Asian Cultural Calendar

The following are some events less publicized than the Lunar New Year celebrated by Chinese and certain other East Asian ethnic groups, but also of importance to Asian America. Note: Many Asian calendars, because they are based on the moon rather than the sun as in the Western calendar, have holidays and cultural events that carry no fixed date. To suggest additions or revisions to this calendar, e-mail AAJA_guide@hotmail.com.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY
New Year’s celebration for first week: Shogatsu (Japan).

Anywhere from Jan. 21 to Feb. 21: Asian Lunar New Year (or “Tet” in Vietnam) is celebrated on the same day in China, Japan, Korea and other countries. Last day of winter in Japan: Setsubun.

MARCH
March 23: Pakistan Day.

No fixed date in March: spring festival Holi (India).

No fixed date in March: Cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsuri (Japan).

APRIL
April 5: Celebrates architecture characteristic of Thai royalty and religion, “Cho-fahRaising Ceremony.”

April 6: Commemorates founding of Bangkok, Chakri Day Celebrations. New Year celebrated.

April 7-15: Songkran (Thai).

April 8: Japan flower festival, or Hanamatsuri.

April 13: New Year (Laos).

No fixed date in April: Memorial of the dead, Ghost Festival (China)

No fixed date in April: Founder’s Day, celebrates first kings and founders of Vietnam.

MAY
First full moon, no fixed date: birthday of Buddha, Buddha Purnima (India, China). (Note: April 8 is considered the birth date of Buddha by the Buddhist Churches of America, a mainly Japanese American group.)

JUNE
Week of June 12: Filipino Week (Philippines).

June 12: Independence Day (Philippines).

JULY
July 4: Filipino American Friendship Day (Philippines).

AUGUST
Aug. 14: Independence Day (Pakistan).

Aug. 15: Independence Day (Korea).

Aug. 15: Independence Day (India).

Aug. 17: Independence Day (Indonesia).

No fixed date in August: Mid-autumn festival or August Moon Festival (China).

No fixed date in August: Nisei Week, celebration by Japanese Americans.

No fixed date, but last weekend in August: Ancestor’s Day (Cambodia).

SEPTEMBER
No fixed date, mid-September at full moon: Korean day of Thanksgiving, Chooseok, or sometimes Chusuk.

No fixed date in September: Children’s mid-autumn festival (Vietnam).

No fixed date, held in autumn: Dragon boat race (China).

OCTOBER
Oct. 2: Gandhi’s birthday (India).

Oct. 10: Founding of Taiwanese Republic in 1911

No fixed date: celebration of the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravana in a holiday known as Dusshera; Navratri (nine nights) celebrated for nine days before (India).

NOVEMBER
Date varies, typically 20 days after Dusshera: Five-day-long festival of lights known as Diwali; in the business community, often marks the fiscal new year (India)

Nov. 22-23: Buddhist New Year (Thailand)

DECEMBER
Date varies: Winter solstice festival: Pongal (India).

No fixed date: Ramadan, Islamic month of fasting (various countries).

NO FIXED DATES

  • Hairaya (Indonesia): Muslim holiday
  • Woman’s Day (Vietnam): In spring