December 2020

Traditional Celebrations

Chichibu Yomatsuri (2 – 3 December) is held at the Chichibu Shrine just 90 minutes from central Tokyo. The festival holds an impressive fireworks display lasting almost two and a half hours and gives visitors the rare opportunity to enjoy fireworks in Japan during the winter.

The Hagoita-Ichi (17 – 19 December), also known as the Battledore Fair, is an annual fair near the Hondo or main hall of Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo. Dating back to the Edo period, the fair sees some 50 open-air stalls selling hagoita (battledores), shuttlecocks, kites, and other New Year decorations stand huddled together with people visiting from all over the country.

The Winter Solstice Festival (21 December) takes place during the 11th lunar month in Hong Kong and China. The festival was traditionally a time when farmers and fishermen had to prepare for the coming colder months. In modern times in both Hong Kong and China, people return home for large meals with their families. In northern China, dumplings are traditionally eaten, while in southern China and Hong Kong tangyuan (balls of glutinous rice) are consumed.

Mount Popa Spirit Festival (29 December) sees pilgrims gather from the countryside and nearby towns to enjoy this joyous festival to honour the nats, or local spirits in Myanmar.

Lovely December is an annual event held by the government of Tana Toraja, Indonesia featuring a variety of artworks from the Tana Toraja culture.

International Events

Christmas on A Great Street (16 November to 1 January) sees a spectacular display of Christmas lights on Singapore’s famed shopping belt, Orchard Road. With no shortage of exciting events, Instagram-worthy sights, and a myriad of shopping and restaurant choices, there's no better place to embrace the season of joy.

The 2020 Angkor Wat International Half Marathon (6 December) marks the 25th edition of this charity race, taking runners past Angkor’s magnificent temples. Starting and finishing at Angkor Wat, the course is pleasantly flat and as expected, visually stunning.

Danau Toba Festival (9 – 12 December) in North Sumatra offers something for everyone; from music, arts and crafts, to traditional sports competitions and environment conservation activities.

Hong Kong WinterFest is a series of seasonal events over the Christmas and New Year period. Coinciding with Hong Kong WinterFest is the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show exhibiting a multimedia light show with spectacular lighting effects, 3D projection mapping, and music and sound effects at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Open Piazza.

The Jim Thompson Farm Tour takes place annually during the cool season between December and January in Nakhon Ratchasima. Among the attractions on the 600-rai farm are the Cosmos Field and Artist in Farm, pumpkin yard and colourful flower fields, Isan Village, Weaving Village, and Jim’s Market.

The Chiang Mai Design Week is an annual event held jointly by creators, designers, craftsmen, artists, and entrepreneurs. The festival takes place throughout the city of Chiang Mai in several districts each with different defining elements.

Wonderfruit Festival is held annually in The Fields, just two hours outside of Bangkok, to celebrate art, music, food and ideas to catalyze a positive impact. At Wonderfruit, their ethos is to encourage, develop, and innovate creative solutions for sustainable living and bring together a global community to celebrate them.

And of course, the New Year countdown is a big event in many of the larger Asian cities with celebrations and parties going on through the night.