A celebration is the best window to the culture of a place. But some celebrations and festivals go beyond and actually become an iconic symbol that come to represent that culture and the people. Below is a list of worldwide festivals that are not restricted to a single country or culture but have transcended into global phenomena, tempting all travellers to experience them at least once in their lifetime!
Referred to as ‘Fat Tuesday’, ‘Pancake Tuesday’ and ‘Shrove Tuesday’, Mardi Gras is one of the most celebrated festivals across the world. Characterised by parades and parties, the event marks the period before the fasting season of Lent. Belgium, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden and United States are some of the places where massive Mardi Gras celebrations are held.
Halloween is a traditional festival celebrated all over the world. Observed on 31st October every year, this extremely popular festival is best characterised by costume parties, lighting bonfires and apple bobbing. Playing trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns and watching horror movies are some of the most popular traditions associated with the festival.
St. Patricks Day
Held annually on 17th March, St Patricks Day is a religious and cultural festival originated in Ireland. Also known as Feast of Saint Patrick, the festival is characterised by grand parades, and music and dance sessions. Wearing green clothes and accessories are customary practices associated with the festival since the early 16th century. Along with Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Scotland and Britain celebrate the day with much enthusiasm.
Marking the Thai New Year, Songkran is one of the best loved festivals of Thailand and remains particularly popular among the tourists in the country. Held annually on 13th April, this festival will treat you to the region’s incredible festivities that include fun-filled water-fights and general revelries. Along with Thailand, Singapore is the best place to enjoy Songkran celebrations.
First held in 1810, Oktoberfest is the largest Volksfest in the world. Best known for the grand parades, fairs and other events, this festival is celebrated for 16-18 days across the world with perhaps the most special festivities in Bavaria and Munich, Germany. Beer barrel tapping and riflemen parade are the most famous highlights at the fest. Most breweries only offer specially crafted beer during the festival period.
Held annually before Lent, Rio Carnival is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the world. Famed for its grand samba school parades, choreographed dances, live shows, and fests and fairs, the Carnival has people from all corners of the globe land in Brazil. Beautifully dressed dancers, decorated flags and folk songs are major highlights of the festival.
Popularly known as ‘Shangyuan Festival’, Lantern Festival is another top global event. Held on the 15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar, this cultural festival is celebrated by flying beautifully decorated lanterns, singing and dancing and feasting. As a part of popular tradition, children carry paper lanterns to temples, solve riddles and enjoy games and sports. Also on the day, people visit the local temples in order to offer prayers to the local deity. Tangyuan, a giant ball made of rice filled with sesame paste, peanut butter and sweet red bean paste is a must try dish during the festival.
Held annually across different cities of Spain, La Tomatina is a fun festival celebrated with tomato! First held in August 1945, this popular event is billed as the world’s biggest food fight and is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Spain. Throwing smashed tomatoes on each other, singing and dancing, and partying and feasting is what this festival is all about.