In some few days, millions of Americans will be crisscrossing the country to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Year by year, Thanksgiving starts with long streets packed with vehicles and ends with turkey feast in every home. Do you feel that boring?
Here’s some inspiration: five countries and peoples that absolutely crush this harvest festival game.
1. Loy Krathong – Yi Peng Festival (Thailand)
Loy Krathong and Yi Peng are 2 signature festivals of Thailand. Loy Krathong is more popular than Yi Peng, however, it is the magic of Yipeng light festival with thousand of Krathong (sky lanterns) that attracts thousands of people around the world to Thailand.
Experiencing Yi Peng Festival with colorful sky lanterns
The dates of the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival, like any festivals in South East Asia, change every year depending on the full moon. Normally it will be held in November, in the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar Calendar.
Although these festivals are celebrated nationwide, Chiangmai is the best place for anyone to enjoy them. During festive days, Chiangmai features activities at various venues throughout the city such as boat races on the Mae Ping River, Yi Peng lantern procession as well as the contest, Beauty contest, and Krathong parades and contests.
The most jaw-dropping moment in Loy Krathong and Yi Peng is when the sky is full of thousands of sky lanterns released by Chiangmai monks and tourists reflected by the Mae Ping river. This ceremony is believed to send a person’s bad luck and misfortune away into the air, especially if it disappears from view before the fire goes out.
What a pity that these festivals have just gone by a few weeks ago. But they are definitely the ideal festive event you should join next year. Why not book a Thailand tour with us right now to light your first sky lantern? The best places to watch sky lanterns will be sold out even before 2018 comes.
2.Boun Khoun Khao (Laos)
Also known as the Rice Festival, Boun Khoun Khao Festival is for expressing appreciation for the spirit and abundance of the land and the rice harvest.
It takes places firstly in some small villages but now celebrated in many temples around the capital of Vientiane, Laos. Boun Khoun Khao Festival’s time varies year by year due to Buddhist lunar calendar; however, it is often in March.
Joining in this festival, you will have a chance to witness traditions and customs of small villages and characterized Buddhist pagodas around the city, especially Baci ceremony. During the ceremony, people sit around a giant and graceful bunch of flower called as Pha Khouan. Then a senior in the village will tie white cotton strings around others’ wrists and pray for their happiness, it is the most sacred moment of the festival.
During 2 festive days, people often offer delicacies like deep-fried Mekong fish, papaya salad and rice alcohol to express gratitude to nature and Mekong River for giving them abundant crops. After rituals and ceremonies, there are exciting entertaining activities of dancing and singing in traditional music.
Boun Khoun Khao is the best time to visit Laos as it is held in dry season when the heat is gone with the rain and weather is comfortable to take a long tour around the country.
3. Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei’ (Cambodia)
‘Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei’ in the Khmer language, is The Khmer New Year, the biggest festival in Cambodia. Like Thailand, Laos, Cambodian commonly celebrate the traditional new year on their lunar calendar. This festival, as result, is annually held on April 13th or 14th.
This festival is also the harvest festival as it marks the end of the harvest season when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor and relax before the start of the rainy season. The New Year holidays last for three days. The Khmer New Year festival originated from Bramhmanism, a part of Hinduism, which was a religion that Khmer believed in before Buddhism. Later on, Buddhism became associated with the festival and then took all the important roles in the festivity.
During this time, people engage in traditional Khmer games; such as the Bas Angkunh ‘seed throwing’, Chaol Chhoung ‘twisted-scarf throwing’, Leak Kanséng ‘twisted-scarf hide’, tug of war, shuttlecock kicking, etc.
Throughout the country, people merrily dance the traditional Khmer forms of the Ran Vong, Ram Kbach, Saravan, and Lam Leave in the open. Nowadays, the Khmer have much fun by spreading out water to each other to pray for good things coming to their friends or family this new year.
In Thailand and Laos, during this time, people also celebrate the lunar new year with water throwing at passers-by game but Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei’ still has its own charm. Just visit Cambodia this time to… throw water at each other and get your luck for the new year.
4. Rice Harvest Festival (Bali- Indonesia)
Bali is the island of Gods, Devils, and Art, thus, any festival in Bali will have their own uniqueness and charm. Among all celebration, the Rice Harvest Festival is the most interesting activity that is held from May 1 to June 30 in various places in Bali to celebrate the end of the harvest season. This festival is for worshiping Dewi Sri, the Rice God in Hinduism- the Balinese religion.
As part of the celebration the Negara Bull Races, a Balinese tradition, is held in Perancak at the end of the festival. During the races, the bulls (water buffaloes) are decorated in accessories and hitched in pairs before competing in races as jockeys display their riding skills. The Rice Harvest festival event is open to everyone. As a visitor, you will be welcome to join in on the festivities and sample traditional cuisine cooked in honor of Dewi Sri.
Not only famous for a festive vibe, Bali also takes pride in its palm-fringed white sand coasts on the island’s south such as Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur, and the cliff-guarded ‘hidden’ shores of Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland. Have a plan to visit Bali? Find your way to Bali’s magic of love in 7 days with us!
5. Mid-Autumn Festival (Vietnam)
Having both Thanksgiving and Halloween vibe, the Mid-Autumn festival is fantastic and charming with its story about a love story of farmers and a flying magic tree to the moon. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (often in late September or early October) in the middle of autumn and it is celebrated for a whole day.
Vietnam Streets full with lanterns
On this day, people will gather with their family to worship the god of Earth and enjoy the full moon with many different foods – moon cakes, candies, biscuits, jellies, and fruit, such as grapefruit, longan fruit, bananas, apples, mango, etc. All of them are designed with fun symbols, for examples: dog, cat, mouse …
At night, children with masks on their face will go around the streets with lanterns of all shaped (mostly star and fish.) and enjoy the lion dance parade. The lion dance team will go from door to door, asking the owners for their permission to perform the dance. If it is agreed then the children will put on a show, which is believed to bring luck and fortune. Afterwards, the owners will give the children ‘lucky’ money for their gratitude.
During the festive day, a variety of interesting literary and art activities are held throughout Vietnam especially in villages like offering sacrifices to dragons, dragon boat races, and lantern fairs, adding much luster to the festival. If you want to enjoy the romantic feel of a river sparkling with thousands of light, strolling down old streets and experience delicious food, just choose Hoian for your next trip right away.