It’s safe to say that among us travellers one of the biggest allures are the captivating festivals held across the globe! Many of us even plan our entire travel calendar around such events, and no wonder! After all, what better way to get in touch with a particular culture than participating in one of its biggest celebrations?
And so with 2017 just beginning, lets take a look at The 10 Most Colourful Festivals In The World!
Venice Carnival (Italy)
For the 12 days leading up to Shrove Tuesday Venice transforms in to something so otherworldly you feel like you’ve stepped straight back in time! Stretching right back to the 15th century the Venice Carnival is two weeks of enchanting masks, costumes, music and dance. Masked balls are another popular tradition, making for a true fairy-tale experience!
Sky Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
Held on the first full-moon of the year, this Taiwanese festival sees shops, homes and parks decorated with glowing lanterns! At night hundreds of these lanterns are released in to the air, carrying with them the dreams and wishes of the people who let them go! Sometimes dubbed ‘Chinese Valentines Day’ the festival is also considered an auspicious day to meet a romantic partner.
The Japanese adore their children, and nothing demonstrates this quite like Hinamatsuri; AKA the Doll Festival! This day sees little girls donning traditional kimono and enjoying special meals, as those around them pray for their health and happiness. Hinamatsuri also sees exquisite arrangements of dolls in traditional dress being set up in homes, while in some regions paper dolls are sent floating down rivers to carry away bad luck or illness.
Holi marks two very special days in the Indian calendar where for once everyone is equal. Normally severe distinctions of class, caste, age and gender are put aside as people come together to welcome in the spring. Also known as the Festival of Colours, Holi sees people throw brightly coloured paints at each other in what is doubtlessly the most fun – and feel-good – celebration on earth!
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival (Korea)
Cherry blossoms are a breath-taking sight across all of Korea, but those in the city of Jinhae are especially impressive! Every year around 2 million visitors flock to see the beautiful cherry blossoms lining the streets and parks of Jinhae. And things impossibly only get more pretty at night, when the bridges and rivers are illuminated with coloured lights and romantic decorations!
For five days each autumn the homes and shops of India are lit up for the Hindu Festival of Lights; Divali. During this time beautiful,handcrafted lamps called diyas are lit. Piles of coloured rice transformed in intricate patterns on the floor known as rangoli. And sumptuous family feasts, prayers and fireworks mark other highlights of this dazzling celebration!
This German festival embraces all the good things in life; good company, good food and most importantly; good beer. In fact a mind-boggling 7 million litres of beer are guzzled during this merry fare! But it’s not just about the booze; other delights include parades, music, dancing and fairground attractions. Not to mention traditional Barvarian garb – which is completely optional, of course!
Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand)
What makes this festival unique is that it’s not intended for people. The stars of this particular show are in fact monkeys! The Monkey Buffet Festival sees gigantic pyramids of fruit, veg and cakes piled in front of ancient temples; all for the enjoyment of the local macaque population! While humans may not be allowed to tuck in to this feast themselves, they are welcome to join in the festivities by admiring this (rather messy) spectacle or dressing up in monkey masks or costumes.
Day of the Dead (Mexico)
While the theme of this holiday may appear morbid, this colourful celebration’s anything but! Originating from the Aztec belief that mourning the dead is disrespectful, this festival instead celebrates the lives of those who’ve passed; embracing death with a smile. Alters bedecked in colourful flowers, candles and favourite foods as set up for deceased loved ones, while candlelit vigils are held by gravesides and people dress up in skull themed make-up and costumes!
Nobody knows how to welcome in the new year quite like the Scots. They welcome it in with fire – lots of fire! Believed to stem back to Viking celebrations of the winter solstice, Hogmany is celebrated during the last three days of the year. These three days include a torchlight procession through the streets, bonfires, fireworks and lively street parties! The rather barmy Loony Dook charity run is another highly anticipated event, as costumed runners bravely take a dip in the freezing River Forth!
What’s the best festival you’ve ever participated in? What would you like to experience next? Do let me know in the comments!
And if you enjoy learning about colourful cultures why not check out my previous post: Kyoto: Tradition vs Modernity?
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