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Kataragama is a venerated religious site which is frequented by many Sri Lankans of all ethnicities. It also happens to be one of the 16 places on the island visited by the Lord Buddha. History The Kataragama deity is believed to have lived in the jungles near the Menik River with his two wives. King Dutugamunu is said to have visited the deity to fulfil a vow he made to him after defeating his rival. He was told to build a shrine on the location where a golden arrow shot by the Kataragama deity landed, hence, the location of the temple as seen today. The Festival The Kataragama festival commences 10 days prior to the full moon which falls on July and ends with a …

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The end of the Ramadan months signals the beginning of a festival called Hai Raya Puasa in Malaysia. With most of the population in the country being Muslims, the festivities are celebrated in on a grand scale. Here are some facts about Hari Raya Puasa. Before the feast Ramadan is said to be the 9th month on the Islamic colander is also one of the holiest months for Muslims. During this period, the devotees avoid eating, drinking and smoking during the day. This act of fasting and abstinence is for one to learn good virtues like patience, humility and spirituality while surrendering oneself to Allah. The period of fasting begins at dawn and ends at 4 pm. Prayer time During this one month of fasting, …

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The Byron Bay Bluesfest is considered one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year from all over the world. Inception The Byron Bay Bluesfest was founded by Kevin Oxford in 1990 and started off with a notable but fairly humble crowd of six thousand attendees. Enter Peter Noble Peter Noble took ownership and control of the festival in 1994, and immediately worked his magic into building up the scale of the event. He received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to music, tourism and the community. Audience All of the recent Bluesfests have attracted annual audiences of over 101,000 people from all over the world. The attendees also have a wide …

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Celebrated during the auspicious month of April, the New Year Festival is a very important national holiday for both Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka. Who celebrates it The solor festival is celebrated by both the Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindu Communities. What it’s About Unlike western celebration where the New Year is celebrated at midnight on 31st of December, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is determined by astrological signs and is celebrated when the sun moves from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries. Traditional Customs and Rituals The rituals and customs followed by the Sinhala Buddhist community are similar to those observed by the Tamil Hindus. A variety of rituals such lighting the fire in the hearth, preparing …

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Thailand is renowned for its culture, and there’s so much to experience where that is concerned. One of the best, and most famous, festivals that happen in Thailand is Songkran. What is Songkran? Songkran is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word, Sankranti, and is a reference to the traditional New Year that is celebrated in South Asian countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. So it’s an International Thing? The traditional New Year is celebrated in many ways throughout the world, in nations such as Sri Lanka, for example, it’s the ‘Sinhalese New Year’, in Myanmar it’s called ‘Thingyan’. Only Laos and Thailand refer to the occasion as Songkran. Songkran in Thailand Since Songkran is associated with purification and washing away of bad luck and …

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Thailand’s Songkran celebrations have become famous throughout the world, especially since the nation breaks into a massive water fight with people of all ages taking part in the festivities. Songkran This is the name for the traditional New Year that is celebrated in many countries across South Asia, which includes Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Cambodia. The Festivities Songkran is associated with purity and the washing away of past misdeeds, which is where the water aspect comes in. Many would visit temples, pour water on Buddhist statues, as well as loved ones are common practices. The Water Fights The ‘water festival’ is mostly celebrated by young people, and entire streets tend to get closed off to cater to this massive celebration that has become world-renowned, …

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