Gawai Dayak in Borneo (Malaysia)
Mainly observed in Sarawak, Gawai Dayak is a celebration of the indigenous people (the Dayak) who call Borneo home. "Dayak" is a collective term used to refer to more than 205 ethnic groups, many of which once practiced headhunting. Although Gawai Dayak is technically June 1, celebrations begin the night before.
The Holi Festival (India)
India’s Festival of Colors is the messiest festival in India and one of the wildest spring festivals in Asia. Holi is rowdy, messy, and completely unforgettable if you’re brave enough to arm yourself with powdered dye and join the fray. Rowdy crowds in the streets dust each other with colorful powders in a good-natured blessing. In old times, the colored powders were made from neem and other Ayurvedic medicines that helped prevent infections. Holi is the celebration of good’s victory over evil. A frenzied throng dances in the chaotic streets as colors are thrown.
Dates for Holi vary from year to year because they are based on the Hindu calendar. The festival usually falls between the end of February and middle of March.
Songkran, the Thai New Year celebration, has evolved into the world’s largest water fight! The festival is absolute madness in places such as Chiang Mai. Songkran began as a tradition of sprinkling water on each other as a blessing. Buddha statues are brought out for the new year in a procession to then be washed by worshipers. Modern Songkran has evolved into dumping buckets of ice water and blasting strangers with big water cannons. You are guaranteed to get wet during Songkran; holding a phone or laptop is no excuse.
Golden Week (Japan)
Every year, thousands of hapless travelers manage to stumble right into the middle of Golden Week in Japan. They learn the hard way that the Golden Week holiday period is the busiest time to be anywhere near the archipelago. Golden Week is one of the busiest travel times in Japan, the first holiday of Golden Week is the celebration of the birthday of Emperor Hirohito (Showa Day) on April 29. Constitution Memorial Day hits on May 3 and is followed by Greenery Day on May 4 then Children's Day on May 5.
An ancient tradition, hanami actually means "flower viewing". Hanami starts from mid-March to April, sometimes it lasts until May depending on how har north or south in Japan. During this festival, families and friends compete for quiet spots in busy parks to have picnics and parties, both day and night. Moreover, tea ceremonies are held under trees; folk songs, traditional dances, beauty pageants, and even parades add to the festive atmosphere.
Vesak Day (Birthday of Buddha)
Known as Vesak Day, the observed birthday of Gautama Buddha is celebrated in different ways on different dates throughout Asia. Many countries observe the day in spring, usually May. Vesak Day is observed with religious rites and sincere attempts to be more gentle, eat vegetarian food and keep Buddhist teachings in mind. Travelers are rarely affected by observations of Buddha’s Birthday other than being inconvenienced by the halting of alcohol sales in places such as Thailand.