Southeast Asian Holidays

Chinese Gate, Bangkok
Chinese New Year at Bangkok's Chinatown Gate

Southeast Asia's wide diversity of cultures means there are many holidays celebrated, which differ widely from country to country. While mostly Buddhist Thailand doesn't observe any Christian holidays, mostly Muslim Indonesia observes Christian and Islamic holidays.

One point the western visitor needsto keep in mind is that many Buddhist and Muslim holidays are scheduled according to the lunar calendar, or by some other means that results in the holiday changing dates from year to year. When planning your trip, be sure to check whether or not there are any holidays during your visit. Not that this is necessarily a reason to change any of your plans. In most countries, shops and tourist sites usually stay open during most holidays.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, in one form or another, and under one name another, is celebrated throughout Southeast Asia. Each year of the Chinese calendar is assigned one of twelve zodiac signs. Celebrations vary from country to country. In some countries, Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, while in others it is one of the biggest public events of the year.