No matter which culture you belong to or which place you adhere to, when it comes to celebrating and enjoying festivals in any country or city around the globe, everyone has a common interest and desire to enjoy and celebrate the way locals do. A visit to a place during festival season opens you to new discoveries which are so enriching and engaging that you feel the real pleasure and enlightenment of travel.
Here are some of must-visit festivals around the globe:
Carnival (Rio De Janeiro), Brazil
This is an annual festival held in Brazil with full of vibrant colours, lively music, and endless spectacles for a weeklong celebration. Favelas residents are often members of local samba schools and participate extensively in group performances. With over 2 million revellers per day, Carnival is a euphoric cacophony of beautiful people, costumes, samba, and more feathers than you can count. A wholesome combination of nonstop party and fun.
Duration: This festival happens in Rio Carnival in the month of March and continues for 5 days
Holi Festival (The Festival of Colours), India
If you are in India, you can’t just miss the festival of colours “Holi” It’s a symbolic celebration of the victory of good over evil and by extension, the end of winter and beginning of spring. Followed by burning of Holika (Destruction of evil), Holi begins with singing, dancing, eating etc. People fill water balloons and water guns, drench each other, then cover each other in powder in an array of dazzling colours. Don’t forget to bring your own colour!!
Duration: Last full moon day of the lunar month, which is usually in March month
La Tomatina – Spain
This crazy festival is held every year purely for fun. La Tomatina has grown into a huge tourism draw in the decades since. As per the story this all was started when some local boys joined a parade alongside musicians, The unruly boys knocked one of the performers off his stilts, he became enraged and started lashing out, and a vendor’s vegetable stand fell victim to the mayhem until the police arrived to break it up. The festival was banned for much of the 1950s, but in 1957 locals protested with a mock funeral, carrying a coffin with a giant tomato inside as bands played a funeral march and rest is history since then.
Duration: Last Wednesday in August
Harbin Snow & Ice Festival – China
It is an annual winter festival which is conducted in Harbin with a theme. This is famous for gigantic illuminated sculptures and carvings. There are two main exhibition areas: Sun Island is a recreation area along the Songua River where this festival is usually conducted. The festival is made up of several themed zones. The main attraction is the Harbin Ice and Snow World, which covers more than 750,000 square meters and features up to 180,000 cubic meters of ice. Sculptors come from all over the world to compete in the annual festival.
Duration: This festival generally starts from Jan 5
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque
World’s largest gathering of hot air balloon in the world takes place in Albuquerque annually. Spectators and balloon pilots from all over the world gather (some even camping in their caravans) to watch the mass ascensions held in the mornings, and night events like the ‘glowdeo’. Music stages are set up during the day and performers stroll through the festival crowds, which can number 750,000 people. Imagine over 500 colourful hot air balloons rising up at dawn over the New Mexico landscape… there’s truly nothing like it.
Duration: Every year in October month
Running of the Bull, Pamplona, Spain
If you wanted to experience adrenalin rush then you must visit Spain, during Bull running festival. It is much more dangerously exciting bull run for both participants and for viewers as well. Running of the Bulls trip includes massive campsite parties, your stay in pre-erected twin share tents with mattress and sleeping bag, hot and hearty breakfast each morning, delicious dinner each evening, huge open-minded international crowd, All efforts are made to make your running with the bulls extra special and one hell of an unforgettable experience.
Duration: Every year July 6 to 14
Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
The name Songkran comes from Sanskrit word meaning “passing” or “approaching”. Back up your Super Soakers, water balloons, and water bottles and head to Thailand for a wet and wild adventure. This isn’t your typical backyard water fight: this is urban warfare where the biggest water gun wins. This is really rich celebration of Thai tradition. It also means that Thai new year starts on from 13th April to 15th April. It is hugely important festival to the Thai people but it’s also very popular with visitors and many tourists specifically arrange their holidays around this unique event.
Duration: 13th April to 15th April every year
Kumbh Mela, India
Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred Pitcher) is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. Devotees believe that by bathing in the Ganges one is freed from sins liberating her/him from the cycle of birth and death. Millions of people reach the place without any invitation. The congregation includes ascetics, saints, sadhus, aspirants- kalpavasis and visitors. The festival is held at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender.
Duration: Once in a 4 Years
Carnival of Venice, Italy
This is an annual festival held in Italy, where thousands of tourists each year who arrive in Venice to admire the sumptuous costumes and masks parading in the streets and squares. Creating masks is, indeed, an art in Venice, a tradition dating back hundreds of years, making the carnival of Venice truly unique. During the Lagoon’s two-week Carnival celebration, all can watch and take part in the numerous events and displays filling the piazzas and main waterways of the city. The carnival became a public festivity in 1296, with an act of the Senate of the Republic of Venice, but its origins are even older. It is one of most important event in Veneto, fully express its spirit dedicated to playing & breaking down social barriers.
Duration: Beginning two Saturday before Ash Wednesday