May 2023

Traditional Celebrations

The Bali Spirit Festival (4-7 May, Indonesia) is a spiritually charged event that celebrates yoga, dance and music and the synergy of global cultural collaboration through the arts.

Boun Bang Fai (6 May, Laos) has its origins in pre-Buddhist rain-invoking ceremonies. The festival coincides with the Laos Visakha Puja celebrations that include parades, songs, dancing and partying, all leading to an explosive climax as huge, ornate, homemade bamboo rockets are blessed and fired into the skies to invite the rain.

The Rocket Festival (12-15 May, Thailand), known locally as Bun Bang Fai Festival is associated with Thai traditional beliefs that rockets help promote the production of rice crops. Locals believe that the gods would hear the noise from the rockets and bless them with plentiful rain for rice cultivation. Noisy folk music and cheers can be heard for each liftoff and the rocket that reaches the greatest height is declared the winner.

Aoi Matsuri (15 May, Japan) is one of Kyoto's three most famous festivals (along with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri). The festival's main attraction is a large parade in Kyoto, in which over 500 people dressed in the aristocratic style of the Heian Period (794-1185) walk from the Imperial Palace to the Kamo Shrines.

Banyu Pinaruh Festival (20 May, Indonesia) is one of the key events held during Saraswati celebrations in Bali. The event is celebrated every 210 days in accordance with the Balinese Calendar.

Pagerwesi (24 May, Indonesia) celebrates Sang Yang (the creator of the universe) with grand ceremonies island-wide. Pagerwesi is celebrated every 210 days based on the Balinese lunar calendar and can be interpreted as ‘iron fence’. It is a day when man should fortify the space around himself to fend off evil spirits – the continuous battle between good and evil.

The Thanh Giong Festival (27 May, Vietnam) is held annually in several parts of Hanoi in order to commemorate Saint Giong, one of the four immortals of Vietnam.

The Java Jazz Festival (Date TBA, Indonesia) is arguably the biggest jazz festival in the Southern Hemisphere. In the first 10 years, names such as the late James Brown, Santana, Stevie Wonder, and Jamie Cullam have graced the stage.

International Events

Langkawi Ultra (6-7 May, Malaysia) is a marathon taking place on the beautiful Langkawi Island in Malaysia.

The Grand Sumo Tournament (14-28 May, Japan) in Nagoya provides the chance to catch the heavyweights in action at one of Japan's most prestigious sumo events.

The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), (23-27 May, Malaysia) is the largest show of its kind within the Asia Pacific region. Its impressive list of international exhibitors and suppliers is more than matched by the supportive presence of industry elites, which range from senior Government officials, and military and civil delegates, to industry movers and shakers and more.

The Singapore International Festival of Arts (22-26 May, Singapore) celebrates the Lion City's vibrant mixture of rich and versatile Asian arts.