Asia was always attracting many tourists from all over the world to visit it during the time of special festivals with a wide variety of religious and cultural traditions. All of us, living just outside of so many interesting events and festivals should take the opportunity to visit the most popular of them and learn more about the cultures of other countries. We have collected some of them, that will take place in 2018. Join us to discover!
Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival
Dec 24, 2017 – Feb 25, 2018
This festival takes place every winter in one of the coldest cities of China and known as the largest snow and ice festival in the world. Check more information about this festival in our article, get warm clothes and book your tickets. It is definitely worth visiting destination in 2018!
Sounkyo Hyobaku Matsuri
Jan 25 – Mar 18, 2018
Another winter getaway with ice and snow is prepared for tourists in Japan. But unlike the festival in Harbin, this one will surprise you with a lot of different buildings, temples, and attractions on an area of 10 000 sq meters. You will have a chance to discover all of them from inside and outside, try a snow tubing and enjoy different shows, like Hyobaku drums or ethnic dances. Besides the festival visiting, all winter sports lovers can stay for a couple of days in a ski resort of Kurodake.
Jan 18, 2018
The Tibetan New year, also known as Losar Festival, is the most important festival on the Tibetan calendar. The festival celebrations slightly vary in the different ethnic groups. But usually the monasteries in Nepal have colorful rituals and one of the best places to experience Losar is in Tibetan monastery of Kathmandu.
Jan 15 – 21, 2018
This colorful feast held annually in Kalibo in January in honor of the Santo Niño (Infant Jesus). In fact, the name of Kalibo means “one thousand” and it is the number of people who were baptized in a single day by early Spanish missionaries. Festival with the streets competition of the colorful costumes, dances, songs and special shows will not leave anyone staying cold-bloodedly aside.
Art Stage Singapore 2018
Jan 26 – 28, 2018
For those who are interested not only in traditions but also in the art of Asia, Singapore opens an eights Art Week in January 2018. “One of the main goals of ART STAGE is to promote the Southeast Asian art world, and to matchmake and bring these national art scenes closer to each other as well as to the international world.”
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Feb 9 – 25, 2018
Pyeongchang, South Korea
This event doesn’t need a big introduction and definitely worth visiting. Even if you didn’t get tickets for the completion days, only visiting the country during this time will bring you a lot of great experiences.
Hong Kong Chinese New Year
Feb 16, 2018
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
We all know that Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in China and each city celebrates it with full force. In Hong Kong, however, people make a unique fusion of ancient traditions and modern techniques. Three days of celebration with night parade, amazing fireworks and horse riding make this festival one of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the world.
Tết Nguyên Ðán
Feb 16, 2018
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tết, or Vietnamese New Year, is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnam. Same as in China, its date depends on the Lunar Calendar, so basically it is celebrating on the same day. Many traditions are also similar to Chinese New Year Celebration: the gathering of the family members, a lot of food, colorful decoration of the houses. Also, many people are taking celebrations outside, to congratulate and wish luck in the New Year to their neighbors and friends. Tết is a perfect time for travelers to see Vietnam at the most joyful and colorful time of the year and learn about its traditions.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Mar 2, 2018
This is another festival linked to the begging of the new lunar year when people will release thousands of sky lanterns into the air together with hopes and prayers for the luck in the coming year. It is a fantastic vision, especially for those, who never seen it before!
Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival
Mar 2-4, 2018
Jakarta Utara, Indonesia
This music festival, also known as Jakjazz, was first launched in 2005 and after only a few years became the biggest Jazz Festival in the world! For the music lovers, this event can be a good occasion to combine traveling and enjoying three days of Jazz celebration.
Mar 2018 (dates to be decided)
Holi festival is one of the most interesting and colorful celebrations in India. During this time most of the regions in the country become alive with performances on the streets, decorated temples and houses, and people covered in colors everywhere. The area of Vrindavan is especially popular and attracts tourists from all over the world because of its special customs and traditions.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Late March-Early April 2018
Japan is well known all around the world for its Cherry Blossoming period. Being a very important custom, this festival (Hanami) is held in all regions of Japan. But dates are determined with reference to cherry blossom forecasts and changing from year to year. This time of the year is not only about amazingly beautiful Sakura trees blossoming but also about special traditions and performances presented during the festival time.
Chiang Mai Songkran Festival
Apr 13-15, 2018
Chiang Man, Thailand
Songkran or Water Festival marks the beginning of the New Year in Thailand in the traditional calendar. It is celebrated all over the country, though the festival in the city Chiang Man is especially known due to the most intense celebrations. The modern feature of this three-day festival is water-fights, where locals and tourists of all ages and with all kinds of weapons from water guns until buckets with cold water are involved in the battles. But this festival also has a lot of old religious traditions behind and can be a good possibility to learn more about this country while having fun.
Thrissur Pooram Elephant Festival
April 26, 2018
Another famous and important festival in India, when people gather in the main temple in Thrissur to pay respects to Shiva. Celebrations usually start already 7 days in advance and on the main festival day two teams of 15 elephants with men standing on them, create outside of the temple a “pass the parasol”. This is an experience that everyone who will see will carry for a long time.
Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
May 11-13, 2018
Seoul, South Korea
It is an annual event that colors Korea with bright lanterns in celebration of the birth of Buddha. The highlight of the celebration is Lotus Lantern Parade, which presents lotus lanterns in every shape and color. Festival visitors can also participate in the exhibition of traditional lanterns, use a chance to make a lantern by yourself on the special cultural events and enjoy the beauty of the streets during these several days.
Tokushima Awa Odori
Aug 12 – 15th, 2018
Awa Odori is a part of a Japanese Buddhist festival, that honors the spirits of ancestors, and also largest dance festival in Japan. The daytime attraction is the famous Selected Awa Dance by groups of several dozen dancers giving graceful performances. And after the sun goes down people keep dancing in the smaller groups in all corners of the city. You won’t be able to stay back when you’ll see it.
Aug 17-22, 2018
Getambe, Sri Lanka
Esala Perahera Festival originated from the time when Budha was first brought to Sri Lanka from India. This is the time to see elephants marching in bright colors and lights, performing acrobats and dancers, musicians playing traditional drums music and many other traditional celebrations.
Here are the most special festivals and events happening in Asia in 2018. Hope each of you can find something interesting. Please make your travel plans in advance and check the dates of celebrations before buying the tickets, as they may be still adjusted. If you know another festival which is not included in this list, please feel free to share in the comments below!
By Evgenia Kurz