From fun-filled water fights to sparkling headdresses and nature’s finest displays of beauty, the Asia-Pacific region hits the festival circuit running in 2017. Better yet, festivals give you the perfect excuse to travel and experience the wonder of cultural displays!
Are you ready for the adventure? Here’s a guide to 2017’s Asia-Pacific festivals.
13 – 16 April 2017
Remember how much fun water fights were as a kid? You can revisit your childhood, adult-style, during Thailand’s Songkran Festival. Celebrating the Thai New Year and, fittingly, the beginning of the summer season, the festival lasts for three, ‘soaked to the skin’ days, across the country.
A good drenching means you’ve received a blessing for the New Year, as the pouring of water washes away bad luck. The streets of tourist-haven, Phuket, see action galore, however it’s Bangkok’s Khao San and Silom Roads that really come alive with festival-goers.
Chinese New Year, China
January 28, 2017
China’s most important traditional festival is celebrated across the globe, but why not go to the source, to truly immerse in the spirit? Also known as Spring Festival, 2017 announces the year of the Rooster and celebrations abound to bring luck and prosperity.
The colour red, believed to be auspicious, covers streets, buildings and houses. Cultural activities include fireworks, dragon dances and temple fairs. Head to the Ditan Temple Fair in Beijing, the Guangzhou Flower Fairs or fly to Hong Kong for parades and giant fireworks displays.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia
17 February – 5 March 2017
Clouds of glitter, cheeky costumes and outrageous entertainment heralds the arrival of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. This year’s theme is ‘Creating Equality’, which highlights the festival’s 39-year history of fighting discrimination against sexuality, beliefs, race, identity and abilities. The big event is the Mardi Gras Parade, flowing down Oxford and Flinders streets in a dazzlingly display of performers, floats, laughs and rainbow-coloured pride.
Harbin Ice Festival, China
December 2017 – February 2018
When it’s freezing cold, you might as well enjoy it, right? The annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is one way to do it, in China. It’s the world’s biggest winter festival, has one of the biggest ice and snow sculpture shows and the tallest ice edifices.
Add to that technologically advanced lighting effects and you have one incredible, wintry display. See the wonder at three venues in Harbin – the Sun Island Scenic Area, The Ice and Snow World and Zhaolin Park.
13 March 2017
What better way to commemorate the victory of good over evil, than with an explosion of colour? India’s Holi festival, otherwise known as ‘Festival of Colours’, got its name from Hindu Lord Krishna, who liked to play pranks on village girls by drenching them in water and colour.
You can follow the example throughout India, especially in Mumbai and Jaipur, with parties, festivals and balloons filled with colourful powder.
Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
Give your skin a treat with nutrient-dense mud, at South Korea’s Boryeong Mud Festival. Thousands of revellers descend on Daecheon Beach for ‘Mudfest’, frolicking in the mud pool, drinking beer and making new, muddy friends within a sea of debauchery. What started as a promotion for cosmetics is now an international party worth getting dirty for.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan
March and April 2017
Japan transforms into a pink-tinged wonderland, during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The whole country waits in anticipation for the first pink and white sakura (cherry blossom) starting in the south and progressing north in early April.
Head to Tokyo or Kyoto for traditional hanami parties, in parks awash with pink. Or, climb Mount Yoshino to see over 30,000 trees creating a floral carpet on the slopes.
Rugby League World Cup, New Zealand and Australia
27 October – 2 December 2017
The world’s best Rugby League players converge on Australia and New Zealand, to battle it out in 2017’s World Cup. With 28 games and 14 teams, football mad fans raise the roof to the sounds of the haka and passionate cheers. Watch Australia versus England at Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne, for the kick-off match or head to Auckland to watch the New Zealand vs Samoa match.
Independence Day, Indonesia
17 August 2017
Celebrate the day marking Indonesia’s independence from the Netherlands, with festivals, flag hoisting ceremonies, tree climbing events and marching bands. Events are held simultaneously throughout the country, but Jakarta is the spot for official functions.
If you’re visiting one of Australia’s favourite playgrounds, Bali, chances are you’ll see traditional dancers, costumes and fun activities in the streets.
Tihar Festival, Nepal
17 – 21 October 2017
Dog lovers rejoice at Nepal’s five-day Tihar Festival. The Hindu ‘Festival of Light’ places importance on the deep relationships between human beings, gods and animals. Day one honours crows and ravens, by feeding them sweet foods. Day two is all about dogs, with the four-legged friends dressed in wreaths, while cows, oxen and families are celebrated throughout the week.
With so many festivals throughout the region, you can fill your travel calendar with non-stop fun, in 2017.