Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Vesak Day 2013 in Singapore

Vesak Vibes in Chinatown, Singapore

Chinatown decorated for Vesak Day

Vesak Day or Wesak Day
24  May 2013, Friday

Vesak Day, also known as Wesak Day, or more commonly known as “Buddha’s birthday”, celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.  This holiday is widely celebrated in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and many parts of Asia.  In Singapore, the holiday is started in the morning with Buddhists and devotees gathering at temples for a morning ceremony.  During this ceremony, a Buddhist flag will be raised  and monks will recite the sutras.  Followers will visit temples to pray and to give offerings of flowers, incense, and much more.  These offerings symbolize that life will end since flowers will wilt and incense will turn to dust.  Other rituals that will be observed are:  releasing caged birds, bathing a Buddha statue, candlelight processions, having vegetarian meals, and doing good deeds.  Acts of good deeds are known as “dana” and it’s believed that doing good deeds on this particular day brings more rewards.  Buddhists will come to visit the needy and give donations, and young Buddhists often organize blood drives at local hospitals.  The bathing of a Buddha statue is to commemorate his birth and some believed it’s also to remind followers to purify their minds from greed and hatred.   At night there will be solemn candlelight processions through the streets.  Some of the popular temples to celebrate this holiday are:  Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah,  Buddhist Lodge at River Valley Road, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payohand, and The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown.

Bathing of Baby Buddha

Bathing of Baby Buddha on Vesak Day

 

There are many different sectors of Buddhism in Singapore and each celebrates Vesak in unique ways.  The largest sector is the Mahayana which is made up of Chinese Singaporeans.  Temples for this sector will perform the two-hour “three-step, one-bow” ritual.  Buddhists will be on their knees as they step up and will bow at every third step as a way to ask for peace, blessings, and forgiveness.  Another sector is the Theravada which has mostly Sri Lankan Singaporeans and Burmese Singaporeans and they will have the ritual of cooking rice in milk.  This ceremony is to remember Buddha’s last meal before his enlightenment fast.  You can see this practice at Sri Lankaramaya Temple at St Michael’s Road or  Burmese Buddhist Temple at Geylang.

 

 

2013 Singapore Holidays & Events

The following is a list of 2013 Singapore Holidays & Events!

January
1

► New Year Day 1 January 2013, TuesdayTwo popular New Year’s Eve countdowns will be ‘The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown’ and Siloso Beach Party’ at Sentosa.  There will be live performances and fireworks to ring in the new year.  Clarke Quay and Orchard Road will also be crowded with party-goers.

 

February
10

Chinese New Year 10 February 2013, Sunday – 11, February 2013,  MondayChinatown will come alive during this holiday with decorations, streets lit with lanterns, night-markets, and shopping malls filled with people shopping for the new year.  There will be lion dances at Chinatown, Clarke Quay, and Boat Quay.

 

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Good Friday & Easter 2013 in the Philippines

Good Friday & Easter 2013 in the Philippines - Good Friday for 2013 will be on Friday, March 29 and Easter will be on Sunday. March 31.  Good Friday is a day Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Christ who died for mankind’s sins.  Easter Sunday is a celebration of his resurrection. Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Philippines – with over 80% of the population being Catholic, Good Friday and Easter are widely observed.  In the Philippines, Good Friday is called ‘Biyernes Santo‘.  The Sunday before Easter Sunday is called Palm Sunday. Filipinos go to mass and get their palm leaves or ‘palaspas’ blessed.  The blessed palm leaves will be hung over windows or doors to keep out evil spirits and to also welcome Jesus Christ.  Filipinos will fast on Good Friday by having only one full meal and abstain from eating meat.   Many Filipinos will go to church to attend the three-hour mediation that reflects the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ while he was on the cross during the crucifixion.  Churches throughout the country will reenact the Passion of Jesus up to the part where he was crucified.  In some parts of the Philippines, devout Catholics perform real crucifixions despite that the gruesome act is condemned by Catholic leaders in the country.  Some unique traditions that one will see when visiting the Philippines during this holiday are:  Fourteen Stations of the Cross, Pasyon, Mahal na Senyo, and Senakulo. Read more »

Eid ul Fitr 2012

Eid ul Fitr 2012
19 August 2012, Sunday

Eid ul Fitr will be celebrated on Sunday, August 19, 2012.  Eid ul Fitr or commonly known as Eid is a three-day holiday in the Islamic religion that celebrates the end of Ramadan.  Ramadan is the month of fasting and during this month worshipers fast from sunrise to sunset everyday.  Eid was first celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad after the winning the battle of Jang-e-Badar.  During Eid, Muslims wear nice clothes and decorate their homes with lights and etc.  Eid is also a time for people to be more aware of their sins and make amends. Read more »

Christmas in South Korea 2012

 Christmas Day 기독탄신일
25 December 2012, Tuesday (Public Day Off)

Christmas in South Korea - Holiday ChaserChristmas is a religious and cultural holiday celebrated annually on December 25th, marking the birth of Jesus Christ according to Christianity. Like so many other nations around the world, South Korea also celebrates Christmas. Along with Buddhism, Christianity is one of the major religions practiced in Korea, in which over 30% of South Koreans are Christian. Though its official name by law is Gidoktansinil, many Christian Koreans refer to it as Seongtanjeol (성탄절).

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2012 Hangul Day

2012 Hangul Day 한글날
9 October 2012, Tuesday (Working Day)

Hangul Day commemorates the invention and proclamation of the Korean written language, Hangul.

According to history, in 1443, King Sejong “the Great” (4th king of the Joseon Dynasty) and his institute of scholars, the Hall of Worthies, are credited for creating Hangul. It took them 30 years of research and design to devise a writing system specifically for the Korean language. It has been noted that Sejong explained the new written language was a better fit for the Korean language for it’s simplicity and versatility, that even an ill-educated commoner could read and write Korean. Originally named “Gagyageul” (가갸글), it wasn’t until 1913 that the Korean alphabet was named “Hangul”.

In 1928, the Hangul Society celebrated the 480th anniversary of the declaration of Hangul, and it’s been celebrated as a holiday ever since. Though there’s been changes in when Hangul day is celebrated over the course of the century, it wasn’t until the South Korean government was established in 1945 that it was declared a legal holiday to be on October 9th. In 1991, Hangul day changed from being a legal holiday, meaning government employees no longer get the day off.

New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong 2013

New Years Eve 2011 in Hong Kong

 

International New Year’s Eve / Day
1 January 2013, Tuesday

This adopted Western celebration is not as big as the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year celebration which will occur later in the month.  The Times Square shopping mall in Hong Kong will have the ball drop similar to New York Times Square called the Times Square Apple Countdown.  Before the countdown there will be countless entertainment.  Like Times Square in New York City this event will be popular so be sure to come hours in advance to get a spot.  Victoria Harbour will be filled with firework displays on the waterfront.  There will be a lot of all-inclusive cruises at Victoria Harbour for people to view the fireworks.  On land, the best view is from the Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.   New Year’s Eve is a time to party and Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong will also be packed with partygoers.  A lot of restaurants and hotels will offer New Year’s Eve dinner.  With so many high scale restaurants in Hong Kong your dinner to ring in the New Year will be very memorable.

Chinese Lunar New Year in Hong Kong 2013

 

► Chinese Lunar New Year
11 -13 January 2013, Monday – Wednesday

For 2013 Chinese Lunar New Year the zodiac sign will be the snake.  In Hong Kong this holiday is celebrated for 3 days and employees get 3 days off from work.  This celebration is a time for family to get together.  During this holiday, children from far away will come back to visit their parents.  Young kids will get red envelopes of lucky money called “li shi” from their parents and elders.  There will be a lot of festivities during this celebration with fireworks, parade, lion dances, and a lot of stores marking down their items.  Shopping is a popular activity since traditionally people need to go to buy new stuff to welcome the New Year.  The whole Hong Kong will have the festivities feel of Chinese Lunar New Year with flower markets, temples filled with worshippers, stores displaying decorations, and etc.  The largest flower market will be located at Victoria Peak.Some traditional food that will be eaten during this holiday are:  dumplings, fish, duck, and other delicacies.  Red is considered a lucky color and will be seen everywhere from decorations to money envelopes for kids.  Some restaurants will increase their prices during this holiday.  Some small business will close 3 days for the celebration but most will reopen on Thursday, January 14.

Victoria Harbour will have a spectacular fireworks show that combines with the famous Hong Kong’s daily show called Symphony of Lights.  Occasionally you’ll hear families popping their own small fireworks or firecrackers.  One of the ways to see the firework is getting on a cruise at Victoria Harbour so you can have the best view of the fireworks.   Temples will be very crowded but it will be interesting to go and participate in some traditions they offer during the Chinese New Year.

2013 Hong Kong Holidays & Events

Holiday-Chaser-Hong-Kong-skyline

Here is a list of Hong Kong holidays and events in 2013!

January
1

► International New Year Day
1 January 2013, Tuesday
The Times Square shopping mall in Hong will have the ball drop similar to New York Times Square. Victoria Harbour will be filled with firework displays on the waterfront. Lan Kwai Fong will also be packed with partygoers. Read more »

2012 South Korean Holidays

HolidayChaser-Feature-Posts-Korea-flag

Here is a list of holidays in South Korea for 2012!

There are three types of South Korean holidays observed:
National Celebration Day (Hangul: 국경일)
National Flag Raising Day (Hangul: 국기게양일)
Public Day Off (Hangul: 공휴일) 
Also noted are Working Days. Read more »