I’ve travelled to so many places over the years, and some of the most memorable moments have been a result of an amazing festival. If you want to know where to visit and when, take a look at the 10 festivals you have to experience.
1. Rio de Janeiro Carnival
You’ve probably already heard of Rio de Janeiro carnival – as it is the most famous festival in the world. Two million people take to the streets every single year to enjoy a colourful parade that includes floats, dancers and atmospheric music. The Brazilian carnival features sets and costumes from numerous samba schools in Rio and offers a day you’ll remember for a lifetime.
For a festival that’s big and bold, you just have to visit Holi that offers a beautiful festival of colours. The ancient Hindu religious festival takes place in India and is free for everyone to enjoy. The event begins with a bonfire the night before Holi, which allows people to come together to dance and sing. The next morning, everyone will chase one another with dry powder and water, creating an amalgamation of lively colours that are a feast to the eyes.
3. Pingxi Lantern Festival
Head to Taiwan to visit one of the most beautiful festivals on the planet. The event features thousands of sky lanterns that float over Pingxi District, and each are decorated with images and good wishes that relate to the lantern’s owner. The festival originally began to ward away disease or other evils from the town.
4. La Tomatina
For a festival that’s full of laughter, dancing and memories, look no further than La Tomatina in Spain. The festival is basically people gathering together to throw tomatoes at each, take a ride on the tomato slides and just make wonderful memories. There’s nothing quite like it in the world.
If tomatoes aren’t your thing, beer just might be – and if that’s the case, book your tickets to Oktoberfest now. The world’s biggest beer festival is held in Munich, Germany, is held in late September every year, running for 16 days into the first weekend of October. If beer isn’t your bag, this festival probably isn’t for you, but if you’re a lover a cold glass of stein, beautiful waitresses and a stunning backdrop, you’ll want to return again and again.
6. Songkran Water Festival
The Songkran Water Festival is often held on some of Thailand’s hottest days, and celebrates the Thai New Year festival. People make it their mission to soak one another with water guns, hoses, buckets and anything else filled with water. Many also mix a chalk or menthol in with the water, which offers a cooling sensation, and so they’ll smear the paste onto each other. Elephants are also known to get involved in the festival, and will spray water jets at participants.
7. Battle of the Oranges
Battle of the Oranges is the largest food fight in Italy, not to mention one of the most traditional. The festival takes place in Ivrea and involves thousands of townspeople, who are divided into nine combat teams to throw oranges at their enemies.
8. Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice dates back more than 900 years and is a celebration of entertainment. Masked Venetians take to the streets to enjoy all the fun of the festival, which includes everything from bands to jugglers. You’ll see colourful boats in the canals, and can attend exquisite masked balls and parties. You have to experience it to believe it.
9. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
You probably think a festival of air balloons could be a little boring, right? Well, how wrong you are. It really is a magnificent sight to see 750 air balloons take to the skies during the nine day event in Albuquerque, USA. Taking place in early October every year, you’ll be amazed by the breathtaking colours that don the blue skies.
10. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival takes place on the last Tuesday in January in Lerwick, Scotland, and features awe-inspiring marches that you won’t want to miss. The event also concludes in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley. Thousands of guizers will participate in the festival, including the main guizer named the “Jarl”. The event is held across Shetland, including Lerwick, Scalloway, Nesting and Girlsta.