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Top under-radar festivals you won't want to miss

The year end, according to ancient culture of most Asian countries, is the time to finish harvesting the field and relax until spring comes. Therefore, it is also the most festive time, as people are free to celebrate the year in a colorful and cheerful way. Come join us on the adventure from several countries of the Southeast Asia, and glimpse at what kind of celebration they will have.

Atiatihan - Philippines

The festival celebrates the story of intertribal acceptance and unity of Philippines. In the 13th century, Malay refugees were allowed to settle in the land of the darker-skinned Ati tribe. To honor their generosity, the emigrant Malay tribe painted their skin with dark pigments and threw a feast. And when the Ati tribe was starving from a poor harvest and enlist the help of the Datus, the Malay refugees returned the favor by feeding them. Above all, Ati-Atihan is an exhibition of costume and dance. Soot-black painted faces, feather headdresses, and animal bones create a striking visual impression. Drumming and dancing break out at dawn and continue to the dusk.


Ati-Atihan festival     -     Source: http://pucchio.com

Hmong New Year – Laos, Vietnam and Thailand

In early December is the New Year celebration unique to the culture of the Hmong people, a ethnic groups residing in Northern Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. The event takes place at different times each year depending on the harvesting of the rice. According to the old beliefs of the Hmong people, the festival must be at least three days long, as an even number of days is considered bad luck. Celebrations have been known to continue for a month and a half sometimes! This is the largest festivity for the Hmong people as this is the only period that they have a break from farming. Traditional performances, games and events are enjoyed by everyone in the community, so it’s also the chance for the singletons of different villages to meet prospective spouses.


Hmong New Year Festival

Bun Pha Vet – Laos

Bun Pha Vet is an important Buddhist Festival when Tales of Buddha are recited throughout temples, making it a favourable time for Laos men to be ordained into monkhood. The belief behind this tradition is that the participants in this preaching ceremony would be born again into the religion of Phra Si AriyaMettrai – the land of eternal happiness as per the Buddhism states.


Bun Pha Vet festival – Laos     -     Source: laos.threeland.com

It is a significant time of the year for friends and family to gather together. During the festival, Buddhist followers in Laos celebrate sacred ceremonies, prepare traditional food and enjoy great time with families and friends. You can also enjoy the special vegan cuisine of this event: KhanomJin and steamed sticky rice as a gift to visitors and offering to the monks in the temple.

The King’s Birthday as Father’s day - Thailand

The admirable King BhumibolAdulyadej of Thailand was born on December 5, and the date is now celebrated as Father’s Day across Thailand. Thai people may give a dok Buddha ruksa (known as a canna flower) to their fathers and grandfathers on this day, or handout offering to monks in the morning. Many people also wear yellow, which is the king’s color symbol.


Daughter give jasmine garland to father in fathers day for Thailand tradition

Emerald Buddha Temple, which is located in the Grand Palace complex, will still be open on December 5-6th, but the Royal Palace and Chapel will be closed on this occasion.

Co Loa Citadel Festival - Vietnam

The first royal palace of Vietnam may be Co Loa castle, located in Hanoi. The legend says that King An Duong Vuong of Au Lac kingdom built this castle along the footsteps of a golden divine turtle, who later taught him to make arbalest to fight off invaders. To commemorate the event when An Duong Vuong started moving into the citadel, residents of 12 hamlets belonging to Co Loa as well as 7 other communes around the region held Co Loa Citadel Festival within a 10 day period - from the 6th to 16th day of the first Lunar month. The respected elders of these communes will participate in an incense offering at the An Duong Vuong temple. The funeral oration, incense burner and ancient stone table will be paraded around the villages.


Co Loa Citadel festival     -     Source: packagetravel.info

-------  Fascinating festivals, with meaningful ceremony and history are what you can find in most countries across Asia this season. For an extraordinary, don’t just celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s Eve, book a trip to the captivating Asia to join in and discover more traditional festivities.


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