Recommend August 2015 - (Page 52)

asia Super Value Tours is offering a trip for visitors to view the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. Festival Time: "Step Outside the Ordinary" carla hunt "There is quite possibly no better way to truly connect with a foreign culture than to join in a local festival," says Kirsten LouyNasty, CEO of Asia Transpacific Journeys, "and Asia's festivals are as diverse as its landscape-each one a vibrant distillation of a destination's complex history, culture, art and traditions." Festivals offer a way of "digging deeper when exploring a country," LouyNasty adds, "although to have a festival makes sense for our luxury small group trips or custom journeys, there must be fine lodgings in the vicinity. But without doubt, attending a festival in Asia gives travelers a chance to step outside the ordinary." Whether a festival is religious or secular, whether it marks the birth of a well-loved god or the beginning of the planting or harvest seasons, it's always an occasion to celebrate for a day or a week, and to re-enact customs that may date back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Important to know in our sampling of festivals is that the dates often change yearly as Hindus, Muslims and Chinese all follow a lunar calendar. › Snake Boat Races Festival (August): This annual festival is held on the backwaters at Alappuzha, Kerala on the occasion of the Onam Festival. The giant snake boats-measuring 150 ft. in length, each powered by more than 100 oarsmen, and with singing and whooping war cries-compete for the prestigious Nehru Trophy. › Diwali Festival (late October/early November): Diwali, or the Festival of Light, is the most important and happiest festival on the Hindu calendar; countless oil lamps are lit to welcome home Lord Rama after his 14-year exile. › Pushkar Cattle Fair (November): Thousands of people- Rajasthani men and women in their colorful traditional attire, saffron-robed Holy Men, cattle traders, shopkeepers, merchants, dancers, musicians and artisans-congregate at Pushkar for the 4-day event; a cultural, trade and religious celebration, and above all, the world's largest camel fair. india While Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur at midnight is the place to be for Malaysia's National Day on Aug. 31, Malaysia is a potpourri of ethnically diverse people who celebrate their traditions-from Kota Bharu in the north and south to Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah. › Thaipusam (falls on a day between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15): Enormous crowds converge at the sacred shrine of the Batu Caves, some joining an 8-hour procession from Kuala Lumpur to the Cave Temple for this dramatic Hindu festival. › Gawai Dayak Festival (beginning of June): The Gawai Dayak is celebrated in Sarawak to mark the end of the rice harvesting season. It also marks the beginning of the new planting season. Activities such as dancing, singing and a considerable amount of rice wine drinking take place in the longhouses. The bounty of festivals and fairs almost guarantees that at any given time, somewhere in some corner of India, people will dress in new clothes, sing and dance, worship, feast and rejoice, particularly in a country that was the birthplace of two of the world's great religions-Hinduism and Buddhism-and one of its smallest-Jainism. For a sampling of India's festival calendar consider: › Khajuraho Dance Festival (late February or early March): Staged in the famous 10th-century Khajuraho temples that are illuminated at dusk, this week-long festival spotlights the immense diversity of Indian dance-no less than eight genres of classical dance and innumerable folk forms-all central to India's culture. 50 august 2015 malaysia

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend August 2015

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk: AC Hotels by Marriott
Tour Talk: Cuba Calling
River Cruise Update
AmaWaterways’ AmaCerto
The Girls—& Guys— Just Wanna Have Fun
Martinique Travel Planner
Sint Maarten’s Three All-Inclusive Sonestas
Puerto Rico
Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Update on Air, Hotels & Tours
Israel: A Journey of Divine Discovery
Festival Time: “Step Outside the Ordinary”
Official Florida Travel Industry Education Program–Beaches Course
The Battle Begins: Girls vs. Guys Getaways

Recommend August 2015