Rich with tradition and diverse as each country itself, East Asia is filled with some fantastic cultural festivals. At Loi Krathong and Yi Peng in Chiang Mai, Thailand, thousands of lanterns and small floating vessels are released into the night sky and dark waters. The soft glow creates a beautiful moment for attendees, who have taken part in this ritual celebration to let go of the past in the hope of a new beginning. Chinese New Year is perhaps the most popular and widely celebrated in not only East Asia but within East Asian communities across the world. As a custom, children receive money in lucky red envelopes when they wish their elders well and a happy new year. To bring in good luck and prosperity in the new year, households undergo a spring cleaning to usher out the old and welcome the new. Feasts are had with families and parades filled with dragon dances and fireworks spill out onto the streets of Hong Kong. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival in Thailand is a nine-day religious celebration. Although the consensual mutilation involved seems horribly gruesome to the outside spectator, they are a deeply religious aspect to the ceremonies and rituals performed in honor of the Nine Emperor Gods. A vegetarian diet is also kept as a display of piety and devotion. For something a little bit more palatable, try checking out some East Asian food festivals for some delectable bites. They’ve got some awesome film festivals too!