6 South Asian Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

Category: India, Sri Lanka, Festivals

Want to experience various cultures and have lots of fun at the same time? Try visiting countries during their big festivals, on which you get to see festival clothes, watch traditional performances, taste local food, and even join some of their activities! Here's a list of 6 fantastic South Asian festivals you don't want to miss!

 

1. Diwali – India

Diwali Festival in IndiaPeople celebrating along the Holy Ganges at night

Diwali is an annual festival of lights and fireworks celebrating the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita after a long exile of 14 years, being the biggest Hindu festival in India. According to legend, people welcomed them back by lighting rows of lamps, and that is why lighting of lamps is the key component of this festival.

The festival usually falls in October or November each year, and lasts for 5 days, during which you can check out the illuminated streets and markets in Jaipur, enjoy fireworks and lamps along the Holy Ganges in Varanasi, view the Gold Temple draped in lights in Amritsar, and watch demon effigies get paraded and burned in Goa. 

It is also a tradition to dress in new clothes and enjoy big meals with family and friends. If you need a new Sari (women) or Kurta Pyjama (men), you can either buy them in a local store, or simply order from Myntra and Jabong online and have your perfect new outfits delivered to your hotel (save a little extra using Jabong or Myntra coupons when checking out).

For more information about Diwali, check out Diwali Festival 2018, When and Where to Celebrate It?

 

2. Holi – India

Holi Festival in IndiaLocal people celebrating Holi in the street

Holi is the second most famous festival in India, known as the festival of colors because you literally get colors thrown on you. It is celebrated for two days to mark the beginning of spring, and often falls at the end of February or early March each year. 

The festive ambience in northern Indian cities such as Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra is extremely vivid and jubilant. People congregate in big open areas and apply dry & wet colors to each other, some of them even carry water guns or water balloons to have more fun. This is regularly the favorite festival of foreigners visiting India. If you're not afraid to get a little dirty, this festival is for you. But don't wear clothes you care about because you may be throwing them out when the party ends! You will see countless photos posted online while the festival is going on.

Find detailed information about Holi: Holi Festival 2018, Are You Ready?

 

3. Kandy Esala Perahera – Sri Lanka

Kandy Esala Perahera in Sri LankaTemple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the oldest and grandest festivals in Sri Lanka, celebrating to honor the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four Buddhist Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. It usually falls in July or August of the year, and lasts for ten days, during which various festivities are held. 

Perahera is a Sinhalese term, which means a parade of various kinds of performers such as singers, dancers, musicians, and acrobats accompanied by lots of ornamented Elephants and Tuskers parading the streets to celebrate a religious event. So on this festival, you get to many traditional local dances such as Kandyan dances, whip-dances, and fire-dances, you also get to see jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and lavishly decorated elephants on the streets.

The grand nature of this festival will open your eyes with its beautiful pageantry. With stunning costumes and wonderful dances it's fun for everyone!

15-Day India & Sri Lanka Highlight Tour India: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur, Sri Lanka: Negombo - Sigiriya - Kandy - Galle - Colombo
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4. Dasain – Nepal

Local people in Nepal Happy local people in new clothes

Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil, being the longest and most anticipated festival in Nepal. It falls in September or October each year and lasts for 15 days, and people return from all parts of the world to celebrate together. 

During the festival, fairs and celebrations are organized. It is a tradition to go shopping and buy new clothes, and prepare lots of animals for sacrifices and feasts. Bamboo swings called 'ping' are constructed in many places as a way of celebration, some of whose height exceed twenty feet. People of all ages enjoy the swings, especially children. They also fly colorful kites from their roofs, trying to remind god not to send rain anymore since it is harvest season. While kids are happily flying kites and swinging pings, elder people have fun by playing cards for money and fun. 

 

5. Tshechu – Bhutan

Tshechu(also known as Mask Dance Festival) is an annual festival in various temples throughout Bhutan. 

Literally meaning "tenth day", it is celebrated on the 10th day of a month of the lunar calendar. The exact month of Tshechu varies from place to place and from temple to temple. Temples celebrate in different ways, and the most famous one is masked dance. Dancers wear large masks and dance to the most notable folk song of Bhutan - the Ausa, which is a song sung for the departure of family and friends.

Many temples will showcase goods and traditions that have not changed for centuries. Visiting the temples for these festivals will give you a pure glimpse into the culture of Bhutan. For when and where to join this wonderful festival, check out Things to Know about Tshechu Festival in Bhutan.

 

6. Haa Summer Festival – Bhutan

Bhutanese localsHospitable people in local farm house

This festival happens at the beginning of July every year and last for two days, celebrating the culture of the nomadic herders in Bhutan

Setting in the wilderness with beautiful views of the Himalayas makes it one not to miss! You get to see rugged hills and alpine valleys, pristine forests and lakes, and also the unique White Poppy that is endemic to Haa and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

There will be songs, dances, traditional sports and religious ceremonies going on during the festival. You can enjoy all of these entertainments whiling tasting delicious Bhutanese cuisines and drinking local liquor named Ara. If you love sports or taking pictures, you can join the mountain bike race and photograph competition which are open to all people including foreign tourists. Or if you want to experience nomadic life style, join one of the many local families there to enjoy their hospitality!

11-Day Nepal & Bhutan Highlights Nepal: Kathmandu - Patan - Bhaktapur - Pokhara, Bhutan: Paro - Thimphu - Punakha
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No doubt these six festivals above are splendid and cannot be missed! Since they are celebrated in different time and different places, please contact us at and let our professional team design an awesome trip for you to have utmost fun at all of them!

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