Throughout the year, there are numerous exquisite and wonderful festivals held all around the world. There’s likely to be a gathering that fits your cup of tea, whether it’s arts and culture, cuisine and wine, holidays, or religion.
Here are some of our top picks for the world’s biggest and best festivals:
9. Carnival, Brazil
No one does carnivals like Brazil’s, deemed as “the greatest spectacle on Earth,” as it is arguably the world’s largest carnival and not to mention the wildest party.
The Carnival has traditionally been a religious festival that takes place In February or March.
Women dancing at the carnival, Brazil
This legendary event culminates in a wild, riotous two-night celebration in Rio’s magnificent Sambadrome, where more than 90,000 people are willing to spend a lot of cash to watch the world’s best samba schools fight for the ultimate prize.
A little tip: be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
8. Oktoberfest, Germany
The Oktoberfest is annually celebrated in Munich, Germany, and would usually last between 16 – 18 days in the month of September. Dubbed as the largest beer festival in the world, it actually had quite a different history.
Oktoberfest began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. The entire town was invited to the festival in a field, which was renamed Theresienwiese after the Princess in the wedding, and the gathering was such a success that the inhabitants requested that King Ludwig continues the festivities the next year.
Festival goers queing in Oktoberfest
Nowadays, The gates are still standing today, and the fields, known as the Wies’n by locals, now host the world’s largest beer festival with an array of Oktoberfest beer: what began as a simple wedding party has grown into a 17 or 18-day festival attended by 7 million people.
A little tip: make sure to attend the opening week since there will be a Costume and Riflemen’s Parade.
7. Semana Santa, Guatemala
Semana Santa, or Holy Week in English, is a biblically-based celebration that occurs in the final week of Lent before Easter. The church community goes to considerable efforts to decorate and prepare for the symbolic commemoration of Jesus’ life and death.
light pastel-colored buildings, bougainvillea covering the walls, cobblestone walkways, and volcanoes provide the first sight of Antigua as the entire city participates in solemn events during the week, culminating in a joyful Easter celebration.
A little tip: Antigua can have pretty harsh sun and a very high elevation, so be sure to take your time and rest every once in a while.
6. Holi, India
In India, the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil are celebrated at this ancient Hindu holiday, also known as “the festival of colors” it involves loads of water and powder in beautiful colors.
Holi occurs between late February and mid-March and lasts for one night (Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi) and the next day (Holi).
The Indian Festival is related to a number of legends. One interpretation is that it pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu and his disciple Prahlada, as well as their victory against Prahlada’s power-hungry father, the demon king Hiranyakashipu.
A little tip: make sure to wear clothes and shoes that you would not mind getting smeared in colors.
5. Dia de los muertes, Mexico
The “Day of the Dead” is a Mexican festival that focuses on family and friend gatherings to pray for and remember deceased friends and family members. The celebration takes place on the month of November 1st and 2nd (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day).
The traditions include creating private altars honoring the deceased with sugar skulls and marigolds, eating the deceased’s favorite meals and beverages, and visiting cemeteries with gifts.
A little fact about Dia de Los Muertes: Flowers, butterflies, and skulls are typically used as symbols.
4. La Tomatina, Spain
If you are ever in Europe, don’t miss out on one of the wildest festivals in Spain – La Tomatina! You can fly into Valencia or take a bus from Barcelona to go to La Tomatina.
La Tomatina, which takes place on the last Wednesday of August every year and attracts tens of thousands of crowds from all around Spain and the world, is essentially a massive food fight with 150,000 plump and juicy tomatoes as the weapons.
Tomatoes in preparation for La Tomatina
Since it became so popular in the 2000s, the Spanish government decided that this could no longer be unregulated and free and so it is now limited to 20,000 ticketed attendees, each costing €10 which is definitely a fair bargain and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A little tip: it’s way better to wear shoes or any other old trainers to avoid getting stomped on by the crowd, the road may even be a bit slippery with all the tomato residue.
3. Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Thousands of years ago, the Pagans celebrated spring and fertility which is believed to be the origin of Mardi Gras.
Fat Tuesday, or the start of Lent, is known as Mardi Gras in French. The word alludes to the final opportunity to eat rich, fatty foods and, for many, the final opportunity to drink excessive amounts of alcohol before the Lenten season.
Mardi Gras 2018, New Orleans
Throughout January and early February, there will be more parades and private balls. MOM’s Ball and Orpheuscapade Ball are two of the most popular.
A little tip: plan your route when nature calls – there are places selling pay-per-pee passes, portable toilets, or any other parade packages that grant bathroom access.
2. Songkran, Thailand
Songkran refers to the traditional New Year celebrated on April 13 in areas of India, China, and Southeast Asia. It is derived from the Sanskrit word for “astrological transit,” which denotes transformation.
In Thailand, the holiday, which lasts through April 15, is known for being a low-key celebration. Visiting local Buddhist temples to offer food to the monks is a common way to start the day.
Buddhist Monks praying in a temple
In a symbolic purifying ritual, water is frequently thrown on statues of the Buddha, the young, and the elderly. What began as a peaceful water washing of Buddha figures to usher in the upcoming rainy season has devolved into a massive water brawl.
A little tip: be careful when riding bikes, it might be quite difficult since you would most likely get water thrown at you
1. Burning Man, Nevada
Burning Man is an annual week-long temporary community experiment. The Burning Man art event, which drew more than 35,000 people in 2005 and is dedicated to anti-consumerism and self-expression, customarily concludes with the burning of a giant wooden sculpture of a man.
Black Rock Desert, Nevada, United States
This nine-day event in the Nevada desert is hosted every year in the Black Rock Desert. Every year, it takes place the week leading up to and including Labor Day weekend, and it features creative performances, installations, music, and a lot of drinking.
A little tip: always carry sunscreen and a flashlight at night.
And that’s a wrap on those amazing festivals
If planning and organizing isn’t your cup of tea you can simply join an existing trip, there are loads on our website starting from guided trips, co-working trips, road trips, safari trips, and so much more! so sit back and relax and you can let your trip leader do the rest.