Unmissable Cultural Holidays & Festivals in Asia
Asia is a colourful continent full of exciting events going on at any time of year, including religious, traditional and cultural festivals.
For a truly immersive travel experience, it’s a great idea to time your trip so that you can observe, or even participate in, some of the best cultural festivals in Asia.
Here, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the most famous festivals in Asia in some of the most popular countries for holidays, including India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Japan – as well as the dates of the Asian festivals in 2019.
With thousands of traditional Asian festivals to choose from, we hope this list inspires you to get involved in the celebrations and book your next trip to coincide with one of the holidays celebrated in Asia every year.
1. Holi (Hindu)
March is an exciting and colourful time to visit India with the spring festival of Holi taking place, Holi generally takes place during the last week of March. One of the most popular Asian festivals, celebrations take place across India.
However, Holi is celebrated enthusiastically in Northern India (especially in Udaipur, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Delhi) and in the south it tends to be a much more subdued affair.
Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the festival coincides with the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a time to give thanks for a good harvest, plus it is a time to come together and end any conflicts you might have with others.
The festivities begin with bonfires where people gather to watch the burning of Holika effigies. Religious rituals and prayers are carried out in the hope that evil will be destroyed in the fire as Holika was.
2. Diwali or Deepavali (Hindu)
Every October/November the streets of India erupt with colour and sound as Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated.
Diwali, or Deepavali, honours Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and during this festival people decorate their homes with lamps, known as diyas, and other decorations, to welcome Lakshmi in.
The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over dark. You’ll see celebratory fireworks all over the country (it is believed that the loud bangs and the bright lights chase away evil spirits).
Diwali is a time to be with family and friends, to celebrate the good things in life and to look forward to prosperity, and it is a magical time to be in India. Countries with a large Hindu population also celebrate Diwali, including Sri Lanka, Malaysia & Mauritius.
3. Durga Puja (Hindu)
Durga Puja festival is one of the most important festivals in the region and there are lively processions carrying idols of the Goddess Durga through the streets and down to the river.
The festival celebrates the victory of Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura, and is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as mother and creator of life. Durga Puja takes place annually every October.
4. Pushkar Camel Fair – Pushkar, Rajasthan
The Pushkar Camel Fair, known as Pushkar ka Mela, is a cultural festival/fair held in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
The festival sees around 50,000 camels, goats and other livestock brought here for trading and to participate in races. It’s accompanied by music and dance performances, cricket matches and a longest moustache competition, fittingly called the Mr. Desert Competition.
There are also hundreds of authentic stalls selling jewellery, textiles and other items from the surrounding areas. Visiting the festival of Pushkar Camel Fair is a once-in-a-life travel experience and visit us.