Illustration of festival themed posters for Yanshui, Nebuta Matsuri. Loi Krathong, Inti Raymi, Duanwu, and Ati-atihan.

Let’s Celebrate

For the merry-making traveller, there’s always an upcoming celebration in the Pacific Rim.

 

duanwu poster

Country China

Celebration Duanwu

Date June 20, 2015

Help honour celebrated Chinese poet Qu Yuan (340–27 BC) during China’s nation-wide Duanwu, or Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon boat races—where teams of paddlers race dragon-shaped boats to the beat of a drum—are the highlight of the day. Other traditions include eating zongzi (rice dumplings with a sweet or savoury filling), and wearing perfume pouches to ward off evil.

 

inti raymi poster

Country Peru

Celebration Inti Raymi

Date June 24, 2015

Join the Incas in celebrating Inti the Sun God at the site of the ancient civilization’s capital in Cuzco. At this re-enactment, the Incan emperor is carried in a replica golden chariot through streets that are alive with singing and dancing. Women sweep away evil spirits with brooms, clearing the way as the procession makes its way to the Inca ruin of Sacsayhuaman. At the ruin, where seating is available for tourists and other onlookers, the emperor performs rituals from the past, including the staged sacrifice of a llama.

 

nebuta poster

Country Japan

Celebration Nebuta Matsuri

Date August 2–7, 2015

Dance among the vibrantly illuminated floats of Nebuta Matsuri, where carefully constructed Japanese gods and other mystical and historical figures are pushed by hand through the streets of Aomori. These massive floats are paraded daily, accompanied by traditional taiko drums and other music. Crowd participation is encouraged.

 

loi krathong poster

Country Thailand

Celebration Loi Krathong

Date November 24–26, 2015

Take to the waterways of Thailand to celebrate Loi Krathong. While celebrations occur across the country, those in the cities of Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, and Ayutthaya are said to be the most spectacular. Under the glow of the full moon, lakes and rivers come alive with light as Thai residents release floating lanterns decorated with candles, incense, and flowers. The event pays tribute to the goddess of water in thanks for a bountiful rice harvest, and cleanses participants as their grudges and bad luck float away with the light.

 

ati atihan poster

Country The Philippines

Celebration Ati-Atihan Festival

Date January 2016

Celebrate the infant Jesus with a week- long street party in the city of Kalibo. The sound of drums floods the streets as participants, their faces painted black with soot, dance through the night in colourful headdresses. The festivities of Ati-Atihan peak on a Sunday, with an open-air Mass followed by a grand parade featuring the image of baby Jesus.

 

yanshui poster

Country Taiwan

Celebration Beehive Fireworks Festival

Date February 22, 2016

Not for the faint of heart, Yanshui’s Beehive Fireworks Festival is an event to be seen and heard. Originally intended to drive away a cholera outbreak in the 19th century, the festival now attracts visitors from around the world. Thousands of fireworks are packed into crates, or “beehives,” throughout Tainan City and set off simultaneously, firing in every direc- tion. Protective gear (such as helmets and gloves) is essential!

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