Festivals of the World

It is not surprising that the abundance of cultures and customs worldwide result in a wide range of exciting, and sometimes weird, festivals across the globe. Travelling during this time can be an interesting and rewarding experience, as host cities put on extravagant shows amid a buzzing atmosphere, showcasing their local traditions and talents at their best. The spread of festivals throughout the year ensures that there is always something fascinating going on, somewhere. A few of these follow.

Canada hosts its Carnival in Quebec in January with a masquerade ball, snow and ice sculptures, and winter rides for children.

On the first new moon of a year’s lunisolar month (commencing end of January to mid-February), the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a 15-day celebration in eastern and south-eastern China and for many Chinese people throughout the world. It culminates with the Lantern Festival, when the streets are adorned with lights and fireworks abound, temples are lit with Chinese paper lanterns and the dragon dance is traditionally performed.

Lanterns festival

flickr image by bill.streeter

Also in February, you can see some of the best carnivals in Latin America, with Brazil’s famous and spectacular Rio Carnival, also held in Mexico and Bolivia.

At Easter, in March or April, will see an almost worldwide celebration of Christ’s crucifixion, including re-enactments in the Philippines, and the famous Semana Santa in the beautiful Seville.

Northern summers offer a splendid choice of festivals, from the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, to the International Carthage Festival in Tunisia. Don’t forget La Tomatina in Bunol or the lesser known Orange Festival in Italy where participants fight each other with tomatoes and oranges respectively!

In the southern hemisphere’s winter, June sees The Dreaming at Woodford, Queensland, Australia. This is an international indigenous festival which showcases an Aboriginal ceremony, music, dancing, theatre and arts.

October in North America plays host to firework displays associated with Halloween and, in November, an interesting All Souls’ Day surrounded by flowers in Ecuador.

The Whirling Dervishes’ Festival in Konya, Turkey is not to be missed. Dating back to the thirteenth century, this internationally acclaimed festival is held annually in December. For New Year’s Eve, there is an abundance of exciting festivals from Edinburgh to Sydney, each one a fabulous celebration in itself.

Apart from these celebrations, there are some downright weird events taking place yearly. Try the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, which sees grown men, dressed as Satan, jumping over babies, the Wife Carrying Championships in Finland or the naked festival, Hadaki Matsuri, in Japan.

Worldwide, there is certainly something for everyone. Bear in mind that these will be the busiest times to travel, so flights, accommodation and tours should be booked well in advance to ensure best pricing and availability.

Date posted: 1st September, 2011

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