Travelling to Asia soon? Or at least wishing to go there in the near future? Well it is about time that you knew a little bit more about end of the year holidays in Asian countries. Read on to find out more about traditional festivities in the Nezasa destinations.
Although Vietnam is an atheist state, Christmas is among its most important holidays. French colonisation brought Christianity and also Christmas to Vietnam from where it grew more and more popular every year.
Nowadays, Christmas in Vietnam is a grand party – and not only to Christians! Unlike in Europe or the US, Vietnamese don’t celebrate Christmas at home with their families. Instead, young and old gather in the nicely decorated streets and some even attempt Midnight Mass where they celebrate by throwing confetti, shooting photos, enjoying Christmas decorations and colorful lights. Many of them also go to restaurants or cafes for drinks and snacks.
Chuć Mưǹg Giańg Sinh – Merry Christmas!
Even though Christmas is celebrated in certain areas of India, there are other holidays that are much more important: Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is definitely one of them.
Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated all across the country every autumn (between mid-October and mid-November according to the Hindu Lunisolar calendar) for five continuous days. It signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. Hindus prepare for Diwali by cleaning, renovating and decorating their houses. For Diwali night, Indians dress up, wear their best clothes, light up candles in and around their homes and pray to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. Prayers are followed by huge fireworks all across the country, which is where the festival also gets its name from.
Like in Europe or the US for Christmas, Hindu people exchange gifts on Diwali and have family feasts with lots of food and sweets. Therefore Diwali is not only one of the happiest holidays but also one of the busiest and biggest shopping seasons in India. People buy everything from new clothes, gifts, kitchen utensils, jewelry and even cars!
दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं – Happy Diwali
During the first week of December, Thailand celebrates one of its most important holidays: December 5th as it is the Birthday of their beloved Thai King, Bhumibol. Because the king is considered the nations father, his birthday is also Thailand’s official Father’s Day. Therefore not only the King is honored but also fathers of every Thai family.
Because the nation loves its king as it is said of him to be very considerate and a friend to common people, this grand birthday party demands good preparation. It is common that Thais start decorating their homes, businesses, temples, schools and public buildings with huge portraits of the king and the national flag several weeks in advance.
On the mornings of the king’s birthday, many Thais visit temples to say prayers for their king. These prayers are followed by festive celebrations throughout the day and all across the country with fireworks, parades and music. The people often dress up in yellow to symbolize devotion to their king.
Besides all these festive activities, there is also a more serious part to King Bhumibol’s Birthday. He himself gives a speech where he provides his thoughts and opinions on the state of his nation.
ทรงพระเจริญ – Long Live the King!
Among the most important holidays in China, you will certainly find Chinese New Year which is also called the Spring Festival. According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, China will celebrate next New Year on January 31, 2014.
Legend tells us that in ancient times, Buddha would ask all the animals to join him on Chinese New Year. Twelve animals came and Buddha named a year after each one of them. He proclaimed that people born in a certain year of an animal would also have some of the animal’s personality and strengths. The upcoming year will be the year of the horse and according to Chinese tradition, people born in 2014 will be ingenious, cheerful, perceptive, clever about money and talented with their hands.
Chinese New Year festivities last for 15 days and therefore offer plenty of highlights. Generally speaking, the Spring Festival is a time of family reunion where families gather at each other’s homes for visits, festive meals and a great feast for New Years Eve. For the celebration, Chinese people traditionally wear red clothes, write poems on red paper and give their children “lucky money” in red envelopes. The red color symbolizes fire and is said to drive away bad luck. Fireworks also play an important part to their festivities, trying to scare evil spirits away.
新年快乐 – Happy New Years!
Nezasa’s Christmas Discount
Also, do not forget that this Christmas, Nezasa fulfills all your wishes of easy holiday booking! You can choose from multiple Asian destinations, which can all be personalised to meet your preferences. Furthermore, you can book everything on our website and still benefit from local support during your travels.
Please visit: www.nezasa.com for a full view of our offerings.
- Vietnam, Thailand (street picture): Flickr, CC licensed, from photographers Bunty, Peter Pham, and Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul
- India, China, Thailand (portraits of the king): Nezasa