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A TIME FOR CELEBRATION

There’s a lot happening around the world to cheer about so have fun and let your inner spirits soar!

Words by Monita Pesumal

CHINESE NEW YEAR – FRIDAY 16 FEBRUARY

The popular Chinese greeting ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ has nothing to do with a fat Chinese man. Rather and simply translat-ed, ‘congratulations and be prosperous’ is what it means. The greeting is conveyed during the Spring Festival (or Chinese New Year), which falls sometime between 21 January and 20 February – the date is determined according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Interestingly, every Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new animal’s zodiac year – an age-old custom where each year is named after one of 12 animals in the zodiac cycle. For example, this is the ‘Year of the Dog.’

The festival is celebrated in countries with large Chinese populations including China (and Hong Kong), Cambodia, Indonesia, Macau, Malay—–sia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Koreas, Vietnam and the Philippines. Traditions include buying and wearing new clothes, exchanging red lai see (lucky money) envelopes, cleaning the home, consuming sweet dumplings, and offering tangerines and mandarins to the gods. More importantly, it is an occasion for making amends, reconciling with people, and spending time with family and friends.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – THURSDAY 8 MARCH

Held annually since 1911, the purpose of this event is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Across the world, women are recognised for their achievements without prejudice based on national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political grounds. The concept of International Women’s Day was born out of a movement for women’s rights, which first emerged in 1909. Last year, the event was marked by conferences, gatherings, rallies, exhibitions, festivals and the like – it involved the participation of women from all walks of life, from Indonesia to Iceland. The campaign theme this year is #PressforProgress

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY – SATURDAY 17 MARCH

This event is held to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But what traditionally began as a religious feast in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe, which celebrate Irish culture with countless parades, special food, music and dancing. On this national holiday, people wear green from head to toe, eat corned beef and cabbage, and dance the merry jig – and of course, they drink large quantities of beer and ale. Many important monuments in Ireland and around the world are also illuminated in green to celebrate the festival.

SXSW® MUSIC, FILM AND INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE AND FESTIVAL – FRIDAY 9 TO SUNDAY 18 MARCH

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) festival celebrates the convergence of the multimedia, film and music industries. Every year, the festival hosts a curated mix of artistes performing in bars, clubs, parks, churches, hotels and other places in Austin, Texas. Held since its formation in 1987, the festival featured 2,085 artistes, 320 panels, workshops and sessions on 104 stages and venues last year. Award-winning journalist Christiane Amanpour and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will be among the keynote speakers at this year’s event. The festival labels itself as a platform for learning, networking and discovery.

ZILKER PARK KITE FESTIVAL – SUNDAY 4 MARCH

Also held in Austin, this event includes kite flying contests and demonstrations, children’s games and kite making. It’s free to attend and over 20,000 locals generally enjoy the activities. The festival is open to those who want to show off their kite flying skills and it runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. So a colourful experience enlivened by plenty of food trucks, music, art and craft stalls, henna tattoo booths, face painting and of course, candy floss awaits you! Since the festival didn’t take place in 2017, this year’s celebrations promise to be high flying (pun intended).

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