If your travel plan revolves around attending the local festivals and cultural events, just like me, then this list is for you. Every new destination you visit is a chance for you to get acquainted with the culture and traditions including the festivals. If you are a world traveler then you must attend these festivals around the world, for they will be the best travel memories you will have. From throwing color balloons and tomatoes on strangers to playing in the mud to breathing music for three days, these festivals around the world will rejuvenate your soul. So, any further ado, let’s check them out.
1) Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
For nine days in October every year, more than 600 hot air balloons take to the skies during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Held in New Mexico, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown so popular that more than 1 million people flock to the launch field during the festival. If you happen to visit New Mexico in early October, you have a chance to witness a beautiful sight of thousands of colorful balloons soaring high in the sky.
Where: New Mexico, USA.
When: Early October
Why: The sight of colorful balloons dawning the sky is a sight to behold. The nine-day fiesta includes musical performances and “night glows” in which balloons are ignited, keeping them tethered to the ground, giving a glow to the night sky.
2) Lantern Festival
Which was once a system to notify the villagers that the bandits have left the area, today, Lantern Festival in Taiwan has grown on to become a symbol of hope and dreams for the upcoming new year. Visited by more than 80,000 guests every year, one can scribble the desires and wishes and let it free with a lantern, sending them to embrace the peaceful night sky. One of the biggest lantern festivals in Asia, the Lantern Festival is one for the optimists like me.
Where: Pingxi District, Taiwan
When: Between February and March
Why: The sight of thousands of balloon flocking in the night sky is a visual bonanza and symbolizing hope and aspirations, if you are anything like me, you would love the Lantern Festival in Taiwan.
3) Boryeong Mud Festival
If you are not scared to get your hands dirty, you must seriously consider the famous Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea. The festival has gained so much popularity over the years that thousands of travelers gather every summer to take part in the festival. Featuring mud pools, mudslides, mud skiing competitions, and mud prisons, the festival is absolute madness. The festival is aimed at promoting the local Boryeong mud, which has cosmetic properties
Where: Boryeong, South Korea
Why: Get your hands dirty amidst the absolute madness of Boryeong mud festival. The festival also features various mudslides and competitions for the adventurous souls.
Laying claim to being the biggest folk festival in the world(yes, it is not just about beer), Munich Oktoberfest is a two-week carnival of beer, food, culture, and traditions. Attracting an average of 6 million visitors every year is just one proof of the popularity of the festival. Boasting a record of consumption of seven million liters of beer every year, Oktoberfest is a paradise for those who love beer over everything. Although the festival is not just about food and drinks, it also boasts of over 80 rides and traditional parades exhibiting Bavarian culture.
Where: Munich, Germany
When: Mid-September to Early October
Why: Beer, food, parades and cultural extravaganza, do we need more reasons to be part of this famous festival around the world?
5) La Tomatina
Ever dreamt of throwing a raw tomato at a stranger? Well, the famous Spanish La Tomatina festival gives you a chance to do that. Also known as tomato wars, the festival is a sign of civil disobedience. Despite its numerous origin story, the festival is just a week-long carnival with music and euphoria, eventually culminating into some hours long utter war-like destruction of tomatoes
Where: Buñol, Spain
When: Last Wednesday of August
Why: To fulfill the childhood dream of being part of a massive food fight. Also, because it’s time-honored traditions or it’s a cultural celebration — who are we kidding? It’s just sheer unadulterated PG fun!
Called as the festival of colors, the festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. But leaving religious origin stories aside, the festival is quite literally a carnage of colors. Locals gather around on streets, parks and start throwing dry colors and water balloons and the result is a splash of colors on the human body. Celebrated with great furor and joy during the springtime, colors are accompanied by music and food.
Where: Northern India
Why: The social celebration with colors, the festival is a vibrant carnival of color, food, and social bonding. Also, offering a unique cultural experience, Holi allows you to interact with the locals of the area.
Believed to be one of the biggest music festivals of the world, the musical carnival is a haven for those who live for music, indie, hip-hop, and EDM especially. Every year, Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert is flocked by thousands of music fanatics diving into the euphoric celebration of music. Also, there are high chances that you might come across your favorite musical celebrity during the musical carnival. Eating, drinking, sleeping and living alongside music, if that is what you have been seeking, Coachella is the place for you.
Where: Coachella Valley, USA
Why: If you live by music, the musical extravaganza offers you a chance to be amidst some of the best musicians in the world. Also, a great place to meet and bond with music fanatics.
8) Mardi Gras
A French Catholic tradition turned American Carnival, Mardi Gras is one part parade, one part masquerade ball, and one part pub exploration. The celebration is organized a week before fasting during Lent. Celebrated in the vibrant city of New Orleans, the Mardi Gras is a royal extravaganza of vibrant colors, music and lot of adventure and fun on the streets of the city. With over 50 parades routes throughout the city, the final weekend up to the festival is sheer excitement and madness that engulfs the city as costumed revelers take up the street.
Where: New Orleans, United States
When: February or March
Why: The mix of parades, music and bar exploration make this a never-ending carnival in the vibrant streets of New Orleans.
9) Cheltenham Festival
Want to try your luck at a festival which features the biggest racehorse in the United Kingdom? If the answer to that question is yes, then the Cheltenham Festival is the event for you. Held every year in March in the United Kingdom, coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the festival witnesses huge Irish and British crowd. The festival boasts of some of the most alluring Grade I horse races and exciting offers from the local casinos. The bets are great and the offers are almost impossible to resist, so if you feel lucky, head out to the Cheltenham Festival.
Where: Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Why: Featuring some of the best horse races in the United Kingdom, the festival offers you the chance to bet on the race and test out your luck at the local casinos.
These festivals are quite simply amazing and each one of them is unique in their own way. So, on your next travel saga, make sure you attend these festivals around the world.