The World's Most Popular Festivals
People flock to festivals to have a good time and party. Festival is a time for dancing, great dance music, celebration, have loads of fun, and bring home lasting memories afterwards. Different parts of the world have different reasons for celebrating festivals. Some celebrate it to mark the beginning of the year or another season, to pay tribute to their religion, or to celebrate art or a good harvest. Festival is a huge part of a nation's culture that attracts many people from all around the world wanting to celebrate with the locals. Here are some of the most famous festivals celebrated in different parts of the world.
Carnival is a big celebration that is held every February, just before the Lent season. It is celebrated by having a lavish parade combined with elaborate costumes, people wearing masks, and the street turning into a huge party venue. People who participate in this festival often wear costumes to demonstrate the overturning of life. Traditionally, carnival is celebrated by Roman Catholics and to some extent, other Christian religions as well. Brazilian Carnival is the most well-known carnival event and tourists throng to Brazil at this time of the year to witness the grand celebration and party. Some parts of the world also hold their own version of carnival, with some cities celebrating it for days.
India celebrates Holi the day after the full moon appears in early March each year. Holi was originally celebrated to give thanks to a good harvest and a fertile land. Today, however, the festival is held to praise a famous figure from Hindu Mythology. The story tells of a haughty king who despises his son's devotion to Lord Vishnu. He attempted to kill his son by burning him but failed. Instead, the king's sister Holika was the one who perished from the fire. Holi draws its symbolism from the story and participants set up huge bonfires on the night before the actual event. This is to ward off evil spirits and bad aura. It is a celebration lasting up to 16 days with lots of food, music and splashing paint and colored water at each other.
Songkran is Thailand's way of celebrating their New Year which falls on April 13. During the celebration the Thai people visit temples to pay their respect to Buddha. They also sprinkle the figure of Buddha with water as an act of worship. They do the same on each other to bid each other good luck. Today, the younger Thai generation has turned the festival's tradition of sprinkling water into a big water fest. Visitors of Thailand at this time of the year have to expect getting wet when stepping out into the streets. Buckets of water are thrown at each other so you had better be prepared for it.
The south west England holds one of the biggest music and arts festival in the world. Contemporary music, dance music, dance and other forms of performing arts come together in this one great celebration. Glastonbury festival is inspired by hippie ethics and the flourishing of music festivals in the 70s. In 2005, it was attended by 150,000 people and 20,000 more was added to that number in 2007. Glastonbury usually takes place in the summer month of June. In the 2010 festival, tickets were sold out within 24 hours after they were made available. People attending the festivities usually set up tents to camp out and enjoy the music and everything else the festival has to offer.
Running of the Bulls Festival
Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain is held every July 6. It usually starts during the midday, with the 'chupinazo' signaling the start of the festival. Visitors and locals gather in the central square to wait for the official declaration from the mayor that the festivity has begun. A rocket is then fired off as an indication that the celebration has started. Running of the Bulls is the most well-know fiesta in all of Spain and people flood the streets and run an 800 mile stretch trying to avoid six angry bulls. Participants of this festivity wear white shirts and red neckerchiefs. It is a week full of partying, dancing, and drinking.
La Tomatina Festival
La Tomatina festival is celebrated with the whole town of Bunol near Valencia engaging in a huge tomato fight. The event is held every last Wednesday of August although pre-celebrations are already in full gear days before the actual event. The climax of La Tomatina festival is the tomato fight that starts at 11 am until 1 pm. This is one of Spain's most interesting fiesta celebration and many tourists travel to this town to take part of the tomato mayhem. Because of the huge number of people participating each year, it is hard to get near the spot where the tomato Lorries is located. But even if you are far away from the main action, all corners of the town are in partying mood so you still get a slice of the action anywhere you are.
Oktoberfest is a grand celebration in Germany that lasts up to 18 days. It starts in the late September and ends in the early October. It is considered the world's largest event with millions of people taking part of the celebration each year. Other places in the world also hold this kind of event inspired by this lively part of Bavarian culture. Visitors enjoy traditional foods like chicken, roast pork, sausages, and of course, beer. The celebration is opened officially with a parade that boasts of over 6,000 participants. Beer tents are erected and each of them can cater to 6,000 beer drinking people. The fairground called "Wies'n" is filled with rides, dancing, and locals and tourists enjoying beers and giant pretzels.
Day of the Dead Festival
Day of the Dead is a yearly celebration in Mexico held on November 2. This day is used to communicate with the dead and it also celebrates the transitioning of life to life after death. This celebration is an infusion of Catholic beliefs and vestiges of pre-colonial traditions. Whereas the purely Catholic celebration of All Soul's Day is a sorrowful commemoration, the Day of the Dead in Mexico is a joyous and colorful festivity. It is to celebrate life after death, where the soul of the dead journeys to Mictlan to rest until the time arrives when they could visit their loved ones again.
All year round, each month caters to various festivities and celebrations as part of long standing traditions. Both locals and tourists turn up to celebrate as festivals equates to having fun and partying. It is a time when visitors can immerse in a different culture and be a part of it even for a little while.