Our world is filled with some spectacular festivals, with many of them steeped in hundreds of years of tradition and history. From painting yourself in a myriad of colours to celebrate the triumph of good over bad, to pelting oranges at people in the streets of Ivrea, Italy, we’ve rounded up some truly awesome festivals around the world.
The Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Perhaps one of the most famous festivals in the world, the Rio Carnival is a rowdy series of parades and parties held in Rio de Janeiro, just before Lent begins. The event is always packed, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Rio during Carnival, anticipate spectacular parades put on by the city’s samba schools, as well as street parties, live Brazilian music and a whole lot of energy!
Holi Festival – India
The vivid festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, is celebrated in March each year, commemorating the triumph of good over bad. It is one of the major festivals in India and sees people spend the day smearing coloured powder all over each other’s faces, throwing coloured water at people, having parties, and dancing under water sprinklers.
Boryeong Mud Festival – South Korea
Whilst getting down and dirty (literally) might not be your idea of a holiday, Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea attracts around two million tourists from around the world each year. It initially started as a marketing tool for the Boryeong mud cosmetics, and now sees visitors taking part in various mud attractions such as wrestling, mud slides, mud skiing competition and if you’re daring, a mud prison.
Festival of the Sun – Peru
The Festival of the Sun, one of the greatest parades in South America, celebrates the winter solstice and honours the Inca sun god with an abundance of colourful Andean parades, music, and dance. It takes over Cusco and converts the Sacsayhuamán ruins overlooking the city into a magnificent stage.
Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead) – Mexico
Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico on the first two days in November. It is believed the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. Then, on November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities too. The celebration is then taken to the cemetery, where people clean tombs, play cards, listen to village bands and reminisce about their loved ones.
Battle of the Oranges – Ivrea, Italy
It’s a well-known story: commoners rising up against an oppressive ruler. At the Carnevale di Ivrea, however, the battle isn’t led with guns and swords—oranges are the weapon of choice. Each year, the little town of Ivrea stores 500,000 kilograms of fresh oranges for Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges), a re-creation of a historic fight between citizens and a ruling tyrant. Teams wage a full-on fruit war, and not even a red-capped declaration of sovereignty can protect you from a juicing.
Loi Krathong – Thailand
One of the most picturesque festivals in Bangkok is the evening of Loi Krathong, when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water. The sight of thousands of Krathongs, their flickering candles sending a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon is a truly majestic site.
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest beer festival and travelling funfair. It is held annually in Munich, but many countries around the world hold their own festival. While Oktoberfest reinforces stereotypical images of beer-loving, meat-loving Germans dressed in dirndls and lederhosen, visitors to the annual event come from all over the world. More than 6 million people from around the world attend Oktoberfest in Munich each year, drinking over 5 million litres of beer, chowing down on pork knuckles and enjoying the festivities. Prost!
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