Unique traditions to welcome New Year in Asia

1. The Water Festival in Southeast Asia The water festival is the New Year’s celebration that takes place in east and South-east Asia in Theravada Buddhist countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. April 13th marks the beginning of the traditional celebration. People traditionally celebrate by going to temples and visiting family during the annual public holiday. But since April is one of the hottest months in Southeast Asia, some countries celebrate with a several days long water festival. It is called the ‘Water Festival’ by Westerners because they see people splashing or pouring water at one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the New Year. Traditionally people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in Southeast Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passers-by in vehicles in boisterous celebration. The act of pouring water is also a show of blessings and good wishes. It is believed that on this Water Festival, everything old must be thrown away, or it will bring the owner bad luck. 2. Fukubukuro ‘Lucky Bag’ Festival in Japan One of the biggest parts of Japanese pop culture is its fashion and shopping districts. On a daily basis the latest Japanese brands can be found at popular department stores, clothing stores and others. During New Year’s, many stores sell these popular items in so called “lucky bags,” or fukubukuro, at ridiculously discounted prices. They are limited in numbers,… [Read full story]

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