August 2024

Traditional Celebrations

At the Tana Toraja Funeral Festival (Throughout August, 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 honour the deceased and bid farewell.

The International Kite Festival (Early - Mid Aug, Indonesia) is held along Sanur Beach, Bali. Traditional giant kites (4 metres in width and almost 10 metres in length) are made and flown competitively by teams from the villages (banjar) of Denpasar. The event is a seasonal religious festival intended to send a message to the Hindu Gods to create abundant crops and harvests.

Nebuta Matsuri (Date TBA, 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).

Singapore's Garden Festival (3-11 Aug, Singapore) showcases stunning floral displays, innovative garden designs, and sustainable landscaping. This biennial event celebrates horticultural excellence and is held at the award-winning Gardens by the Bay.

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.

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.

The Baliem Valley Festival (7-10 Aug, Indonesia) in Papua celebrates the rich heritage of the Dani Tribe. It features 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.

The Seven Sisters Festival (10 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.

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.

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 Hungry Ghost Festival (18 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.

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.

International Events

The Tomohon International Flower Festival (8-12 Aug, Indonesia) on the coast of, North Sulawesi is a unique flower show that exhibits the most colourfully decorated floats brought over from various districts around the country for people to enjoy.

AILA 60th Anniversary World Congress 2024 (11-16 Aug, Malaysia) is part of the trilogy of World Congress and brings together linguists, language experts and enthusiasts, and practicing communities to share ideas. The theme for the 2024 event is linguistic diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability.

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. Teams compete by racing large boats made from hardwood trees over the water on this auspicious day.