Festivals, the days that bind all religions and cultures from all across the world together. No matter which state or country you’re from, no matter what religion you follow, no matter what age group you belong to, something about celebrating festivals always feels so unique and special. From a wide variety of cultures and art to delicious food and wine, festivals make sure to offer beauty in everything. Here’s a list of the top 10 unmissable and best festivals celebrated all across the world.
Rio Carnival- Ri de Janeiro, Brazil
Known to be the biggest carnival in the world, Rio Carnival is widely considered “the greatest show on Earth.” This festival of Brazil is celebrated for five days straight and the celebrations are held 40 daysbefore Easter, every year. Rio Carnival is celebrated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro drawing the attention of millions of people from all across the globe to celebrate the true culture of Brazil. The true essence of this carnival can be found in everything starting from people wearing feathery costumes to their spectacular display of drums and dance.
Burning Man- Black Rock City, USA
Burning Man’s history goes back to 1986 when two friends named Larry Harvey and Jerry James constructed an 8-foot-tall make-do wooden figure and hauled it to San Francisco’s Baker Beach on the Summer Solstice. They then lit it on fire, successfully managing to gather about 20 people to watch the show. And in this weird way, the festival came into existence. Since then, every year, the Burning Man festival starts on the last Monday of August and ends on the first Monday of September managing to attract more than 50000 people. Participants are given a chance to express themselves by showing off their works of art while including the annual theme at the same time.
Celebrated by Hindus all across Asia, Holi is called the ‘festival of colours. Commencing the festival with the burning of Holika, the festival signifies the victory of good over evil. The history of this festival dates back to Lord Krishna who used to drench his beloved Radha in colours while playing with her. Hence, this festival of colours also symbolises the arrival of Spring, a season of joy. Water guns, water balloons, dry colours etc. are used by people to celebrate the festival.
La Tomatina- Bunol, Spain
La Tomatina is believed to be one of the oldest festivals celebrated in Spain. Also referred to as the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’, La Tomatina dates back to the year 1945 and continues to be celebrated each year on the last Wednesday of August. The festival is celebrated by throwing tomatoes at each other and getting into a tomato fight for purely fun purposes. Every year one hundred metric tons of tomatoes are used to celebrate the festival. People wear goggles to protect their eyes and the city council makes sure that people only use squashed tomatoes to prevent any serious injuries.
Snow & Ice Festival — Harbin, China
While talking about hot tomatoes might get a little heated, China, on the other hand, celebrates the largest ice and snow festival in the world. Starting from January 5 to February 5, the festival is held in Harbin of Heilongjiang province of China, every year. Celebration of this festival includes an international competition of ice & snow giant sculptures, colorfully lightened up buildings purely constructed of huge ice blocks, winter swimming in Songhua River, a beautiful ice lantern show, ice sailing and speed skating.
Songkran – Thailand
How does a water fight on a national scale sound to you? Exciting, right? Well, Songkran, a very famous festival of Thailand celebrated on April 13 as the commencement of the Buddhist New Year. The word Songkran is derived from a Sanskrit word which means a ‘change or transformation’. The festival initially only involved pouring water over the statues of Buddha but with time it didn’t limit only to that. People in mass amounts gather on streets and start fighting using water guns, water balloons and elephant’s trunks (which are specially trained for the same).
Saint Patrick’s Festival – Dublin, Ireland
Saint Patrick’s Festival’s celebration is not just limited to Ireland but people from all across the world (places where there is an Irish diaspora) tend to celebrate the festival with great pomp and show. The festival is a religious celebration that takes place every year to honor the death of the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s festival features great events including music, performing arts, literature, tours and food events and is celebrated for five days and five nights in March.
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Celebrated during the last week of September to the first weekend of October, Oktoberfest is known to be the largest funfair in the world that takes place in Munich City of Germany. The history of Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, a day which was meant to celebrate the royal wedding of King Ludwing I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festival not only includes amusement rides and games but also is a great space for traditional food and beers for visitors. It is said that every year, during Oktoberfest, more than 7 million litres of beer is consumed.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, United States
One of the most surreal views to watch is the biggest hot air balloon festival in the world that takes place in Albuquerque of New Mexico. This nine-day long festival was first celebrated in early October of 1972 and since then iscelebratedevery year. Around 600 balloons are seen flying at a time every year during the event.
Fun Fact: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is not just considered to be the largest annual event in the US but also the most photographed event in the world. Guinness Book of World Records in 2011,documented this event as a mass hot air balloon ascent.
Carnival Of Venice, Italy
Considered to be one of the biggest festivals of Italy, the Carnival of Venice was started in the year 1162. What’s interesting to note about this festival is masked up people. It is the carnival tradition to put on a mask which is the highlight of the whole festival. There are different varieties and styles of elaborated masks that people tend to wear and even Venetian mask-makers have a special place in the community. The carnival doesn’t fail to include fun concerts, various forms of street performances and candle-lit boat parades.