4 colorful events and festivals around Asia this March

The crowd at Holi Festival (Photo: Richmond Chi)

The crowd at Holi Festival (Photo: Richmond Chi)

Exhibits at Art Basel

Exhibits at Art Basel

A yoga session during Bali Spirit Festival (Photo: Jennifer MacNiven)

A yoga session during Bali Spirit Festival (Photo: Jennifer MacNiven)

Nyepi

Nyepi procession. (Photo by Lester Ledesma)

When: March 7
Where: Bali
Nothing encapsulates the fun-loving yet deeply religious spirit of Bali better than the Nyepi new year celebrations, which comes around on March 7 this year. Expect the whole island to buzz with excitement a few days before this big event. These activities reach their climax on the eve of the new year.

There will be much partying, but it all ends when the new year arrives. The next day will be reserved for quiet meditation, with everyone — Hindu or not, residents or tourists — required to stay indoors and refrain from any activity. So serious are the locals about this tradition that all roads will be empty, and even Denpasar airport will be closed. But if you took part in the rowdy revelry the night before, you’ll probably want to take it easy anyway. — Lester Ledesma

Bali Spirit Festival

A yoga session during Bali Spirit Festival (Photo: Jennifer MacNiven)
A yoga session during Bali Spirit Festival (Photo: Jennifer MacNiven)

When: March 24 to March 31
Where: Bali
Ubud, Bali will be buzzing more than usual this month as thousands of yoga, holistic living and “conscious art” followers come over for the Bali Spirit Festival — one of the most popular events of its kind in the world. It’s for those who want to make the world better through positive thoughts and actions. There are classes on different yoga forms, dance, alternative medicine, astrology and even breath work, as well as seminars and workshops on self-development and different crafts. Live music, dance and other performances add to the liberating atmosphere. It’s not unusual at the festival to see (and hear) people dancing, chanting and singing with abandon. The open-air venue, cool Bali breeze and presence of like-minded spiritual warriors make the festival very memorable. balispiritfestival.com

Art Basel

Exhibits at Art Basel
Exhibits at Art Basel

When: March 29 to 31
Where: Hong Kong
Carefully curated artworks from the East and West come together in this premier event, which attracts leading international galleries and collectors from all around the world. The exhibition will be divided into sectors, each presenting different types of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, film, video and digital artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. The show aims to provide an in-depth overview of the region’s artistic diversity, and with than 4000 contributing artists this year, we’re sure it’ll do just that. artbasel.com/hong-kong

Holi Festival

The crowd at Holi Festival (Photo: Richmond Chi)
The crowd at Holi Festival (Photo: Richmond Chi)

When: March 31
Where: Manila
Holi, a traditional festival that marks the beginning of Spring, takes place every year during full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which falls on March 31 this year. While it is widely celebrated in Hindu countries like India and Nepal, it has also recently been popularized in other countries, what with the Indian diaspora across the globe. In Manila, you can look forward to plenty of merrymaking — dance to Bollywood songs, participate in fun games, throw gulal (colored powder) at other festival-goers (to imitate the colors of Spring), get a henna tattoo, and feast on authentic Indian fare. smtickets.com

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