August 2023

Traditional Celebrations

Galungan Day (1 Aug, Indonesia) is a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when ancestral spirits visit the Earth.

The Candle Festival (2 Aug, Thailand) takes place in Ubon Ratchathani. The festival celebrates the onset of the rainy season and at the same time holds traditional significance for Buddhists. The main attraction is a parade of monks from local temples, riding decorative floats with huge handmade candles.

The Surin Candle Parade (2 Aug, Thailand) sees ornate Buddha relics carried by elephants. Visitors can also witness a variety of sacred Buddhist rituals such as chanting holy stanzas, meditation, and a holy chanting contest.

Nebuta Matsuri (2-7 Aug, Japan) is a large festival held in Aomori City with a parade of enormous lantern floats, flanked by large taiko drums, musicians, and dancers. The Nebuta Matsuri together with Akita's Kanto Matsuri and Sendai's Tanabata make up the Tohoku Sandai Matsuri (Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku Region).

At the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri Festival (6-8 Aug, Japan) visitors can witness elegant decorations made from paper and bamboo. The main highlight of the festival is giant, vibrant streamers that parade the shopping district.

Visit the Baliem Valley Festival (7-10 Aug, Indonesia) to see mock tribe battles between the Dani, Yali, and Lani as they send their best warriors to the arena, wearing traditional regalia. The festival is complemented by a Pig Feast, Earth cooking and traditional music and dance.

Kuningan Day (11 Aug, Indonesia) is a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when ancestral spirits visit the Earth.

Tokushima Awa Odori (12-15 Aug, Japan) is part of the area's Obon festival (a Japanese Buddhist festival that honors the spirits of ancestors). In Tokushima City, most of the action happens along the city’s main drag when over four days around 990 different community dance groups known as 'ren' put on displays.

O-bon (13-15 Aug, Japan) is also known as the Festival of Souls when lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits. Obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples.

The Bidar Boat Race (17 Aug, Indonesia) is among the most awaited holidays and festivals in Indonesia and takes place in the Palembang region in south Sumatra. It’s a delight to watch large boats made out of hardwood trees race over the water on this auspicious day.

Haw Khao Padap Din (18 Aug, Laos) is a day to pay respect to those who have passed. The day is also marked by boat races on the Nam Khan River, as well as a trade fair in Luang Prabang.

The Seven Sisters Festival (22 Aug, Hong Kong) is informally known as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day’ and has its origins in the two stars Altair and Vega. The festival is traditionally celebrated with needlework competitions, the burning of incense, and young women making offerings to the lovesick goddess weaver and her cowherd beau.

The Hungry Ghost Festival (30 Aug, Hong Kong) is one of several traditional festivals in China to worship ancestors, with highlights including Chinese operas, usually held on temporary bamboo stages. Special ceremonies are performed to avoid the wrath of the ghosts such as putting the family’s ancestral tablets on a table, burning incense, and preparing food three times that day to feed the hungry ghosts.

The Kanto Matsuri (Date TBA, Japan), also known as "pole lantern festival", is held in Akita and is part of the Three Great Summer Festivals of Tohoku. The festival is noteworthy for the impressive skills displayed by the kanto performers, who balance long bamboo poles with beautifully-lit paper lanterns attached to the ends of them. The Night Parades are the main highlight of the festival.

Yamaga Lantern Festival (Date TBA, Japan) sees the city lit up by thousands of lanterns in a very scenic and beautiful festival. With a lively atmosphere, visitors can watch performers pass by in traditional 'yukata' as they dance gracefully to 'yoheho' music.

At the Tana Toraja Funeral Festival (Date TBA, Indonesia), fascinating and elaborate funeral rites are conducted to send the spirit of the dead to the afterworld and to prevent misfortune for the deceased's family. Expect plenty of chanting and dancing which is performed to honor the deceased and bid farewell.

International Events

The Khmer Empire Marathon (6 Aug, Cambodia) includes races of distances; 3 Km, 10.5 Km, 21.1 Km, and the full marathon distance of 42.195 Km. The course is in Angkor Wat which is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world.

The Singapore Food Festival (1 Aug-1 Sep, Singapore) celebrates local culinary delights that celebrate Singapore's diversity.

The Tomohon International Flower Festival (Date TBA, Indonesia) is held in Sabta Pesona on the coast of Tomohan, where this unique show exhibits the most colourfully decorated floats brought over from various districts around the country for people to enjoy.