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Senin, 24 Januari 2011

Unusual Asian Festivals

Just as the rest of the world moves forward into the online digital world, there are still various classical traditions from centuries past that retains their popularity with the new younger generation of people. Even as some of these traditions are strange and unusual, they have continued to grow in popularity. With its colorful local cultures and numerous differing locales, the region of Asia is filled with such festivities. Here are some of the best for your perusal, be sure to check them out when you visit next time!

Photo credits - A Malchik!
Photo credits - A Malchik!< Photo credits - Guanlong
Photo credits - Guanlong

Kanamara Matsuri

Often mistaken for a big, gigantic bachelor party or the Japanese equivalent of a grand Playboy bash, Kanamara Matsuri (or the Festival of the Steel Phallus) is a colorful festive event which sees various replica of the male gender’s “equipment” strewn about in various color and shape. Originating from the Edo period of the 1600, this annual Fertility Festival was initially organized by geisha escorts during the period, in the hope that they will be protected from various STDs. The Kanamara Matsuri is centred around a local penis-venerating shrine believed to grant divine protection not only against STDs, but also in business and the clan’s prosperity, marriage and family harmony. Now, this Shinto gathering is a full-fledged tourist attraction that helps various related social initiative. Only in Japan would such a festival can be made available to all the public, and even to children!

Photo credits - Nature Explorer
Photo credits - Nature Explorer< Bau Nyale The full moon shone brightly up on the dark nightscape of Lombok’s beautiful southern coast. It was February, the month of love and romance, and a throng of locals were on the beach, looking out for… worms? Locally referred to as “nyale”, this colorful worms are only seen during the month of February to March, whose appearance are celebrated by the locals as they are believed to be a transformation of Princess Mandalika. The local legend goes that a beloved local princess was famed for her beauty throughout the land, with numerous suitors competing for her attention and love. Over time, the competition grasdfew fierce and distasteful, and the princess, not wanting to start a war between the locals, decided to sacrifice herself and threw herself into the sea. Every year, the locals celebrates the appearance of the colorful worms with various events such as traditional war games, musicals and a stage rendition of the story of Princess Mandalika. Photo credits - jpereiro
Photo credits - jpereiro

Holi Festival

This popular Hindu spring festival, observed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other Hindu countries, is also known as The Festival of Color. The festivities can last up to sixteen days, with the main day, Holi, celebrated by people applying (or sometimes throwing) colored water or powder at each other. The Holi festival is a celebration of good over bad, and also of various Hindu legends. Culturally, the Holi is a festival that brings all fabric of society together, and strengthen the community, not an easy feat in a secular India where caste and race plays a large part in social dynamics. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month, usually in the later part of February or March.

Photo credits - Stinkie Pinkie
Photo credits - Stinkie Pinkie

Boryeong Mud Festival

The Boryeong’s Mud Festival on Daecheon Beach brings out the child in everyone. During this summer event, festival goers apply mud packs to their entire body, believing the mud from Boryeong to contain important minerals which reduce wrinkles and remove excess oils from the skin. Aside from the mass mud bathing, there are also mud body painting contests, a mud beauty contest, mud massages and even a mud sculpture contest. Those not so into mud can simply enjoy the scene while enjoying your usual beach activities on the white sand of Daecheon Beach.

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