Hiroshima Dreamination, Hiroshima
19 November to 3 January
Check out the illumination of Christmas lights along Hiroshima’s Peace Boulevard. With magical light sculptures and carriages drawn by real horses, it’s like a scene straight out of a fairy tale.
December to April
With roots tracing back over 800 years, Theyyam is a popular form of religious worship practiced at numerous temples in northern Kerala. During the ceremonies, which take place between December and April each year, Theyyam devotees don colourful makeup and flamboyant headdresses as they assume the roles of religious figures, and perform elaborate dance rituals that can last for hours. Photographer Premkumar Mathradan describes his first-hand experience of the festival, “There’s a liveliness in the performances that not only breathes life into the stories, but also captures the crowd’s exuberance and enthusiasm.”
Christmas Wonderland, Singapore
1 to 26 December
Experience Christmas in the tropics at Gardens by the Bay. Marvel at the Luminarie light sculptures, ice-skate under the stars, visit Santa’s Grotto with the little ones and catch the Asian debut of Ethiopian circus troupe Circus Abyssinia. Keep yourself fed at SAVOUR: Christmas Wonderland, which will feature dishes from Michelin-starred restaurants such as Saint Pierre and Shoukouwa. Other highlights include carnival games, an European-style Festive Market and more. Tickets start from S$4.
Phuket King’s Cup Regatta
2 to 9 December
Over 1,500 of the world’s best yachtsmen and women will take to the waters off Kata Beach during the annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. Marvel at the sailing action; then, don your finest threads for the glitzy parties that follow each day of racing.
Tag-Anito Festival, Cebu
8 to 9 December
Held in the Cebuano town of Tudela on Camotes Island, this annual street parade showcases rituals and traditions that marry Christianity and paganism. During the festival, dancers don colourful costumes and re-enact the town’s history – specifically, its rescue from invaders by a local hero called Mandayang – through their performances. It’s truly a feast for the eyes.
8 to 9 December
Asia’s largest beach music festival is back with a bang. This year’s edition will be headlined by some of the biggest names in music today, such as Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Flume, Claptone and more.
Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, Kathmandu
14 to 18 December
It’s all about mountains at the 15th edition of the festival, where films will examine diverse themes ranging from hill-tribe cultures to alpine sports. The festival will also introduce the KIMFF Doc Labs, a consultancy that advises Nepali filmmakers on producing, editing and storytelling.
Bangalore Midnight Marathon
Run for a good cause at the annual Bangalore Midnight Marathon, where all proceeds go towards health, education and social welfare projects. The full marathon will head out when the clock strikes 12; if that’s way past your bedtime, there’ll also be a community relay and a 5km fun run earlier in the evening.
Kolkata Christmas Festival, Kolkata
18 December to 2 January
Christmas starts a week early at the Kolkata Christmas Festival. Expect themed lighting designed by local artisans, choir performances and a two-hour Christmas Parade.
Cochin Carnival, Kochi
25 December to 1 January
Held at Fort Kochi, this carnival brings the entire city together for a week of fun. Take part in multiple sporting competitions or races, or just enjoy the many art shows, food festivals and colourful rallies being held. The procession on New Year’s Day features richly caparisoned elephants, mesmerising North Indian dances and more
Yomari Punhi, Kathmandu
28 to 31 December
Observed annually during the full moon in December to mark the end of the rice harvest, Yomari Punhi is one of the most popular festivals on the Newari calendar. Take a bite out of a yomari cake, a steamed, fish-shaped dough confection made with rice flour, brown sugar and sesame seeds. To mark the festival, sacred masked dances are also performed in various villages.
Torotot Festival, Davao
Celebrate the new year at this festival in Davao City, where Filipinos come together to blow torotots (party horns). The festival actually started in light of the firecracker and pyrotechnics ban that was imposed on the city in 2012, but has since become a calendar highlight in its own right.