15 Festivals of the World You’ve Gotta See

    15 Festivals of the World You’ve Gotta See
    “carnival-457697_1280” By Steph684 – CC0 Public Domain

    All over the world people celebrate for the coolest and craziest things with the coolest and craziest events! We are a world full of partiers!

    1. Snow & Ice Festival

    “Harbin Ice and Snow World 2010” By Dayou_X – CC BY-SA 2.0

    Where: Harbin, China

    When: Jan. 5 – Feb. 5

    What: This is the world’s largest ice and snow festival, with sculptures 20+ feet high, full-sized buildings, and anything these imaginations can think up, including decorations of colored lights and lasers.

    2. Holi

    “Holi celebration in Mathura, India” By Jitenderasingh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

    Where: Hindu countries (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc), more jubilant ones in the North of India, more solemn ones in the South

    When: Full moon of the 12th month in the Hindu calendar (usually late February, early March)

    What: Also known as the “Festival of Colors,” this event celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring and one does so by invading the streets with Bhang Lassi, not alcohol but has the same effects, and powdered colors. This is an insane party and a great place to go with friends, though one should always be wary of intoxicated participants in the packed streets.

    3. Cascamorras

    Where: Baza, Spain and Guadix

    When: Sept. 6 and Sept. 9

    What: Due to a strange legend it’s based off, thousands of people run through the streets, covering and getting covered in black grease to reenact the stealing of the “Virgen de la Piedad” statue 500 years ago.

    4. Carnevale


    Where: Venice, Italy

    When: the 18 days before Ash Wednesday, ending the Tuesday before

    What: This is a 13th century festival of masks and intrigue, everyone dressing in elaborate, colorful, and old-world costumes while attending balls and events that vary with every year.

    5. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival

    “Up Helly Aa 2011” By Vicki Brock – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0

    Where: Lerwick, Scotland

    When: Last Tuesday in January

    What: The world’s largest fire festival to mark the end of Yule with marches, visitations and a procession that leads up to the burning of a galley (Viking Ship) by the Guizer Jarl who is supported by his squad and 45 other squads.

    6. Mardi Gras

    “Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, Louisiana (LOC)” By the Library of Congress – Public Domain

    Where: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

    When: Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (same day as Carnevale ends)

    What: This is a crazy party on the streets of the USA’s most eccentric city, New Orleans, that consists of parades, music, everyone dressed in purple, green, and gold, thrown strings of beads and consumed street food. The French Quarter is known for its incredible, classic atmosphere, but spring-breakers enjoying their alcohol tend to gather here and on Bourbon Street after the parades. Please note that this is not the “traditional” Mardi Gras, and girls do not have to flash anyone.

    7. Oktoberfest

    “München, Schützen-Festzelt, Oktoberfest 2012” By Bayreuth2009 – Own work, CC BY 3.0

    Where: Munich, Germany

    When: Last week in Sept. to the first weekend in October

    What: This is the biggest beer festival in the world with an average 6 million people attending and $96 million in beer is served each day by girls dress in the traditional clothing.

    8. Carnaval

    “Carnaval 2014 – Rio de Janeiro” By Nicholas de Camaret – Own work, CC BY 2.0

    Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    When: 4 days in March or February or both

    What: This is a crazy party with massive floats, samba music, dancers, boldly colored costumes, balls and events around the city. This is the next-level version of Mardi Gras.

    9. Coachella

    “Bassnectar’s traditional “family photo” taken at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2013.” By Drew Ressler – http://www.bassnectar.net/family-photos/, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Where: Indio, California

    When: in April, exact dates vary

    What: This is a huge Music and Art festival, with a ridiculous number of performers over two weekends. Be aware, though, they have pretty strict rules about what you’re allowed to bring inside the gates. Good for all ages.

    10. Dia de los Muertos

    “Dia de los Muertos” By Jenny Huey, Own work, CC BY 2.0

    Where: Mexican locales in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico, though the biggest is in Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Nov. 1

    What: Also known as the “Day of the Dead,” Mexicans come together to celebrate All Saints day, to remember their dead, with wild skeleton masks and elaborate black, red and white costumes. Events depend on the location, but there will probably be food!

    11. Running of the Bulls

    “Encierro del10 de julio” By Asier Solana Bermejo – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

    Where: Pamplona, Spain

    When: July 6-14, part of the Fermin Festival

    What: This is a Spanish tradition for people to run through the sectioned-off streets ahead of a dozen or so bulls, quite eager not to be gored. Usually there are 200-300 people injured during this event, though most are concussions due to falling or running into someone/thing.

    12. Burning Man

    “Burning Man 2009” By Mindaugas Danys – CC BY 2.0

    Where: Black Rock City, Nevada

    When: End of August, beginning of September

    What: This is where people go to “shed the conventions of society” by creating radical individualistic art, exploring the desert, and watching the “Man” burn!

    13. Lantern Festival

    “Floating Lanterns – Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand..” By Kashif Pathan – CC BY-SA 2.0

    Where: Pingxi, Taiwan

    When: Usually a day in late February, early March

    What: Think Tangled style. We all want to see the floating lights! Thousands of lanterns floating over the city into the night sky…This is a sight we all ought to see at least once a lifetime!

    14. Chinese New Year

    “China-Shanghai-YuGarden-the Lantern Festival-2012 1834” By North sea deamer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Where: Anywhere there is a Chinese community but largely in China

    When: Last day of the last month on the Chinese calendar to the 15th day of the first month (end of January, through February)

    What: To celebrate the new year and the coming spring, the Chinese celebrate with dragons, parades, fireworks, traditional clothing, flowers, lanterns, and an overall color of red. What a beautiful time of year!

    15. White Nights Festival

    “Firework on Scarlet Sails, 2007.” By Marina Lystseva – http://album.foto.ru/photo/138312/#photo, GFDL 1.2

    Where: St. Petersburg, Russia

    When: end of May to end of July

    What: This three month festival is a long series of opera, ballet, and symphonic performances and premiers with big-name casts, performers, and composers turning out each year. The festival ends with the Scarlet Sails celebration on the shortest night of the year with an crimson-sailed ship surrounded by epic pyrotechnics.

    So there’s a small peek at the world’s festivals you should definitely add to your bucket list. This isn’t a task one does in a single year, though, what with most of the events falling on those spring months. I hope you check some – or all! – of them out.


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