‘Festival’ means celebration anywhere in the world. It is a colourful moment, a time for rejoicing, sharing and loving. A significant event showcasing unique traditions and customs as it reminds us of some special events that happened in the past and helps us to cherish or remember them.
As a festival draws nearer the whole aura changes, becoming a surrounding full of excitement.This colourful occasion of feasting or celebration has gathered over millions of people around the world at a particular place.
1. New Year’s Eve – Sydney Harbor, Australia
The world-famous Sydney New Year’s Eve is an annual event, held at Sydney Harbour Bridge, with a dazzling fireworks display at 9pm and midnight.
It is one of the best places in the world to see the New Year fireworks display. A magical night in Sydney that is guaranteed to leave visitors and locals enchanted!
2. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival – Scotland
Europe’s largest Viking fire festival takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January, in the town of Lerwick. Thousands of visitors from across the world travel to this northernmost corner of Scotland to join in this Scandinavian Vikings’ style celebrations of the end of winter and the return of the sun.
It is a day that involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley. An enthralling festival indeed!
3. Chinese New Year
Also known as the “Spring Festival”, is the most important and longest of all Chinese festivals, the biggest holiday, with dragons, fireworks, symbolic clothing, flowers and lanterns.
Normally, the celebration will start on the New Year’s Eve and will last for around 15 days until the middle of the first month. It is an interesting festival that is worth being part of.
4. Battle of the Oranges – Ivrea, Italy
The Battle of the Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organised groups.
It is the largest food fight in Italy. If you love getting messy with food then take a flight to Italy!
5. Holi – India
Holi is one of the vibrant festivals of India, celebrated in March. It involves covering everyone in coloured powder and water.
The festival marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season. It’s lots of fun!
6.Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Southern Africa’s biggest jazz festival is held annually on the 31st of March in Cape Town, South Africa. Jazz legends from all over the world perform for just two days at the convention centre.
It is recognised as the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and the largest jazz festival on the African continent. More than 30,000 people have attended past festivals, so advance ticket purchase is absolutely necessary.
7. The Rio de Janeiro carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Rio Carnival is not only the biggest Carnival, it is also a benchmark against which every other carnival is compared and one of the most interesting artistic events on the globe. A festival held before Lent every year and considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets.
Samba, a popular music originated in Brazil is played during the festival. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723.
Have the experience of a lifetime by visiting Carnival in Rio de Janeiro to see and experience it all yourself!
8.Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
The Thai New year is a lot of fun and biggest celebrated festival in Thailand. It is held on the 13th-15th April every year and falls during the hottest days in Thailand, with the temperature above 35 degrees Celsius. People celebrate this festival by throwing water on each other, using water guns, buckets, hoses- whatever they can get their hands on.
Elephants can also be seen walking around and splashing of water jets at people! For a truly unforgettable experience jam packed with fun, be sure to attend the Songkran Water Festival.
9. Lagos Carnival
The Lagos carnival also known as the Fanti or Caretta Carnival of Lagos is the most prominent in West Africa. The carnival is usually held annually in Lagos during the month of May during the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, a colourful folk festival.
It so colourful like the Calabar Carnival but slightly different, Lagos Carnival is one of the most vibrant fiestas in Nigeria. You can feel the excitement in the air even before the carnival kicks off yearly. The event is usually centred on Lagos Island, filled with troop displays of beautiful costumes and various forms of entertainment including music and dancing. The carnival portrays an eclectic mixture of Nigerian, Brazilian and Cuban heritage of the city. Fun Filled indeed!
10. White Nights Festival – St. Petersburg, Russia
If you are a lover of music then you should attend the White Festival, a music and arts festival in St Petersburg, Russia. The festival is held in July with annual estimated attendance of about 1 million people.
Celebrated over a few weeks during the season of the Midnight Sun, the festival focuses on all types of music from jazz and brass to classical and pop, showcasing spectacular fireworks display, Russian dancers, singers, concerts, as well as famous international guest stars and a mock pirate battle along the Neva River
11. Boryeong Mud Festival – South Korea
The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival which takes place in July, during the summer in Boryeong – a town in the south of Seoul, South Korea. The Boryeong mud festival was born by a South Korean cosmetic company so potential customers could feel the benefits of the special mud first hand.
Apart from mudslides, mud prison, mud pools and mud skiing, there is also live music, acupuncture and the fireworks display. It is a fun-filled festival with loads of entertainment.
12. Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy
No place does it like Venice! From the colourful masks to the masquerade balls, it’s seeing the city at its most festive and colourful moments.
Everybody was free to do things desired all year without any guilt thanks to the masks. During the carnival, Venice comes alive with masked Venetians and tourists. Bands, jugglers and entertainers are everywhere and the canals are full of colourful boats. It is one of the most beautiful festivals in the world.
13. Marrakech Popular Arts Festival, Morocco
The Marrakech Popular Arts Festival is one of the most popular attractions in Morocco, as it combines modern entertainment with ancient folk dances, traditional Berber musicians and the enchantment of belly dancers. It brings all the corners of Morocco together in one event, with the cultures of all the various regions melting together to create a visual and sensory extravaganza of sound, colour and rhythm.
Since 2000 the festival has attracted many artists and entertainers from Europe and Asia. The main events take place in the ruins of the 16 century Badi Palace and the Djemma el Fna (main town square). Not to be missed, outside the city walls at night, is the Fantasia. A horse-riding spectacle that includes hundreds of charging horsemen (and women) wearing traditional clothing. It is one of the most wonderful events that is worth visiting.
14. La Tomatina – Spain
The La Tomatina Spain started in 1945, This is one of the festivals you absolutely cannot miss.
The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11 am and 1 pm on that day. It takes place every last Wednesday of August, with a lot of dance, slides and tomatoes.
15. Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – Mexico
Day of the Dead (known as Día de Los Muertos in Spanish) is celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honour their deceased loved ones.
It’s not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colourful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. The streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations of Papel Picado , flowers, candy Calaveras (skeletons and skulls), and parades.
16. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – New Mexico, USA
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA during early October.
The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world with over 500 balloons taking flight. Once they are in the sky, it is always colourful and a breathtaking sight to look!
17. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
It is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair) held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16 to 18-day long folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.
The event is all about beer, beer and only beer. Imagine being surrounded by those traditional huge glasses of beer and serving them are the beautiful and sensational waitresses. Visitors also enjoy numerous attractions, such as amusement rides, side stalls and games. It’s a party well endowed.
18. Burning man- Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA
Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It is a hedonistic desert party that takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. People who have gone to Burning Man gatherings claim you need to attend to truly understand.
19. Calabar Festival
No festival can ever beat this Calabar Festival when it comes to amazing performances. This is the celebration of creativity and culture, that blends with both the traditional and modern lifestyle of the people of Cross River State.
The long feathered headdresses, the colourful costumes, the mesmerising dancers and dance steps, the street parades and the bands attract thousands of people to it. It is tagged as “Africa Biggest Street Party”
I don’t know about you but I am off to crash all these festival in my bucket list!