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WORLD NOMAD GAMES
Against the backdrop of globalisation, the aim of the festival is to preserve the unique and diverse identities and ways of life of the nomadic peoples. Proposed by President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambayev, and started in September 2014 under his leadership, the annual games saw some 2,000 athletes from 82 countries competing in 37 sports last year. The festival, which includes horse racing, archery and wrestling, is extensively covered by international media and has a dedicated website. out h Korea
Known as Korea’s thanksgiving day, Chuseok falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and is the time to celebrate the harvest. Koreans hold memorial rituals ( charye) at their ancestors’ graves on this important traditional holiday.
Observed on the 10th day of the eighth lunar month, Thimphu Tshechu is one of the most important festivals celebrated as tributes to Guru Rinpoche, the great Buddhist master who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. This religious social occasion is a time of cleansing and renewal. Locals are decked out in their traditional outfits and gather at Thimphu Tashichoedzong to watch cham dances depicting the life of Padmasambhava performed by monks and laymen in elaborate costumes and masks.
TAUNGGYI BALLOON FESTIVAL (Background Photo)
Burmese celebrate the end of the rainy season by releasing gigantic hot- air paper balloons into the sky. Teams from the city design and make them for competitions that take place at night. Candles and fireworks are often attached to these balloons, which makes this spectacle a dangerous one to attend. Other festival activities include all- day weaving competitions and carnival games.
HMONG NEW YEAR
Hmong New Year is when Hmong people celebrate the end of the rice harvesting season and the start of a new year. Ten different dishes are prepared each day over the three- day festival, also a time when shamans invoke and honour spirits of the desceased as well as those associated with wealth and healing. Festivities include a traditional game called pov pob ( tossing a cotton ball), ox fighting, top- spinning contests and music performances. Young Hmong women and men also dress up, as it is an occasion for them to meet potential partners.
WHIRLING DERVISHES FESTIVAL
Synonymous with the practice of whirling as a form of worship to God, this week- long festival is celebrated by Mevlevi Order believers ( Whirling Dervishes) founded by Celaleddin Rumi ( a Sufi mystic and poet). In whirling rituals ( sema), semazen donning symbolic garb chant to the accompaniment of reed pipes as they twirl with their right hand pointed upwards towards God and their left pointing down to the earth — all believed to induce a state of spiritual ecstasy. Seb- i Arus is held on the final night of the festival to commemorate the death of Rumi in mid- December of 1273, believed to mark his union with God. Mevlana Museum, where the festival is held, is also where the mausoleum housing Rumi’s tomb and the dervish lodge he lived in. Believers gather at dargahs ( Sufi shrines) to chant and sing after observing sema. Sema performances also take place regularly in other parts of Turkey like Ankara, Istanbul and Cappadocia.
DONG ZHI ( WINTER SOLISTICE FESTIVAL)
In Chinese, ‘ Dong Zhi’ refers to the astrological phenomenon of the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. Observed since the Han Dynasty period, it is a time for families to gather and feast in celebration of longer days ahead. Sweet glutinous rice balls symbolic of togetherness ( due to its Chinese pronunciation) or dumplings are always eaten on this occasion.
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