No matter where you go across the globe, festivals celebrated around the world bring with themselves joy, warmth, love, friendship, thrill, and all things fun. Festivals are an extremely fun way to have a great time and engaging yourself with the local traditions and festivities in a tangible way. There’s nothing more incredible then experiencing the culture of a foreign place uniquely and differently.
There are hundreds of festivals celebrated across the world in a single day. Whether it is art and culture, food, beer or wine, singing and dancing, religious festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. There are innumerable different festivals celebrated around the world each year that you can choose from.
Here’s a crafted list of some of the best festivals celebrated across the world that one must experience at least once in their lifetime.
1. Rio de Janeiro Carnival
No one does a carnival better than Rio de Janeiro, which is arguably the world’s biggest carnival. It isn’t in vain that Rio de Janeiro has earned the title of the carnival capital of the world with the famous festival that includes pulsating music, samba dancing, colourful eye-catching costumes, lavish float displays, and electrifying energy. The festival takes place in late February or early March.
The world-famous festival involves a rowdy and loud 2-night extravaganza at Sambadore, wherein the top 12 samba schools compete in a parade for a grand prize. The carnival parade follows an annual theme but is just as colourful and wild every year.
2. La Tomatina
To put it in simple terms, this festival is the biggest food fight in the world that takes place on the last Wednesday of August, in the Spanish town in Valencia (Buñol). The origin story of La Tomatina has many variations that range from harmless pranks among children to attacks on a musician to townspeople expressing their anger and disappointment with city councilmen.
La Tomatina attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe to take part in the festival. This quirky and fun battle starts with the firing of water cannons after which chaos ensues with tons of ripe tomatoes being squashed and flung all over.
3. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The festival has been held for more than four decades in the first or second week of October, taking place in Albuquerque. It involves a magical picture of hundreds of colourful hot air Balloons guiding through the crisp autumn air. The festival is the largest ballooning event in the world with more than 600 vibrantly coloured balloons being launched annually. It happens to be one of the earth most picturesque happenings.
Popularly known as the festival of colours, Holi is arguably one of the biggest religious festivals around the world, which culturally involves a celebration of good winning over evil. The festival is celebrated between the end of February and the middle of March in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The festivities include smearing richly coloured powder, known as gulaal, throwing coloured water at each other, and eating delicacies and sweets.
5. Yi Peng
Yi Peng or the festival of lanterns is celebrated all over Thailand but no one does it like Chiang Mai that holds the largest festivities their cultural shows and fireworks. The festival is celebrated annually in the second lunar month of the year which typically falls in mid-November and includes a parade, live music, dance shows, handicraft sessions, and releasing lanterns into the night sky.
The natives decorate their homes and public places with colourful hanging lanterns and flag decorations. The local belief behind releasing the lanterns into the night sky is the symbolism of letting go of past misfortune and starting from scratch.
Head over to Thailand during Yi Peng to live out your Tangled fantasy and watch the sky be ever so beautifully decorated with lanterns.
6. St. Patrick’s Day
The festival celebrated on March 17th each year, culturally marks the death anniversary of Ireland’s patron saint. Saint Patrick. The day also celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and the festivities of the day include an array of parades, fireworks and general revelry. Traditionally, people enjoy singing and dancing, watching musical street theatre shows, wearing and decorating their houses and public places in all things green, and eating and drinking. It is a full packed celebration of the Irish heritage and culture.
7. King’s day
This festival is celebrated on the 27th of April every year in Amsterdam, on account of King’s birthday (Willem-Alexander of the House of Orange). On this day, the entire city turns a bright shade of orange and the city centre is not jam-packed with the car, tram or bikes. King’s day celebration has a very contagious festive atmosphere with almost the entire population out on foot and markets selling all the pretty things, except alcohol. It is also followed by an enormous boat parade party on the canals.
8. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
The Harbin Ice and snow festival is the largest festival of its kind in the world that takes place in Harbin, China, between January and February. Like the name already suggests, it is an annual thematic winter festival that is incredibly renowned for its exquisite ice and snow sculptures. Harbin is also nicknamed as the ice city due to the natural abundance of ice and snow in the city allowed by its north-eastern location in China and provides a beautiful wintry world of ice and snow to its visitor every year.
9. Krampus Run
This Christmas meets Halloween nightmarish take on a festival is celebrated in Austria From late November until Christmas. In Alpine folklore, Krampus is depicted as the horned Christmas devil that punishes and kidnaps children who have been naughty throughout the year. In the antithesis of Saint Nick, Krampus appears to be a half-goat half-demon and has varying tales of his cruelty. During this scary festival, realistic costumes are crafted for Krampus so that he can go knocking door to door and walk down the street to punish or scare the naughty kids. If you are a lover of all things scary, you must visit some Alpine towns during this festival for it is not a celebration for the faint heart.
10. Burning Man
Do not be creeped out by the ominous name of this festival that happens to be one of the most popular events in the US. The festival is celebrated from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday of September in the Black Rock City, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, which is a thriving, full-fledged temporary metropolis established especially for the festival.
The festival focuses on the exploration of various forms of artistic self-expression, cooperation, participation, and de-commodification where the participants are encouraged to generously share their talents through performance art, experimental or interactive sculptures, or any other form of media that also accommodates the festival theme.
All these festivals have a thrill and significance of their own, but the one thing they all have in common is they are extremely fun and thrilling events that you will most definitely enjoy. You can truly experience the culture of a foreign land by participating and enjoying their festivals. Now, go and pack your bags! What are you waiting for?