However, the date does not mark the death of any specific Hung King but honours their contribution to Vietnam as the traditional founders of the nation and the first emperors.
The Hung Kings' Temple Festival is held each year from the 8th to the 11th days of the third lunar month in honour of the Hung Kings and their role in shaping the nation.
The main festival day is observed on the 10th day of the month and since 2007 this has been a national holiday in Vietnam.
Lim Festival, Lim Village
Held in Lim Village 18km from Hanoi, this festival originally celebrated Ba Mu, who led her life as a Buddhist nun at Lim pagoda.
The festival is held on Ba Mu’s day of enlightenment and is famous for showcasing the locals’ unique vocal stylings through Quan Ho folk songs. The best singers from two villages are chosen to compete in singing dialogues, which take place in beautiful natural settings.
The festival falls on the 13th to the 15th day of the first lunar month. It’s the festival of “Quan Ho” singing, which has been named one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009.
During this celebration at Lim Village near Hanoi, you can enjoy local games like bamboo swings, cockfighting, tug-of-war, wresting, etc, and listen to the highlight of the festival – Quan Ho folk singing performances.
Sinulog Festival (Santo Nino)
Sinulog Festival or Santo Nino Festival is an annual religious and cultural festival in Cebu.
The festival is thought to be the first of the most well-known festivals in the Philippines, and it is held on every third Sunday of January and features a grand parade and colourful performances that include fireworks and music.
Besides the religious part of the celebration, Sinulog is also well-known for its street parties before the day of celebration and during the day of the festival.
Ati-Atihan Festival – Aklan, Panay Island
If you plan to visit Boracay in January, you might as well watch the locals masquerading as Negritos in colorful costumes, dancing and chanting “Hala Bira!” in Aklan for their Ati-Atihan Festival.
Similar to Cebu’s Sinulog Festival, this event is celebrated to honor Santo Niño. Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan is considered to be one of the best festivals in the Philippines. This religious festivity is also one of the oldest Philippine celebrations.
Pahiyas Festival – Lucban, Quezon
Every famous festival in the Philippines is always colourful, and Pahiyas Festival, without a doubt, is one of the most colorful and vibrant festivals in the Philippines. You can trace Pahiyas Festival origin way back in the 15th century. Farmers then used to offer their harvests at the foot of Mount Banahaw.
This is an annual celebration to pay homage to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, for a bountiful harvest in town. Houses are decorated with the town’s best agricultural products, mostly colourful Kipings— a traditional Filipino leaf-shaped wafer made from glutinous rice.
What’s more exciting about Pahiyas festival is that FREE and grab-all-you-can fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere for the visitors to taste and enjoy.
Langkawi Water Festival - Langkawi, Kedah
Organized as a 3-day festival held every year in April, the Langkawi Water Festival celebrates water sports and activities. A series of challenges and competitions, from sandcastle building to kayak races and beach netball, makes it exciting for locals and tourists alike.
Started in 2002, it managed to set a Malaysian Record for holding a record-breaking 115 activities in a single event in 2008.
Tadau Ka’amatan Harvest Festival - Sabah
This native festival of Kadazan-Dusun, Sabah’s largest ethnic group is essentially a celebration to thank the holy spirits for a bountiful harvest making it to the list of famous festivals in Malaysia.
Padi farmers congregate to honour ‘Bambaazon’, the spirit of rice padi through traditional rites and customs followed by festivities. The headquarters of Kadazan Dusun Cultural Organization hold ethnic dance performances as well as display of traditional sports like arm-wrestling, blowpipe shooting etc.
Free-flow of Tapai and Lihing, the local rice wines adds to the spirit and fervour of one of the most interesting cultural festivals of Malaysia.
Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak
One of the most spectacular music festivals in Malaysia and among the largest in Southeast Asia, Rainforest Music Festival is a heady mix of live performances by top-notch international artists, cultural experiences and workshops.
There is nothing can beat the excitement of gyrating to foot-stomping music in the rainforests of Borneo with thousands of music enthusiasts from across the world.
Head to the Sarawak Cultural Village for an unforgettable 3-day musical extravaganza. Tentatively, it will be organized in July 2021.
Yadnya Kasada (Kasodo), Mount Bromo
Celebrated in Bromo (more specifically, Mount Bromo) in East Java by the indigenous Tenggerese community, Yadnya Kasada is held during the full moon of Kasada Month in the traditional Hindu Tengger calendar (18 July 2021 for this year).
This ceremony is held to honor Sang Hyang Widhi, based on the ancient legend of Roro Anteng and Joko Seger. There will be prayers on Mount Bromo and then the throwing of a series of offerings into the crater itself. Although it is only for one day, but a series of ceremonies start a week before the Yadnya Kasada day.
On the day of Yadnya Kasada long before daybreak, devotees who have journeyed up Mt. Bromo, will pray together atop the mountain and then throw their offerings into the crater.
The offerings include vegetables, fruit, livestock, flowers as well as money, and are offered in grateful thanks for an abundance of agricultural produce and livestock given to them.
Sometimes locals clamber down into the crater despite obvious dangers, to retrieve the sacrificed goods, which are believed to bring them good luck.
Sekaten is a week-long Javanese traditional ceremony, festival, fair and pasar malam (night market) commemorating Maulid (the birthday of prophet Muhammad), celebrated annually started on 5th day through the 12th day of (Javanese Calendar) Mulud month (corresponding to Rabi' al-awwal in Islamic Calendar).
The festivities usually took place in northern alun-alun (square) in Yogyakarta, and simultaneously also celebrated in northern alun-alun of Surakarta.
This ceremony originally were initiated by Sultan Hamengkubuwana I, the founder of Yogyakarta Sultanate to promote the Islamic faith.
If you are currently planning to visit these country, why don't you plan ahead so that you may experience the cultural festival while you are there. Due to the pandemic, do check with the local tourism board regarding the festivals etc.
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