March 2021

Traditional Celebrations

Unlike most cultures across the world that celebrate New Year with parties and sparkling festivities, the new year in the Balinese Saka calendar is dedicated to complete silence. Nyepi Day (14 March) falls on the night of a new moon and is celebrated by carrying demon effigies or huge monsters with bulging eyes made of bamboo, papier-mâché and cloth and known as Ogoh-Ogoh through the streets in torch-lit parades. No travel (domestic, international or local) or activities should be scheduled for Nyepi Day. Melasti (11 March) is performed 3-4 days beforehand, while Pengrupukan (13 March) takes place on the eve of Nyepi.

Omizutori (1 – 14 March) is an annual, sacred water-drawing festival that takes place at Nigatsudo Hall in Nara, Japan. Among the many different events held during Omizutori, Otaimatsu is the most famous and spectacular. Each evening, just after sunset, giant torches ranging in length are carried up to Nigatsudo's balcony and held over the crowd. The burning embers, that shower down from the balcony, are thought to bestow the onlookers with a safe year.

The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (18 – 27 March) is Yangon’s biggest festival. Leading up to the full moon, teams of weavers compete to loom the most cloth for resident monks. Visitors come from all over Myanmar, dressed in the best attire to make offerings of water, light and flowers at the country's most important pagoda.

Pindaya Cave Festival (25 – 27 March) takes place at the Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave in Pindaya, where thousands of devotees throng the cave to pay homage to the pagoda. You will find hundreds of small stalls selling delicious local foods, Shan handicrafts, all kinds of cheroots (Myanmar cigars), Shan umbrellas, and tribes from all over Shan State dressed in colourful costumes.

International Events

The Grand Sumo Tournament (8 – 22 March) takes place in Osaka, Japan, this month.

The Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok (14 March) offers runners a unique city-centric course — across four different categories — that will take them past some of Bangkok’s most iconic landmarks.

Bali Spirit Festival (29 March – 4 April), is a spiritually charged event that celebrates yoga, dance and music and the synergy of global cultural collaboration through the arts in Bali.

Hong Kong’s flourishing arts scene comes to fruition each March with an inspirational spectrum of events during Hong Kong Arts Month. From opera to ballet, from art installations to seminars, there’s something to suit all tastes — whether you’re a connoisseur or simply a dabbler.

The World Snooker China Open is one of eight ranking tournaments confirmed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WBPSA). It is scheduled to take place at Beijing University's Students Gymnasium during March - April.

The annual Peach Blossom Festival is celebrated across Shanghai’s city parks, when the pink buds are in full bloom. Folk dancing, traditional Chinese music, pig racing and other local activities can also be expected.

The Spring Festival Flower Fair held every year in Guangzhou, China, has attracted attention from both home and abroad. During the festival, the city's streets are decorated with fragrant and beautiful fresh flowers and golden tangerines, while visitors shop for flowers and gifts at flower markets.

The Pattaya International Music Festival, held just outside of Bangkok, is Thailand's biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll event and arguably the biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll event in all of Southeast Asia.