10 Best Festivals In The World
Our planet is home to many stunning destinations, and we have the freedom to travel whenever and wherever we wish. However, some sights and experiences need perfect timing. Around the world, amazing festivals of all kinds are celebrated, and each one offers a distinct cultural experience. It is gratifying to schedule your trip around one of the world’s greatest festivals. It enables you to interact with locals, learn about their culture, and have a fun vacation. These festivals will undoubtedly spice up your vacation and must be experienced to be believed.
Everyone enjoys a good celebration, and festivals allow people to express themselves and commemorate significant community events in unique and exciting ways. It could be a cultural festival, music festival, food festival, season festival, or nature festival. Planning your trip, so that you can participate in these intriguing and vibrant celebrations is well worth the effort. So why not add them to your bucket list? The following are some of the best and most well-known festivals:
Rio Carnival, Brazil
Rio Carnival is undeniably the largest celebration in the world, attracting millions of tourists from all over the world. It’s a nonstop mind-blowing extravaganza of pulsating music, colorful parades, quirky costumes, samba dance, and live performances. Every day, over two million people take to the streets, and the entire city is alive and buzzing. Every neighborhood throws a party, and people dance their way through the busy streets. The highlight is the Samba parade at Sambodrome Arena, where the top 12 Samba schools dance and compete in elaborate costumes.
Along with the street celebrations, there are glamorous Carnival balls held in venues throughout Rio de Janeiro. Live music, entertainment, and extravagant decor are all part of these events. One can’t help but join in the festivities as everyone in Rio seems to be on vacation. The Carnival commemorates the end of a long, hot Brazilian summer. The ostentatious spectacle lasts 5 days and is held at the end of February. The Carnival concludes with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Rio Carnival is your chance to immerse yourself in flamboyant Brazilian culture and be swept up in the euphoria of the world’s biggest show.
Place: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Dates: 9th Feb – 17th Feb, 2024
La Tomatina, Bunol
One of the craziest festivals you can witness, La Tomatina takes place in the last week of August every year. The quirky festival is attended by participants from all parts of the world with attendees crossing the 50,000 number. To keep the fun festival under control, participants are nowadays kept below 20,000 by issuing tickets. The origins of La Tomatina are not entirely clear, It is said that the people of the city had thrown tomatoes at city councilmen to show their anger. They enjoyed it so much that they repeated it every year amongst themselves and it turned into a festival.
In this giant messy food fight, over 100 tons of squishy tomatoes are bought in the town in huge trucks and emptied in the town square. The overripe tomatoes are flung, plonked, squashed, and splattered in an hour-long battle. At the end of the event, the town and the participants are painted blood red. You can enjoy the gyrating after-party once you have cleaned up in the river. The massive free-for-all event is the culmination of week-long celebrations which include parades, fireworks, and various competitions. Great opportunity to enjoy the Spanish culture.
Place: Bunol, Spain
Date: Last Wednesday of Aug, 28th Aug 2024
Owing to its rich culture and diverse religious beliefs, India has numerous festivals that are celebrated throughout the country. Holi is one of the most popular and traditional festivals. The Festival of Colours celebrates the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. Holi is a sight to behold, with people smearing ‘Gulal’ (bright-colored powder) on each other’s faces, tossing water balloons at passers-by, and indulging in traditional sweets. They sing, dance, attack each other with water guns, and throw buckets of water. The festival is played among strangers, friends, and even foes, and all old grudges are forgotten.
Holi is celebrated all over India in myriad ways but the spirit remains the same. However, one must visit Mathura and Vrindavan for a vibrant and traditional experience. The festival is said to be inspired by the antics of Lord Krishna who drenched the village girls with color and water. The day before Holi, also known as ‘Choti Holi’, a bonfire is lit and the effigy of the demoness Holika is burnt signifying the end of evil. During ‘Holika Dahan’ people walk around the bonfire praying, singing, and dancing.
Place: All over India
Day: After the Full Moon on March, 25th March 2024
Every year, people in Thailand celebrate the New Year in a fun-filled, unique way. Songkran is a three-day Thai festival during which the entire country engages in water fights with water sprays, buckets, jet sprays, and even elephant trunks. Traditionally, the water poured over deities was collected and sprinkled on worshippers to purify and ward off bad luck. However, over time, it evolved into a massive water fight. People of all ages walk down the street, ready to drench anyone in sight, strangers and acquaintances alike. It’s a great time to visit Thailand.
In addition to being a time for celebration and joy, Songkran has profound spiritual and cultural meaning. It is a time for introspection, renewal, and strengthening of family and community ties. Processions, performances, and other religious celebrations are held. Making merit at temples, paying respects to elders by pouring scented water over their hands, and seeking blessings for the new year are all typical ceremonies. It is common to see people dressed in traditional Thai attire.
Like most religious festivals in the world, Songkran has also become more of an exuberant and jovial festival. Around 4 million tourists arrive in Thailand to participate in this nationwide water fight. The Songkran Water Festival is best experienced in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and Phuket.
Place: All over Thailand
Date: 13th-15th April 2024
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China
Every year for one month, Harbin transforms into a winter wonderland, with majestic and amazing snow sculptures built throughout this northeastern Chinese province. Harbin Festival is the biggest Ice and Snow Festival in the world. It usually begins in early January and lasts about a month, though exact dates may vary. The festival attracts approximately 15 million visitors and artists every year.
Around 220,000 cubic meters of snow and ice (taken from the frozen Songhua River) are used to create awe-inspiring ice sculptures. Snow World, Ice palaces, ice trains, and the Great Wall are just a few of the massive structures built each year based on the theme. The exhibits can reach heights of more than 40 meters. Lights and lasers are used to highlight and animate the structures, magnifying the scale and design of the exhibits.
The festival grounds are transformed into a winter playground, providing entertainment as well as outdoor recreation. In addition to the massive structures, there is dog sledding, snowboarding, ice hockey, winter swimming, skiing competitions, and the spectacular Ice Lantern Festival. Beautifully crafted ice lanterns illuminate the night as part of the festival. Traditional Chinese motifs are frequently depicted on these lanterns, creating a magical and enchanting atmosphere.
So, if slug fests like Holi, Songkran, and La Tomatina do not appeal to you, head to Harbin to witness this extravagant spectacle. That is if you don’t mind the -30-degree temperature. Come prepared for a teeth-chattering cold.
Place: Harbin, China
Date: Starts Jan 5th, 2024
Tomorrowland Music Festival, Boom, Belgium
Do you enjoy listening to music? Plan a trip to Boom, Belgium, to enjoy the world’s largest and most loved dance music festival. Since its inception in 2005, the Tomorrowland Music Festival in Boom has grown to become a global phenomenon. The festival is known for its elaborate stage designs, top-tier lineups with renowned DJs, and a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience. The festival is held in the picturesque surroundings of De Schorre, a recreational area complete with lakes and green spaces. For the duration of the festival, the venue is transformed into a magical and vibrant landscape.
Approximately 1000 artists perform in 18 theatres as part of the Electric Dance Music Festival. Some of the biggest names in the electronic dance music industry attend the festival. On multiple stages, top-tier DJs and artists from around the world perform a diverse range of electronic music genres such as house, techno, trance, and more. In 2019, the musical extravaganza drew 4 lakh visitors. Around 2 million people from all over the world registered, and only 4 lakh were picked randomly. Tomorrowland is typically held over two weekends in late July, allowing for a larger audience to attend. Each weekend features the same lineup and stage setups, allowing attendees to select their preferred dates.
Boom looks festive, with elaborate stage productions, insane fireworks, enchanting décor, buzzing beaches, and fascinating performances. The grand music festival is your chance to see some spectacular entertainment, feast on delectable food, and dance your heart out. Visiting Boom to experience this musical extravaganza should be on the bucket list of all music lovers.
Place – Boom, Belgium
Time – July 19th- 28th, 2024
Human-planned and executed festivals are incredible, but what about natural-celebrated festivals? Nothing beats the natural phenomena that occur every year at specific times. Let us take a look at the best of these incredible sights, which are celebrated and cherished by people all over the world.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan
If you can visit Japan in March/April, you will be in for a visual treat. The ‘Sakura Matsuri’ (Cherry Blossom Festival) marks the start of Spring. The blooming of cherry blossoms is a highly anticipated and celebrated event in Japan. During this time, Japan’s cherry trees bloom for less than a week, and the sight is phenomenal. Forests, riverbeds, canals, streets, and fields all are covered with pink blooms. The Japanese continue to practice the age-old tradition of ‘hanami’ (cherry blossom viewing) picnics and parties held under the fleeting beauty of blossoming trees. There are many varieties of cherry trees in Japan, with some of the most prevalent being Somei Yoshino, Yamazakura, and Shidarezakura.
Most places in Japan witness stunning flower displays, but some of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan include Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi in Tokyo, Maruyama Park in Kyoto, and Hirosaki Castle Park in Aomori. These destinations draw large crowds of both locals and tourists. Traditional performances, food stalls, and evening illuminations are all common elements of these festivals. The season starts in February and stretches till early May in colder regions like Hokkaido. The Cherry Blossom season is unpredictable and changes from year to year. It is best to follow forecasts and keep your itinerary flexible if you want to experience this jaw-dropping display.
Place: Many Places in Japan
The Wildebeest Migration, Kenya & Tanzania
The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration is a phenonomenal wildlife spectacle that occurs every year. Around 1.5 million wildebeest, as well as hordes of zebras, gazelles, and impalas, migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of water and green grasslands. The animals travel over 3000 kilometers from north to south, a long and seemingly endless journey. Their movements attract predators such as lions, cheetahs, and crocodiles, and many mammals fall prey to them. During migration, the abundance of prey sustains these predators and their cubs. It is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to witness an amazing sight where only the fittest survive.
Throughout the year, the migration follows a consistent pattern. During the dry season, the herds migrate from the southern Serengeti to the central Serengeti, and during the wet season, they migrate to the northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara. The exact timing and route may vary from year to year depending on weather conditions. The Wildebeest Migration is best seen between July and August when the animals cross the crocodile-infested River Mara in large numbers. It has been dubbed “the greatest wildlife show on Earth”.
The Wildebeest Migration is not only a breathtaking natural spectacle, but also a complex ecological phenomenon that highlights the interconnectedness of species and ecosystems in the African savannah. This is an experience that every wildlife enthusiast should put on their bucket list.
Place: Kenya and Tanzania
Tulip Festival, Netherlands
The Tulip Festival in the Netherlands is a world-renowned event that celebrates the blooming of tulips by showcasing vibrant fields covered in a blanket of flowers. The festival is typically held in the spring, from late March to early May, depending on the weather and location within the Netherlands. The Tulip Festival showcases an incredible variety of tulip varieties, each with its own unique hues and shapes. This picturesque display of blooming tulips can be seen in over 85 locations in Amsterdam, including hotel gardens, museums, notable buildings, and public areas. Visitors can see tulips in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, and white, among others.
The best place to admire the blooming flower is at the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, only 30 minutes from the center of Amsterdam. 7 million flower bulbs are planted across 32 hectares of fields in the beautiful flower park. Tourists from all over the world flock to the Netherlands in April to witness this breathtaking vision of endless tulip fields in a riot of colors.
Date: April 1st – April 30th, 2024
Northern Light, Arctic Circle
Witnessing the Northern Lights is a dream for everyone. The exquisite beauty of the oscillating lights of various shapes and forms dancing across the sky is something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occurs when eclectically charged particles from the Sun collide with oxygen and nitrogen as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Electric blue, pink, green, and violet shimmer across the black sky, creating an ethereal experience.
Between late September and late March, the natural phenomenon can be seen in several locations including Iceland, Norway, Alaska, and Finland. Visibility is affected by pollution, precipitation, and the clarity of the dark sky. You can plan all you want, but there’s no guarantee you’ll see this extraordinary spectacle. However, the sight is so rare and spectacular that it is worth taking a chance and planning a trip to chase the elusive lights soaring across the sky. Observing the Northern Lights from this unique hotel is a magical experience.
The year 2024 is expected to be a fantastic year to see the Northern Lights due to the expected peak in solar activity. This peak, known as the Solar Maximum, occurs every 11 years as part of the Sun’s 11-year cycle. The Solar Maximum is expected to occur between January and October 2024, with the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in the autumn of 2024. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the aurora, try to plan a trip this year.
Place: Arctic Circle
Date: Late September – Late March
It is not an easy task to plan and execute these festival vacations. Hotel and flight prices would be through the roof, crowds and traffic would be insane, and you would spend a fortune. However, you may be lucky enough to witness a spectacle that you will cherish for years to come. If you are interested in something unusual, check out mysterious destinations in the world.