If you’re East Asian, Lunar New Year may have seemed to have come and gone, but today, many South and Southeast Asian New Year festivals are just beginning. According to their local lunisolar calendars, their first day of the year is around April 13 or 14.
There’s a lot of festivals. So we’re gonna hit ‘em up in a classic Slant roundup.
This New Year’s …
SPLASH TOURISTS. It’s pretty hot in Thailand right now, so you can celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year, by straight up blasting water guns at people. Or, be traditional and pour water on the hands of your elders so they’ll give you their blessing.
WIN WIN WIN. During Choul Chnam Thmey, or the Cambodian New Year, celebrants dress up, light incense, and purify themselves with perfumed water. Or, they’ll play new year’s games, when they’re not eating kralan: sticky rice with red beans, sugar, coconut and coconut milk.
EAT TILL YOU EXPLODE. Glutinous rice balls with palm sugar (mont lone yeibaw) and sticky rice with toasted sesame and coconut milk (mont let saung) are everywhere during Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival, which also involves ceremonial washing … or splashing.
PULL REAL HARD. Join one massive game of tug-of-war between the upper and lower parts of Bhaktapur, Nepal, where hundreds of people pull a chariot carrying a statue of the Hindu god Bhairava to their side of town. Or, just watch. Tradition says it’ll rid you of your enemies.
JUST BE POSITIVE. Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka traditionally celebrate spring and the renewal of goodwill during Aluth Avurudda, staying close to home while playing goatskin drums over a fire and commemorating the end of the harvest.
— Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who’s itching for an Asia trip now