In this world built on diversity, culture remains to be most mystical and one that unites us. Weird to hear that when each place has different language, religion, attire, and cuisine, but in the end boxes are same no matter what you fill them with. Speaking of which, Culture is incomplete without festivals. Starting to sound Exciting? New place, new people, new rituals, new reasons, and more colors, that sum up to make your days wonderful. Here we have handpicked top 10 festivals from all around the world that you must add in your travel bucket list. What is better than to immerse in the spirit of Celebration.
1 – Burning Man
Where madness meets festivity.. The journey dates back to 1986 when it all got started by a local artist Larry Harvey, by burning a wooden effigy in Black Rock deserts of Northern Neveda.
The Festival starts from last week of August to First Week of September. It is held every year.
Burning man is driven by the ethos of Radical Self Expression, Radical Self Reliance, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Radical Inclusion and Gifting. Creativity, arts and music is at their peaks during the festival.
During the event participants create a temporary town of Black Rock City, party as it was last day of their life, and then burn the town to ground.
2 – Carnival
Where dance becomes the way of life.. The first ever Rio carnival dates back to 1723.
It is celebrated to honor gods and respect the great waters. It falls in February or early march. It lasts for five days. The Parade of Samba Schools last only two days usually 3rd and 4th days of Carnival. It happens in the season of Lent 40 days before Easter. It marks the end of merciless hot summers of Brazil.
Carnival witnesses over 2 million people on streets per day. The world famous Samba dancers from more than 200 samba schools across Rio de Janeiro that hail from local neighborhoods exhibiting common cultural traits, participate in the parade to win prizes and national fame.
The parades take place in an exclusive avenue built for Carnival Sambadrome, and parties are held at Copacabana palace. Carnival is arguably the largest festival across the world with over 5 million attendees. It truly celebrates dance, music, and colorful costumes.
3 – La Tomatina
When there is more to tomatoes than just cooking. First ever edition of La Tomatina dates back to 1945.It started during a fight in Giants and Big Heads figure parade where young boys pelted each other with tomatoes from a local vegetable vendor. Then history followed with pre planned fights with tomatoes.
It is celebrated on last Wednesday of August in the Valencian town of Bunol in the East of Spain.
It is worlds biggest food fight, where participants indulge in throwing tomatoes to each other for fun. This festival does gets dirty, but has all the fun.
Rules are simple, don’t throw hard objects, and squash tomatoes before throwing. Trucks will come in towing tons of tomatoes (estimated 145000 kg of tomatoes were thrown in 2015), and there will jolts of water splashes to wash the dirt.
Bringing goggles is highly recommended and you are really going to enjoy the craziness. Plus there is also a kids version of La Tomatina.
4 – Mardi Gras
The carnival of USA, also popularly known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday..
The first Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans dates back to 1837.
The festival is based on slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, and which means “Let the good times roll”. It is celebrated on a Day before Ash Wednesday, and 47 days before Easter, but festivities last for months.
The festival is distinguished with usage of costumes and masks. People dress up like fairies, animals, mythical creatures or wear medieval costumes. Festival gets the party mode on of locals, and as a visitor you will get to know about the culture of New Orleans.
The festival also has official colors of purple, green, and gold that represent Justice, faith and Power. The balls in the festival are a must attend and what it is also famous for.
5 – DIA DE LOS MUERTOS (Day of the Dead)
A day celebrated for the dead. Are you James Bond fan? Then you must have seen this festival on screen as opening scene of Spectre.
The origins of this festival dates back to 3000 years. It is celebrated annually over three days, on 31st October, 1st November, and 2nd November. It is observed as a national holiday in Mexico.
Mexicans dedicate this day to remember ones that are dead of their family. On this day they clean family graves, decorate them with flowers and candles. They indulge in picnics, and participate in parades. On day of the dead, locals build private altars in their homes called ofrendas. Its top is decorated with photos of the dead, Calaveras (candy skull), food and beverages.
Though remembering the dead is not new, but format of this festival is one of a kind. Alike other top festivals, this too is distinguished by costumes, face painting, and skull masks. But in no way it is similar to Halloween.
6 – Holi
The original festival of color.. Holi is celebrated across Indian sub-continent and in foreign lands by Indian Hindu community. It is Hindu Festival that is being celebrated over centuries. It falls between end of February and middle of March.
It has a religious significance of victory of good over evil in Hindu Mythology. It also marks the end of winters and beginning of spring.
The first evening of Holi starts with a HolikaDahan bonfire which symbolizes cleansing of soul. The second entire day is immersed in a playful game of throwing water and dry colors on each other. It is accompanied by loud local music, dance, water cannons, and water balloons.
Locals distinguish this festival with preparation of exclusive cuisines for the day. On evenings people visit their friends and family for Holi Milan with a gesture of hug.
Though Holi is celebrated across India, but best place to celebrate the festival is Vrindavan and Mathura. Here locals compliment the festival with sticks and shields, following traditions related to Lord Krishna.
7 – Oktoberfest
The beer only festival..The first edition of Oktoberfest dates back to 1811 when it originated from the wedding celebrations of Bavarian King.
The festival symbolizes world famous German beers and German traditions. The festival is held in Munich, Bavaria, running between the end of September and first week of October, for 16 days.
The popularity of festival draws close to 6 million visitors each year. Every year here drinking becomes fun. It is distinguished by large steins of beers, pretzels, cafes, fun rides and tents. Only in 2013, 7.7 million liters of beer were served.
The breweries that produce beer for Oktoberfest are Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu, StaatlichesHofbräu-München. They all are in the city limits of Munich.
The official venue for Oktoberfest is Theresienwiese which is a 42 hectare ground. Every year visitors loose hold of their belongings on the ground, to tackle this the organizers have a Lost & Found counter, but they can’t help if you let loose yourself.
8 – Harbin Ice Festival
Where sand is out of castles..The first ever Harbin Ice and Snow festival dates back to 1963, originating from Harbin traditional Ice latern show and garden party.
It is celebrated in the Harbin City of North East China that receives winter winds blowing all the way from Siberia. Temperatures during the festival often fall below zero.
The festival officially starts on 5th January and lasts for one month.
The participants in the festival make amazing sculptures out of snow and same are exhibited.
Ice to construct is taken from the frozen surface of Songhua River and is ornated with lights and lasers. The official venue for the festival is Zhaolin Park. The sculptures, mythical creatures, monuments look beautiful at night and so mesmerizing. If you visit Harbin for festival, you can also immerse yourself in skiing.
9 – Running of the Bulls
A day to unleash the rage..Running of the Bulls is a part of San Fermin festival celebrated in the city of Pamplona, Navarre, Spain. The festival dates back to as early as 13th century.
San Fermin is a week-long celebration that starts on 6th of July and ends on 14th July. The festival is observed in remembrance of Saint Fermin. Over Million people attend this annual festival.
Running of the bulls involve hundreds of people running ahead of six bulls, where another six steer down at a distance. It lasts for three minutes, and bulls are held till the bull fight. Different encaste of bulls appear each day. The run starts with a sound of firecracker released. Participants run hymning chants to ask protection by the saint.
The run is truly a great adrenalin experience. You can also get hurt, but mostly due to falling and leading to minor injuries. But this one is worth the run.
10 – Boryeong Mud Festival
For the mud-tastic time..A cosmetic company from Korea has a line that consisted mud from Boryeong. To market it they inaugurated this mud festival in 1998 to acquaint people with benefits of local mud.
The annual festival takes place every summer in Buryeong a town 200 km south of Seoul. It runs for two weeks. The final weekend of the festival is usually the second weekend of July. The venue for the festival is seafront area of Daecheon.
The festival involves participants to play with and in mud, till you are all smudged with it. The number of visitors by 2007 was over 2 Million to this festival. Over the years festival is gaining popularity and more people flock in to enjoy.
Popular attractions of the festival are mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. Music is a key ingredient to the celebrations.