October 2020

Traditional Celebrations

Buon Ok Pansa (1 October) in Laos is the 'End of Buddhist Lent Festival', marking the end of the monks' three-month fast. Donations and offerings are made at various temples with hundreds of ornately decorated candle-lit floats made from paper set adrift.

Mid-Autumn Festival (1 October) is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam to signal the new harvest and worship the moon on the role it plays. Celebrations include eating moon cakes, carrying bright lanterns and watching lively dragon dances. To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong (2 October) there are many interesting events taking place including Tai Hang fire dragon dance & lantern displays and carnivals. Tai Hang fire dragon dance consists of 300 performers, over 24,000 incense sticks per night, and a 67-metre dragon consisting of 32 sections whose head alone weighs 70 kg.

Golden Week (1 – 7 October) in China is one of the peak periods for domestic travel in the country and best avoided if possible.

The Monkey God Festival (2 October) is mainly celebrated in Hong Kong, on the sixteenth day of the eighth lunar month. It is dedicated to the Monkey God who was thrown out of the Taoist Heaven for his mischievous deeds. The Monkey God is a popular character in East Asian stories and today people remember him by burning incense and making paper offerings during the festival.

The Boat Racing Festival (3 October) in Laos sees Luang Prabang and the Mekong River come to life with flamboyant candle-lit boats made from strips of bamboo, tissue paper and candles. This month the Naga Rocket Festival is also celebrated in Laos.

Takayama Matsuri (6 – 13 October) is the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine in the northern half of Takayama Old Town. The festival is also known as Hachiman Festival or Autumn Festival.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (16 – 25 October) is a time when people of Chinese descent will, for nine days, adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and suspend numerous activities. This ceremony is not so much about vegetarianism as it is about welcoming good spirits and warding off bad ones with facial piercings.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (17 October – 3 November) is the most well-known festival held at Inle Lake and is marked by a procession of leg-rowed boats ceremoniously tugging four Buddha statues situated on a royal barge clockwise around the lake. Throughout the event, leg-rowed boat races are being held and hundreds of other vessels arrive to create a jubilant festive atmosphere.

Jidai Matsuri (22 October), or Festival of Ages, is the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. At this time a pageant is ferried through the city followed by 2000 people dressed in attire representing various eras of Kyoto's history. This is a great opportunity to see traditional Japanese customs and costumes.

The Chongyang Festival is also known as the 'Double Ninth Festival' (25 October). ‘Chong’ in Chinese means double which is how the name Chongyang came to be. It’s a day of eating Chongyang cake, drinking chrysanthemum wine, climbing mountains, and paying homage to chrysanthemums.

The Dancing Elephant Festival (30 – 31 October) in Kyauk Se near Mandalay is a performance from two men together inside an elephant figure dancing in rhythm. The huge elephants are made from bamboo and paper and move through the town to the accompaniment of dobat and drums.

Thandingyut Light Festival (30 October – 1 November) is celebrated across Myanmar. It begins one day before the full moon and ends after three days. Houses and streets are beautifully illuminated. The nation’s pagodas are very crowded. It is not only a festival of joy but also a time to give thanks to parents and teachers and to ask those who you wronged during the year for forgiveness.

Cambodia’s Water Festival is known as Bon Om Thouk (30 October – 2 November) and marks the end of the monsoon – and the reversal of the flow of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, a natural phenomenon unique to Cambodia. Hundreds of thousands descend on the capital for three days of partying and festivities along the riverside.

International Events

The Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival (1 October) has been held in Century Park annually since 2000 and is one of the major cultural festivals of Shanghai.

Historically, the Japanese F1 Grand Prix (8 – 11 October) has been one of the last races of the season, and as such the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 13 World Champions being crowned over the 34 World Championship Japanese Grands Prix that have been hosted.

The Zhengzhou International Shaolin Martial Arts Festival (19 October) aims to not only promote the popularization of the traditional martial arts and raise awareness of Zhengzhou City but also promote and strengthen the cooperation and communication of martial arts among the various countries and regions in the world.

The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival takes place in October, bringing together world-class food, drinks and entertainment right next to the stunning Victoria Harbour skyline.

Get your heart pumping with the Luang Prabang Half Marathon through the UNESCO Heritage City of Luang Prabang in Laos.

The legendary Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is a spectacular event where artists, performers and musicians from across the globe share their knowledge and creative talents over a period of five days in Ubud, Bali.