Timor-Leste has many celebrations commemorating the country’s recent independence as a nation and important religious holidays. Then there are cultural festivals and important sporting events showcasing the warmth and beauty of Timor-Leste. Joining in is a fun way to meet Timorese and to find out more about this country.
(dates vary every year, but are normally around March-April)
As a 90% catholic country Easter is widely celebrated here and these dates are some of the most celebrated National Public Holidays. Expect to see processions, services and religious celebrations for nearly a whole week, including on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The main celebrations on Good Friday normally start with a pilgrimage to some religious site on the top of a hill in each of the Timorese localities, and big family gatherings and events take place these days.
Restoration of Independence Day (20 May)
Timor Leste celebrates its Restoration of Independence Day on 20 May. This day has special importance to the people of Timor Leste because of the long, bloody, decades-long conflict it took to finally achieve independence in 2002. On 20 May 2002, Timor Leste became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century, joining the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.
Proclamation of Independence Day (28 November)
November 28 is proclamation of Independence Day in Timor Leste to remember the country’s freedom from Portuguese rule in 1975. On the eve previous to Independence Day, many attend masses at cathedrals and churches. On the day itself, there is a presidential inspection of the troops at his palace, followed by a flag-raising ceremony. The soldiers who defend the nation are honored, and then follows a party that lasts till about four in the afternoon. At that point, there is a flag-lowering ceremony to end the festivities. The cities (and specially Dili) become busy, with day festivities such as cultural events, sport competitions and culinary events accompanying this festivity.
Timor-Leste Coffee Festival (14-19 October 2019)
This yearly festival and competition take place in Dili every year. It is the first major event held by the recently formed Timor-Leste Coffee Association (Assosiasaun Café Timor, or ACT), that supports the development of the Timorese coffee industry.
In addition to launching a coffee quality competition, the festival includes training for baristas and roasters domestically, cultural celebrations, and training and education to support coffee quality improvements to promote market interest for international exports.
Mt Ramelau pilgrimage (March and 6-7 October, yearly)
The mountain is also known as Tatamailau meaning “grandfather of all” and has cultural and religious significance that bring together pilgrims from all over the country during all year round. In 1997 a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected on top of the mountain and there are two times a year when a bigger pilgrimage takes place to the top, in March and October every year.
From 6 of October afternoon, people start to climb up to the Mt. Ramelau and Mass is hold on the top of the mountain till 7th morning.
Dili International Film Festival ( 2 – 6 October 2019)
The Inaugural Dili International Film Festival (DIFF) will run in 4 venues across Dili over 5 days (02 – 06 October 2019) and host film premieres, feature length and short films, both narrative and documentary, with international and local contributions.
In 2019, Timor-Leste commemorates the 20th anniversary of the referendum for self-rule, a time to look back, and to the future, within and outwards. A film festival is a celebration of storytelling, offering a window to the world, as well as an opportunity for locals to tell their own stories.
Festival Santissimo Corpo Cristo (20 June, yearly)
The festival Santissimo Corpo Cristo Feast of Corpus Christi is a Catholic liturgical solemnity celebrating the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. There is a holy mass. Expect to see processions from church Balide to Moument Nain-Feto Lesidere, Dili.
Saturday Night Market, Dili(every Saturday)
Saturday Night Market is one of Night Entertainment in Dili.
There will be many kinds of Food and Beverage Stall, Craft, Kids games, Retail and Entertainment on stage. Every Saturday from 3pm-9pm at Timor Plaza, Dili. For more information www.timorplaza.com
Check out What’s Happening for events in Timor-Leste