5 Energizing Annual Festivals in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is known for its rich culture that can be seen and felt through its people, food, historical sites, and energizing festivals. The region boasts a myriad of celebrations throughout the year that welcome all kinds of tourists from around the world.
Read on to discover some of the must-see annual festivals in Southeast Asia that will make you want to keep joining in every year:
Distinct celebrations mark the beginning of the New Year for most countries, but Thailand’s Songkran is more noteworthy than most. Quite literally the world’s largest water fight, the festival celebrates the New Year by inviting its guests to rub colored chalk and throw water at each other. It is said to originate from Buddhism, as the chalk is used by monks to spread blessings, while the water is said to cleanse the world for the coming year. If you’re looking to experience this festival next year but don’t want to miss out on your own country’s celebrations, you’re in luck! Songkran now takes place in April instead of January to accommodate more visitors from around the world.
Perhaps one of the most recognizable and iconic festivals in the region, the Holi Festival of Colors celebrates ancient Hindu tradition in the most vibrant way. It starts with the symbolic lighting of bonfires the night before the festival, which comes with its own fun activities that revolve around traditional singing and dancing. The actual day of celebration sees huge crowds laughing and flinging colored powder at each other, all in an effort to celebrate Holi’s most valued ideas. The Independent’s feature on the Holi festival explains that it is a celebration of color, fertility, love, and the triumph of good over evil. You’ll have to experience it yourself in India around March to truly feel these Hindu tenets come to life!
In a country known for its beautiful beaches, it’s no surprise that an annual festival is held every year against Puerto Galera’s stunning tropical forest, white beach, and clear waters. Daydreaming in Paradise’s feature on ‘The History of Malasimbo Festival, details how this successful event has solidified its position as one of the most highly-anticipated musical festivals in the country. This is no small feat, as the archipelagic country hosts a myriad of beach festivals all year round. What sets Malasimbo apart is its gorgeous backdrop, great local and imported music, and a crowd that knows how to party. It is usually held in March and in the same spot in Puerto Galera every year.
Many festivals and even fun runs incorporate throwing colored powder or water as part of the festivities. But if you head to South Korea, you can experience the largest mud fight in the world. The Boryeong Mud Festival is exactly what it sounds like – a unique celebration that includes activities like mud skiing, mud body painting, mud spa, and more. The South Korean city began the festival in 1998 through a marketing campaign, as the Boryeong municipality is known for its numerous mudflats that are rich in skin-rejuvenating minerals. It has grown since then and attracts international attention when it is held in June or July.
Finally, end your year right by embracing wellness and fitness at the MURFEST Wellness Festival. Touted as Asia’s premier wellness, music, dance, healing, fitness, and personal growth festival, you can’t leave this event without feeling energized and renewed. Now in its sixth year, you can expect the best yoga teachers, dynamic Bollywood dancing, and workout workshops that will leave you feeling like a better version of yourself. Don’t miss this opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself this November in Malaysia