Got a trip to Asia coming up? Want a heads up on major events taking place in the region? Here’s our monthly guide to what’s happening in Asia.
Various dates: Hungry Ghost Festival (Asia)
Celebrated by Buddhist and Taoist communities all over Asia, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a time in which restless spirits are free to roam the earth, in search of living relatives. During the month-long festival, people will leave out offerings of food to appease their wandering ancestors, and light incense and candles to help guide them on their way. Paper effigies of money, cars, and even iPhones are also burned to give ancestors a taste of modern luxuries.
August 9: Singapore National Day (Singapore)
Singapore’s National Day is celebrated on August 9, which marks the date the Southeast Asian city-state became independent from Malaysia in 1965. Singapore had been one of the 14 states of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965, following its merger with the Federation of Malaya along with fellow former British colonies Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah).
August 11 (approximate): Eid Al Adha (worldwide)
Eid Al Adha is the second of two major Islamic holidays, the first being Eid Al Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadan). Also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, Eid Al Adha honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to prove his faith to Allah. A key ritual of this holiday is the slaughter of an animal such as a sheep, goat or cow to represent Ibrahim’s sacrifice. Eid Al Adha also marks the end of the Hajj, or the annual pilgrimage to Makkah.
August 14: Independence Day of Pakistan (Pakistan)
Pakistan celebrates its independence on August 14, commemorating when it was declared a sovereign state following the end of British rule in 1947 and the partition of the subcontinent. Although the partition officially began on August 15, Pakistan’s Independence Day takes place one day before India’s — the ceremonies for the transfer of power were held a day early in Pakistan so the British Viceroy was able to attend both countries’ events.
August 15: National Liberation Day of Korea (South Korea, North Korea)
National Liberation Day commemorates the end of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, occurring on the day on which Japan surrendered in World War II. Three years later, on August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was officially established. Known as Gwangbokjeol, or "Restoration of Light Day" in South Korea, it is the only public holiday that is shared with North Korea.
August 15: Indian Independence Day (India)
India’s Independence Day is celebrated every year on August 15, marking the end of British rule in 1947 and the partition of the subcontinent.
August 17: Indonesian Independence Day (Indonesia)
Indonesia’s Independence Day commemorates the anniversary of the country’s Proclamation of Independence on August 17, 1945, which took place two days after Japan surrendered. However, it would take until 1949 for the Dutch to formally relinquish sovereignty. August 17 was declared a national holiday by Sukarno, the founding president of Indonesia, in 1953.
August 31: Malaysia Independence Day (Malaysia)
Also known as Hari Merdeka, Malaysia’s Independence Day marks the date in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya’s independence from the British Empire was declared. It is a distinct holiday from Malaysia Day, or Hari Malaysia, which takes place on September 16 and celebrates the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
- Asia Media Centre