Which festivals have you already visited? And which ones are still on your to-do list? You definitely shouldn't miss these seven world celebrations. These are all local festivals, some of the biggest and the most popular in the world.
Holi – India, Mathura and Vrindavan
During the months of Phalguna and the full moon, Holi, “the festival of colors,” is celebrated in India. With this festival, the Indian people with a good harvest and soil fertility. The festival takes place in Mathura and Vrindavan. These cities are associated with Krishna, which is a Hindu form of the divine. The festival starts with a bonfire on Holi eve. The next day everyone comes out onto the streets to throw bright colors at each other, dance, and exchange sweets.
Balloon Fiesta – USA, Albuquerque
Over the course of nine days in October, 550 hot air balloons are launched during the International Balloon Fiesta Festival. More than 850,000 people come to the city to marvel at the specially shaped balloons, tournaments, and the “glow-ups” – lighting while they are on the ground. Of course, there are also open-air concerts so you can listen to your favorite music when the hot air balloons take off!
St. Patrick’s Day – Ireland, Dublin
During St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish remember their St. Patrick. At the age of 16, he was abducted, sold as a slave, and taken to Ireland. After years he managed to escape and converted the Irish to Christianity. In the following years, he built churches, schools, and monasteries. Originally the festival was celebrated with a church service and a feast.
The Irish Americans have turned the festival into an international party. Boston was the first city with a St. Patrick’s Day parade. And since 1962, the river in Chicago has been colored green.
St. Patrick’s Day has become a combination of King’s Day and Carnival, only that instead of the color orange or beautiful costumes, people wear the color green, as this is the national color.
Carnival – Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Of course, Carnival is celebrated all over the world. But Rio de Janeiro is the “place to be.” With over 300 festivals and parades in one city, it is the capital of Carnival. The Ipanema Street Band is the best known and most impressive. But the events in the city center such as “Cordão do Bola Preta” are the biggest. Did you know you can run the parade yourself? Just get in touch with a samba school and order your costume! Or order a ticket and watch the parade from the street side. Either way, it will be one of the most impressive experiences of your life!
The Festival of Lights – Thailand
Loi Krathong or ลอยกระทง or the Festival of Lights is celebrated in Thailand and the surrounding countries. The festival starts on the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar. Within five days, there are parades, fireworks, and lights shows. Tourists and locals light floating paper lights (krathongs) in the river and let paper lanterns soar into the night sky while whispering wishes and prayers. Many Thais use the Krathong to thank Ganga, the Hindu goddess of water. The festival is becoming more and more environmentally friendly. In 2016, 93% of the material in the lights was biodegradable. So if you fancy a fairytale experience, book your ticket to Thailand.
King’s Day – Netherlands
April 27th is King’s Day in the Netherlands. The background of this festival is the celebration of the king’s birthday. During the day, the royal family visits one of the larger cities in the Netherlands, which event everyone can watch live on television. The tour of the city ends with a large open-air festival.
The rest of the country has many big festivals with flea markets. Children sit on their mats and sell their old things. The Dutchies spend millions of euros that day buying things that they are likely to resell in the next year.
The best thing about the day is that everyone is wearing orange. The last name of the royal family is “von Orange,” which is why wearing the color orange symbolizes love for their king.
Oktoberfest – Germany, Munich
Oktoberfest is celebrated every year at the end of September and the beginning of October. Millions of people wear traditional dirndls and lederhosen. A lot of beer and a lot of bratwursts are eaten during Oktoberfest. There is also a mass, music, the chance to fire a crossbow, and parades. 2019 is the 186th event, so get ready and come to Munich!
- Holi Festival India: Narender9 - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
- Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque: Joe Ross - Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic
- St. Patrick’s Day: Ardfern - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
- Rio Carnival: Terry George - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic
- Festival of lights, Thailand: Tris T7 - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
- King’s Day in Amsterdam: merumala - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0 International
- Oktoberfest: - Adam Reeder - Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0 Generic
- Sumatra Chinese festival: Agustinuselwan - Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0 International