Have a trip to Asia coming up? Want a heads up on major events taking place in the region? Here’s our guide to what’s happening in Asia in February and March.
31 January - 11 February: Yuki Matsuri - Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
The festival was first held in Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo, in 1950 when local students built six snow statues. It has grown into one of Japan’s most popular winter events, featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures and attracting more than two million visitors from Japan and around the world. Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main places where visitors can see the beautiful snow and ice sculpture displays. The sculptures often features famous people, landmarks and events which have happened in the past year. An unusually warm winter had earlier forced organisers to truck in snow - and now the coronavirus outbreak may also reduce tourism numbers.
14 February: Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony (Trang, Thailand)
Held over Valentine’s Day, couples dressed in traditional wedding dress and suits, plunge 12 metres beneath the water to perform an innovative wedding ceremony and (somehow) exchange bubbly vows. In 2019, 19 couples tied the know underwater, including couples from China, Malaysia and the Netherlands.
24 February: Ghyalpo Losar
The Tibetan New Year lasts 15 days but the first three days are the most important. It is celebrated in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and parts of India and Pakistan.
27 February: Asia Trade Summit (Hong Kong)
The Economist’s Asia Trade Summit – Reshaping trade patterns brings together regional trade negotiators, business leaders economist, policymakers and academics for a day of rigorous debate. Through roundtables, onstage debates and panel discussions the summit analyses risks and opportunities facing the region.
March 5: China's National People's Congress (Beijing)
The National People's Congress, China's legislature, will convene for its once-a-year meeting from March 5, according to Xinhua. It is likely to chart a course for a slowing economy. Beijing is expected to set an economic growth target of "around 6%" for 2020, down from 2019’s goal of "6% to 6.5%."
9-10 March: Holi
Holi is a vibrant Hindu festival, celebrated across India and Nepal, to mark the arrival of spring. The holiday is split into two events; Holika Dahan and Rangwali Holi. The former takes place on the eve of Holi and involves the burning of pyres to signify the triumph of good over evil. The second day of the festival has become most famous for the ritual of throwing colourful powders, which is why it’s often referred to as the Festival of Colours. This ritual draws on the story of two lovers, Radha and Krishna, who were concerned about their different skim colours so coloured their faces to match.
13-15 March: World Athletics Indoor Championships (Nanjing, China)
Due to be head at the newly built Nanjing Cube gymnasium at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park. However, doubts are growing over whether this event will go ahead because of the coronavirus outbreak.
25-26 March: Nyepi (Bali, Indonesia)
Known as the ‘Day of Silence’, this festival is hugely significant for Balinese Hindus. On the day before Nyepi, Balinese dress in colourful traditional clothing and bring offerings to beaches for ceremonial body cleansing, believing the sea is the recipient of all sins and contamination. During the day life grinds to a halt. No activities are allowed, for locals and tourists alike (the latter not being allowed to leave their premises) in the hope that evil spirits will find the island inhospitable and leave it.
- Asia Media Centre