After going to Holi in India and Coachella in California, I want to experience other festivals around the world! What are some of the best and most impressive festivals in the world and why? It can be any type; food, music, dance, craft, cultural? Thanks!
You can not miss the Venice Carnival, it's a great experience to see all those costumes and masks. You have been to India, so next time you go there attend the Pushkar Festival in Rajasthan, it is one of the world's largest camel fairs and also carries religious significance for the Hindus. You can be there in October-November every year.
Hoi An Ancient Town- The Hoi An Lantern Festival that takes place every full moon is just magical. The city switches off its electricity for a few hours at night and everything functions only by lamp and candlelight. Lanterns are floated down the Thu Bon river and you can play traditional games and eat at stalls by the riverside. If you are in Vietnam during a full moon, Hoi An is the place to be.
If you're able to, Burning Man in Black Rock City is amazing. I have a great time every year there and learn a lot about myself. There's music, art, inspiring people, creative installations, every activity imaginable, community, spirituality, camping, and more.
The Palio in Siena, Italy. Bareback horserace around the central square of the beautiful medieval city on July 2 and August 16th. Authentic event, not a show for tourists! I'd recommend going a few days befit the race to experience trial races, dinners in the streets, and the energy and tension that builds up to race day. Seriously incredible! You'll have to book a hotel early.
Here are two ideas for festivals in August, so you can plan ahead:
The International Jazz Festival in Montreal, Canada end of June beginning of July every year. A must, lots of free outdoor shows. It's the best way to indulge in nown, unnown parformers from arround the world.
Gion Festival Kyoto-Japan
Date: 1-31 July
This festival, one of the three largest in Japan, along with the Kanda Festival in Tokyo and the Tenjin Festival in Osaka. It lasts for almost a month and starts with the ceremonial Mikoshiarai (washing of the portable shrines) on the 10th through to the Kankou Festival on the 24th as its centerpiece, it spreads over the whole of Kyoto's Shijo-douri.
The tradition started nearly 1100 years ago when, as a prayer for the end of plague, a total of 66 pikes (one for each of the provinces) were made and sent with portable shrines to Shinsen-en. The Festival reaches its peak on the 17th, with the Yamaboko Float Parade (Yamaboko Jyunkou).
The city becomes a magic place where past and present meet. The songs, the chants, the smell of the scent, the amazing traditional Japanese costumes which you won't have a chance to see in other time of the year - all this is amazing as an experience. The food is always tasty, but in this period you can try many traditional dishes and experience the late night culture of the city. I would highly recommend to join the crowd there.
Oktoberfest in Munich! Obviously it's a festival centered around beer, but you get a little German culture and history thrown in as well :)
In Ireland, every September, there is a (relatively) little boutique music festival, in the countryside in Stradbally that is often blessed with good weather (which, believe me is a great thing in Ireland!) It is quirky with art installations, politics and comedy tents as well as zen gardens and wellness centres. It is sustainable and purports to look after both body and soul. It is really well organised and even the food tents are good. This year there is a really good music line-up too (Blur, Sam Smith, Florence and the Machine, Interpol, Despacio are just some of the acts announced ) The vibe is always chilled and it turns into an end of golden-days-of-summer blast. check it out here:
Fallas in Valencia.
At the end of February, the Fallas season kicks off with La Despertá, the awakening, when people walk down the narrow streets towards the City Hall throwing fireworks. It's loud and smoky, but so very Valencian. That evening is typically, La Crida, the more serious side of this festival opening where the Fallera Mayor de Valencia (the elected queen of the festival, essentially) will give a speech, Falla groups gather, there's a procession to the Basilica, and there are fireworks.
By March 14th, large paper maché monuments/statues are erected in every space in the city and across the region blocking intersections and completely stopping all traffic along many main roads. Falla groups celebrate with streets filled with paella, bands and parades. There are churros, chocolate, and buñelos served at stands all around the city. You'll see mini mascletás at random and people dressed in exquisite costumes. The entire city celebrates and it's just phenomenal.
On March 17-18th, processions of Falla groups assemble to bring flower offerings to the giant Virgen de los Desamparados figure created out of flowers during the festival. It's very emotional for locals and is the serious side of this festival. These nights are also nights of some of the most amazing fireworks displays that I've ever seen.
On March 19th, there is a "Cabalgada del Fuego" - parade of fire that begins just past the Plaza de Toros de Valencia, and a beautiful Moros y Cristianos parade at Almirante just afterwards. This is the date that it all culminates with the burning of all of the Falla Monuments. It's called La Cremá. Firemen stand by to control the burning, but each one will be doused with gas and filled with fireworks, then set on fire and people watch until they burn completely to the ground. By the next day, the city is completely returned to normal.
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Electric Forest in Michigan - End of June.
The Sherwood Forest is amazing!! Look up some photos on google to get an idea but being there in person is 10 times better!! Very relaxing and chill environment and amazing people!
Then 2nd best, but was for years the best one www.rockwerchter.be (dance, pop, rock) in Werchter, Belgium and 3rd you have www.pukkelpop.be (pop, rock) in Kiewit/HasseltBelgium
Then you have also a very good festival in the Netherlands (not far from Belgium) and that is www.pinkpop.nl (dance, pop, rock)
These 4 are the best in the Benelux.
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Hogmany over New Years in Edinburgh no one knows how to party like the Scots
Any of the major festivals in Bhutan are AMAZING! Very few tourists and dances in costume (animals and deities) that tell legends and stories. All the Bhutanese wear their traditional clothing (all the time!) but with their best for the festivals. Once in a lifetime experience.
Songkran is the Thai New Year festival which takes place around mid-April. In the bigger cities and tourist spots it turns into a complete water gun battle/party in the streets. Bangkok and Chiang Mai are likely the most intense places to celebrate but it can be celebrated throughout the rest of the country as well.
La Tomatina Buñol thousands of people out to have fun meet in a long narrow street and fight with tomatoes. Too much fun.
There are numerous of festivals around the world that can offer you a great experience. The most famous is the Rio de Janeiro Carnival held before Lent every year and considered the biggest carnival in the world with 2 million people per day on the streets. You will see numerous samba dancers clad in beautiful as well as colorful outfits.
You can also attend the Chinese New Year in China also known as the Spring Festival, that runs run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese also celebrate the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival which is such a treat to the eyes. It is festival exhibiting the most exquisite ice and snow sculptures in the world.
The best amongst all is the Tomorrowland that is held in Boom of Belgium. It is held in the month of July and trust me you will love it!
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The Philippines practically have festivals every month but the most notable and grandest are held in four major cities - Dinagyang in Iloilo City & Sinulog in Cebu City both in January, Kadayawan in Davao City every August and Masskara Festival every October in Bacolod. Mostly giving thanks for bountiful harvests, showcasing the beauty of its locals and parading its colorful artworks.
For those who prefer flower festivals, Baguio celebrates Panagbenga Festival during February with floats of beautiful flowers.
Music lovers? Mindoro celebrates Malasimbo Festival
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Diwali is the biggest festival in India. Its the festival of lights and celebrated in almost all parts of India.
Other than This Hems festival is also quite Intresting. Its the biggest fetsival of Buddhist community and celebrated in the the ladakh region of India.
La Tomatina festival is also very interesting and is celebrated in a small town Buñol which is near to Valencia in Spain.
So many great responses! Some that I would add:
1) Pingxi Fire Lantern Festival in Taipei City which happens in March. Similar to the one in Thailand, you spend the evening writing well wishes to the ancestors on a lantern then lighting and releasing it up to the sky. If you sign up in advance, you can take part in the groups that release them altogether which makes for one of the most memorable experiences! They have tons of great local food stalls and drinks that add onto the adventure.
2) I'm doing this one in July, but I've heard amazing things about the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia which is 3 days (July 11-13) of action packed local Mongolian sport and culture. I'm staying in the city but for those more adventurous, you can drive out to the countryside and be a part of the nomadic locals that do their own version of Naadam.