Amazing Festivals Around The World You Should Experience

Need a dose of culture or a life changing experience? A festival can be just the cure for you. Experiences can range from relaxing and unwinding, to dance parties, to singing at the top of your lungs, and more.

Some festivals include parades, others will have you taking in nature, while some can just provide you delicious meals. In other words, you have a variety of traditions, religions, and cultures to choose from when it comes to festivals. Check out one of these festivals as a possible anchor for one your next trips.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, RJ /BRAZIL - FEBRUARY 09, 2013: Samba School parade in Sambodromo. Estacio de Sa during festival on february 09, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Celso Pupo

Attracting more than two million people to the streets of Rio de Janeiro every year is the one and only Rio de Janeiro Carnival. If ten days of never-ending action, dancing, and music sounds like a good deal, you shouldn’t miss this vibrant, lively festival.

Experience art in the shape of samba dancing and expressive costumes by attending Rio’s paid parades or joining free-to-all street parties. You might also enjoy the festival’s high-profile balls such as the Copacabana Palace’s Magic Ball or dance for free on the Carnival block of Banda de Ipanema.

When: February

Carnival of Venice, Italy

Colorful carnival masks at a traditional festival in Venice, Italy
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tomas Marek

The Venetian Carnival encompasses rich history and elegance in the form of intricate costumes and detailed masks. The city’s annual celebration dates back to the year 1162 and now sees up to three million visitors annually.

The festivities include stunning costume parades, music, and indoor as well as outdoor parties. Visitors can also enjoy live theatrical plays and participate in dressing up for a true festive spirit.

When: Between January and February

Oktoberfest, Germany

Three friends in beer tent at Dult or Oktoberfest holding giant pretzels up in the air
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kzenon

The #1 beer-drinking festival in the world takes place in Germany’s Munich. Put on your lederhosen, embrace the sounds of oompah, and revel in an unlimited supply of good beer, pork schnitzel, and other local foods.

Experience the true German culture in this 200-year-old festival and enjoy parades featuring traditionally dressed musicians and performers.

When: Between September and October

Holi Festival, India and Nepal

Color holi festival
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mikhail Klyoshev

Also known as the Festival of Colours, Love, and Spring, this Hindi festival is widely celebrated across India and Nepal. Some of the top locations to celebrate this ancient holiday include Mathura, Jaipur, Barsana, Pushkar, and Purulia.

During the festival, expect massive crowds of people covered in powder paint to celebrate the defeat of evil. Since music, dancing, and public celebrations are an integral part of the Holi festival, this experience is a must for all those interested in Hinduism and Indian culture.

When: March

Mardi Gras, New Orleans – Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS USA FEB 1 2016: Mardi Gras parades through the streets of New Orleans.People celebrated crazily. Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration the city of New Orleans hosts every year.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / GTS Productions

In preparation for the fasting season of Lent, people around the world celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday and indulge in good foods and drinks while enjoying parades and music.

One of the biggest Mardi Gras festivals takes place yearly in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the city becoming crowded with tourists for five days worth of parades. Whether you enjoy a drink at a jazz bar in the French Quarter or join the celebrations on Bourbon Street, you’re bound to have lots of fun and get to see plenty of floats!

When: February

Diwali, India

Diwali decorative lamps for sale on Diwali festival Mumbai Maharashtra India South East Asia
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tukaram.Karve

Dipawali or Diwali is one of India’s biggest and most important holidays. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the festivities honor the victory of good over evil and the prevalence of light over darkness. Some of the best places to celebrate the holiday include Varanasi, Amritsar, Udaipur, Kolkata, Goa, and Delhi.

Rather than party until there’s no energy left, people prioritize mass prayers and special ceremonies during Diwali. Homes are typically decorated with lights and traditional earthen lamps and gifts exchanged commonly take place. There is also no shortage of bonfire gatherings and fireworks.

When: November

La Tomatina, Spain

BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 28: Unidentified girl in La Tomatina festival in August 28, 2013 in Bunol, Spain. La Tomatina festival where people are fighting with tomatoes at street
Image Credit: Shutterstock / BearFotos

Feel like throwing rotten tomatoes in strangers’ faces? You’re not alone. Join this Spanish annual festival that takes place in the town of Buñol and take on an epic tomato-throwing battle that is as crazy as it sounds.

Often dubbed the world’s craziest festival, this holiday has been taking place annually since 1945. While the celebrations began by accident, they now attract brave individuals from around the globe. Fortunately, the rules are simple. Stock up on tomatoes dropped off at the main square by dump trucks and keep on throwing the fruits around the town until it is painted red.

When: Last Wednesday of August

Chinese New Year, China

Traditional colorful chinese lion, Chinese paper means: good fortune.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / redstone

Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world but nowhere better than in its country of origin.

What better way to get an authentic experience than to delve into the heart of Beijing and enjoy the capital’s festivities, fireworks, traditional foods, and good luck charms? If you’re looking for a retreat from colorful dragon dances, you might want to visit a night market or unwind at the Temple of Heaven Park.

When: Between late January and late February

Songkran, Thailand

AYUTTAYA,THAILAND-APRIL 13: unidentified People celebrating Songkran (Thai new year / water festival) child and his water gun on road April 13, 2012 in Ayuttaya, Thailand.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / topten22photo

Thai New Year is a three-day celebration that comes with lots of fun activities that will leave you wet and smelling like scented water. From parades at the local markets and colorful traditional dance rituals to water fights and blessing ceremonies, you will not get bored celebrating Songkran. Luckily, plentiful food fairs ensure you won’t get hungry while watching beauty pageants show off traditional Thai outfits.

Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are some of the top destinations for those looking to make the most out of this festival.

When: April

Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan

NAGANO,JAPAN-APRIL 10: People come to join and rest in the park on Hanami Cherry Blossom festival at Takato Castle Ruins Park, Nagano
Image Credit: Shutterstock / IamDoctorEgg

Throughout Japan, people celebrate the time of the year when cherry blossoms, also known as sakura, bloom and grace the streets, providing a perfect opportunity for picnics, outdoor events, and traditional events incorporating age-old costumes, dances, and music.

This light-hearted festival is ideal for those seeking to admire nature, delicious food, and the Japanese tradition without sacrificing comfort.

When: Between March and May

Glastonbury Festival, UK

Pyramid Explosion Glastonbury Festival Pyramid Stage during a concert.Exploding with ticker tape.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / benny hawes

Taking place in Somerset, UK, is the multicultural event known as the Glastonbury Festival. Connecting different cultures and traditions, this festival is for the open-minded who wish to expand their horizons and meet interesting people of all kinds.

Besides a mix of music, art, and theater, the Glastonbury Festival also offers various activities like workshops, comedy acts, and shopping at countless craft and food stalls.

When: June

Day of the Dead, Mexico

Group of unrecognizable women wearing traditional sugar skull masks and costumes for Dia de los Muertos celebration
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Moab Republic

The Day of the Dead is most widely and wildly observed in Mexico where people dress as skeletons to roam the streets before partying the night away with tequila. The main events take place on October 31 and November 1 when most carnivals and parades take place.

When: October 31 to November 2

Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland

St. Patrick's day parade in Dublin, Ireland.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ryan McCarrel

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in style by taking to the streets of Dublin, Ireland, to experience the Irish culture over several days of festivities. During the celebrations, expect marching bands, pageants, and performers to keep you entertained. While dressed in green with a Guinness in your hand, you can also keep yourself busy by listening to storytellers or enjoying traditional music and dances.

Nowadays, Saint Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated around the world. Some other great spots to experience this holiday include New York City and Northern Ireland’s Belfast.

When: March

International Wild Flower Festival, Slovenia

Wonderful hiking place with cheerful hiker couple on the bench enjoying the view from the hill, lake Bohinj, Slovenia, Europe
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gaspar Janos

The beautiful Central European country of Slovenia is home to pristine rivers, medieval castles, the wonder of Postojna Cave, and the famous Lake Bled. But for this festival, you will venture into the heart of Triglav National Park surrounded by the Julian Alps.

Bohinj’s International Wild Flower Festival celebrates botany and invites wildflower lovers to engage in relaxing activities like birdwatching, workshops, and exploration. Visitors will also be able to enjoy stunning wildflower displays while hiking nearby trails.

When: Between late May and early June

Up Helly Aa, Scotland

Lerwick/ Scotland-01/11/2019 photo from Up Helly Aa festivals in Scotland
Image Credit: Shutterstock / konstantin belovtov

The Viking-inspired festival of fire takes place across the Shetland Islands of Scotland but is most strongly celebrated in Lerwick where impressive reenactments of a Viking ship burial are done. As part of the festivities, locals dressed as Vikings parade the streets with torchlights and burn a replica of a longship. The event is organized by the local communities and volunteers who make it all possible.

When: Last Tuesday in January

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

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