From Diwali to Chinese New Year, fall and winter in Asia is the best time to experience the most colorful festivals in the world.
By Max Milano
India – Diwali (November 13, 2012)
Diwali has gone global; it’s now celebrated from Palo Alto to Paris and everywhere where the Indian diaspora has taken it (including Africa and the Caribbean), but nothing beats experiencing Diwali in India. Known as “the festival of lights,” Diwali is one of the most colorful and important celebrations of the Hindu calendar, it commemorates the return of Lord Rama from a 14 year exile and the vanquishing of the demon-king Ravana. The festival is celebrated by lighting earthen diyas (ghee candles), bursting firecrackers and eating traditional Diwali sweets. Most regions in India will try to outdo each other Diwali with extensive light decorations and street festivities. Good areas to celebrate Diwali in India include Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Goa, where they also burn demon effigies. Happy Diwali!
How To Get There: Fly to Delhi for less with Vayama’s India flight deals.
Hong Kong – Chinese New Year (February 10, 2013)
Chinese New Year is Hong Kong’s biggest festival – only New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) comes even close. It runs for three days and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. 2013 will be the Year of the Snake and most Hong Kongers will celebrate by visiting flower markets and enjoying a traditional new year’s feast of fish and dumplings with their family. The festival closes with a huge fireworks display above Hong Kong harbor. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
How To Get There: Fly to Hong Kong for less with Vayama’s China flight deals.
Vietnam – TET New Year (February 9 to the 12, 2013)
The TET New Year is Vietnam’s biggest celebration. It begins quaintly enough with flower markets, TET decorations and family visits to exchange gifts and red envelopes for luck; then on New Year’s Eve nigh, total pandemonium begins. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and every town in between will compete in making as much noise as possible with fireworks, the banging of gongs and throngs of masked street revelers called Mua Lan (the Lion-Dragon). Grab a gong and join in!
How To Get There: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City for less with Vayama’s Vietnam flight deals.
Japan - Merii Kurisumasu! (December 25, 2012)
Yes, Japan is not a Christian country, not even a little. So how come Christmas (or as the locals call it; Kurisumasu) is one of the most colorful celebrations of the year? Leave it to the Japanese to embrace every commercial aspect of western Christmas, sans the Jesus bit. So get ready for bright decorations galore, with every store in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district dripping with Christmas lights and stuffed with Santa dolls. Friends exchange gifts and go out for dinner. Since whole Turkeys are hard to get in Japan (and Japanese homes lack large ovens), you will see very long lines at Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Eve! So enjoy the gift giving, have a glass of sake or two with your newly made Japanese friends and dig into your bucket of Colonel Sanders Chicken. Kanpai!
How To Get There: Fly into Tokyo with Vayama’s Japan Winter Deals.
South Korea – Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival (January 7 to the 29, 2012)
One of South Korea’s most wintry tows is Hwacheon, whose river freezes solid by January— making it the ideal home for the the annual Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival. Each day of the festival, 32 tons of mountain trout are released for enthusiastic fishermen try their luck at catching them trough ice holes with traditional lures. Scoring your catch of the day is quite a task in the bone chilling cold, but you can always get a pre-caught and nicely a grilled trout from one of the many outdoor vendors lining the streets of the festival. Mini ice hockey, snow sculpture competitions and other winter sports round up the festivities. Dress warm and join the fun!
How to Get there: Fly into Seoul with Vayama’s South Korea flight deals and then take a limousine to Chuncheon, then a bus to Hwacheon.