Posts Tagged ‘new year’

Kick starts for New Year celebrations in Asian Style

In asia culture on January 16, 2009 at 8:36 am
New year celebrations in Asia

New year celebrations in Asia

5..4..3..2..1..Happy new year!! Yes, this would be something we normally heard everywhere on the midnight of 31th December. Some might thought that why the happy times were getting past too quickly. But wait, if you’re around Asia, you could have same kind of happy feelings on those New Year celebration nights repeatedly over a period of six months. Forget countdowns to midnight and “the ball dropping” in Times Square. In Asia it’s all about water fights and silk dragons dancing in the streets.

Start from China, the Chinese New Year is usually celebrated in January/February with visits to friends and family, the wearing of new clothes, and the offering of food. The exact date will be determined on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Lots of food. Firecrackers can be heard in Chinese communities and lion dances are performed in the streets. Korea celebrates the Lunar New Year at the same time, but in a much quieter manner, with offerings to ancestors. Koreans will usually wear new traditional clothing on this day.

In Thailand the New Year is celebrated in April with “Songkran” most famous for the nation-wide water fight that ensues. Traditionally, throwing water was a way to pay respect to elders, but the custom quickly evolved into a way to get through the hottest days of the year.

Diwali (or Deepawali) is known as the “Festival of Lights” and is celebrated in October/November by Hindus who mostly live across many parts of India and Nepal. Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days and include religious ceremonies, family gatherings, and fireworks. Clay lamps are lit and placed in all rooms of the home on the night of Diwali.

Surprisingly enough, Japan celebrates the New Year on January 1. Buddhist temples ring their bells shortly before midnight, representing the hardships and sorrows of the past year, and soba (buckwheat noodles) is eaten on New Year’s Eve to symbolize longevity. The viewing of the first sunrise of the year is considered to be auspicious.

Despite the differences, New Year celebrations in the region all have one common theme: Family. No matter what the country, New Year is a time for family reunions and gatherings, for reflecting on the year that has passed and looking ahead to a brand new beginning.

Asian Destinations for your Christmas Celebrations

In Asia Travel on December 18, 2008 at 3:21 am
Christmas Celebrations in Asia

Christmas Celebrations in Asia

It’s time for a Merry Christmas song once again, festivities crank up all over the world and Asian destinations are becoming ever more popular with unique and interesting variations of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Various countries celebrate the holiday season with their own flavors and distinctive cultural influences. Singapore sweetens the occasion with “A Sweet Christmas”, where famed shopping malls and sights, from Orchard Road to Marina Bay, are transformed into a candy themed wonderland, perfect for kids and parents alike.

Tourists will certainly be lived up in Thailand, where Christmas was met with the winter. Most of the major cities will have lighting decorations everywhere from middle half of December until the start of next year. Beer gardens could probably be found in many entertainment areas during Christmas time and would be good choice for hanging out. Live concert, various entertainment activities/ Light and Sound show will take everyone through these special nights.

Japan has adapted the western style of Christmas festivities, creating their own unique version with Christmas lights and Western flavors that have a Japanese flair. Tokyo Disneyland hosts “Christmas Fantasy”, a spectacular that can only be experienced at Japan’s Magic Kingdom. The breathtaking beauty of winter and hidden cultural heritage sites, normally not opened to the public, will dazzle tourists during the Kyoto Winter Special starting from December until March 2009, making Japan an ideal holiday destination.

Hong Kong offers up “WinterFest”, an inspired set of sights and sounds on Victoria Harbor. The Christmas light spectacular, next to the Avenue of Stars Wishing Parade, rings in the holiday season with merriment, while the entire city is decorated with Christmas splendor. An antique Christmas Tram, themed trucks with carol singers, a multimedia Christmas tree display at Ocean Park’s ice skating extravaganza, and the huge Christmas Tree of Statue Square have established Hong Kong as a premier holiday destination.

Macau, China’s own “Las Vegas”, decorates the town with even more lights throughout the festive season. From December 24-27th, Macau lights up, with music and dance spectaculars on Fisherman’s Wharf. All the sights, sounds and smells of Macau include both Chinese and Italian flavors, making this a great holiday destination for international travelers.

The Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in South East Asia, a place where Christmas is a mixture of Western and native Filipino traditions. Also known as the “Land of Fiestas”, the celebrations revolve around food and family, with festivities beginning on December 16th through January 4th. Manila shines as a magnificent example of the mixture of cultures, with jovial decorations and elaborate seasonal crafts that make Christmas in the Philippines truly special.

Enjoy you Christmas…