Asian culture is simply unrecognizable without its colorful feasts that erupt on the streets, commemorated inside temples or paraded extravagantly on the streets! Vibrant festivals in Asia are a delightful mix of cultural traditions, religious practices, and local fanfare that had helped attract more tourists annually.
Wherever you are out to see the culture of Asia, make sure you’re just in time to witness the party -- be it with firecrackers, drumbeats or water buckets!

South Korea


What’s the rural life like in the Land of the Morning Calm? In the harvest season, the Gimje Horizon Festival showcases agricultural Asian culture in what is to be South Korea’s rice bowl. It is held for five days in the month of October in Homan Plain, when flying activities become popular. For the winter season, Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival is celebrated by carving out holes in the ice and fishing out sancheoneo (mountain trout) from the fresh waters. Held in January, tourists also go ice skating, snow sledding and snowmobile riding.


The best cultural festivals to catch in Singapore are those that showcase its racial and religious diversity. Some religious celebrations are Chinese New Year or Spring Festival for the Chinese population, Vesak Day for the Buddhists, Deepavali or Festival of Lights for the Indians, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri for the Muslims. Similarly, Singapore’s National Day is held every August 9, commemorating its liberation from Malaysia in 1965. During these celebrations, the streets liven up with night markets, food bazaars and cultural performances, capped off by a spectacular fireworks display.


How much does a Catholic Asian culture adore the Sto. Nino? The Philippines holds many feasts in honor of the Child Jesus. One of the oldest religious festivals in Asia is Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan, called as the Filipino Mardi Gras. It is celebrated with soot-covered faces, tribal costumes, and drumbeats on the streets. Cebu’s Sinulog Festival is known for its colored paints and shouting of “Pit Senor!” An anticipated music festival is Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival, during which streets are lined up with band music, booze, and booming bass lines. What’s best, all three feasts are usually held just weeks apart.
Hong Kong


Hong Kong isn’t just about the city life or even Disneyland. HK’s Dragon Boat Festival goes back to an old legend in the third century with teams of paddlers racing with long narrow boats to the beat of the drum. A summer festival, it is normally held in May or June. The Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Carnivals, held usually around September or October, celebrates the bountiful harvesting season with colorful lanterns and cultural performances.


Parades and pilgrimages are Vietnam’s idea of a cultural festival. The Perfume Festival is a 600-year-old tradition held in mid-February. Thousands of Buddhist devotees go on a pilgrimage rowing up the Yen River and then ascending to the temples of Huong Tich Cave. The Phu Giay Festival is held in honor of Lieu Hanh, a famous goddess from Vietnamese lore but was also an actual princess who died young. It features a procession to Goi Pagoda, wearing colorful costumes and playing all kinds of games such as cock-fighting (common in some Asian cultures) every early March in northern Nam Dinh province.


What role does water play in commemorating astrologically-timed festivals in Asia? The most iconic one in Thailand is the Songkran Water Festival, which is a Thai New Year’s feast held every April 13th of the year. Songkran is means “astrological passage”, and it is celebrated with street water fights and parades. Meanwhile, Loi Krathong Festival is an annual celebration held on a full moon evening of the 12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar. During this time, decorative baskets glowing with lighted candles are sent to float in the water.


Bean-throwing and outdoor picnics are a unique way to discover the Land of the Rising Sun. Just try seeing Setsubun, or Soybean-Throwing Festival is celebrated every February 3 or 4 by throwing beans in major temples and shrines throughout Japan to drive away evil spirits. Probably the most beautiful of all is the Hanami (Cherry Blossom Festival), celebrated between March and May nationwide by gathering for picnics underneath the cherry blossoms. How poetic can Asian culture get?