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Ben Tre Coconut Festival, Viet Nam

A week-long coconut festival takes place every April in the southern province of Ben Tre, with all activities devoted to one of the area’s most profitable cash crops, the coconut. Exhibitions, trade fairs, a cultural-arts and sport week, food festival, cuisine competitions and workshops showcase the versatility of the coconut; many of the activities will …

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Whale Festival, Viet Nam

Held in the coastal city of Vung Tau, this festival commemorates whales, a sacred animal of the area. According to legend, Emperor Gia Long was saved from a sinking ship by these majestic creatures and he elevated their status in court, making whales a local deity and protector of fishermen. A procession of locals symbolically …

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The Water Splashing Festival, China

In the Dai culture, water serves as a symbol of holiness and light. That’s why water is so central to the Dai New Year, which is celebrated in Jinghong, Yunnan at the large Water-splashing Square, where people go completely water-wild with buckets and water guns. Be warned – foreign visitors tend to get special attention …

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Songkran Water Festival, Thailand

The Thai New Year lasts for days, with the whole country subsumed in water showers and celebrations. Don’t get mad: getting wet is a portent of good luck! For a more authentic Songkran experience, visit the Mekong-side city of Nakhon Phanom: make merit on the monks’ alms walk at dawn, visit the booths selling products …

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Pimai Lao/Lao New Year

The three-day Lao New Year is a purification festival, during which the Buddhist images in the household and the temples are ritually cleaned with sacred water. On the streets, locals engage in the usual Pimai antics—Soo Kwan (tying cotton strings around people’s wrists), water splashing, and sand stupa building. You’ll also find processions of people …

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Angkor Sankranta, Cambodia

The Angkor Sankranta celebration is held annually in Siem Reap during Khmer New Year. For tourists, Angkor Sankranta offers a rare chance to engage in Cambodia’s customs right in the middle of the ancient Angkor temples. Watch traditional folk dances and games, enjoy cattle races, and listen to Khmer music, among other activities. Khmer food …

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Hung Temple Festival, Viet Nam

On the tenth day of the third lunar month, Vietnamese gather at the Hung Temple at Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province to honor the legendary Hung Kings. Rulers of the Hong Bang era in Viet Nam’s mythic past, the Hung Kings helped develop a fine material culture of bronze and pottery, and also …

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