Festivals around the world

07 Sep Carnivals around the world!

Carnivals, festivals, parties – all of these are brilliant ways to experience a culture!

Wherever you may go, whatever may be your destination; a celebration is a fantastic way to be involved in another community’s history and culture in a unique and an unorthodox way.

But with so many diverse cultures and an assortment of different festivals, which ones are the most exciting? Which ones are the ones you must see at least once in your life?

This article puts together a collection of the top 7 festivals and carnivals around the world to make your travels that much more filled with colour, joy and enthusiasm! Partake in these and live life a little fuller!

Celebrations bring out the child in everyone, and so if you are travelling the world, make sure to visit these amazing festivals and carnivals. These carnivals will post will fuel your wanderlust and make your Bucket list super long!

Top 7 Carnivals and Festivals

Top Festivals and Carnivals

Everyone likes travelling around the world. A lot of us visit places from one of the globe to the other. But most of us do not experience the local culture to their fullest. Festivals are the very essence of culture, and hence with this list, we will you experience the local culture to the fullest!

Whether you are looking for the ultimate cultural experience, the glamour of a festival or the sheer joy of and the nostalgic childishness of a carnival, there is something here for everyone! So, let us dive right into it.

The top 7 celebrations that one must visit around the world are:

  1. Carnevale (Venice)
  2. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival (Scotland)
  3. Mardi Gras (USA)
  4. Oktoberfest (Germany)
  5. La Tomatina (Spain)
  6. Carnaval Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  7. Dia de los Muertos (Mexico)

And so, these are some of the most popular and famous carnivals, festivals and celebrations around our little rock called Earth. It does not matter where you are from and what culture you originate, visit these places during the time of these festivals and party like never before. Life is about living, so live it to the fullest!

Carnevale — Venice, Italy

Carnevale Venice

Up first on the list of these carnivals and festivals is this spectacular one! Carnevale, or “Carnival,” has been a traditional Venetian festival from all the way back in the 13th century. This is a masked party, and people flock from all over the farthest corners of the globe to participate in the masked celebrations. In fact, this carnival is arguably one of the best mascaraed parties on Earth!

What is the History of the Festival?

This carnival was first held publicly all the way back in the 11th Century, and constituted of over 2 whole months of partying, revelry and merriment. This carnival has its roots in Pegan festivals and traditions, but was later instituted into as a catholic celebration!

When is it Celebrated?

Carnevale is a two – week – long festivities filled fun fest! The dates of this celebration are from the 14th of Feb to the 4th of 4th of March. It is the final party before Ash Wednesday and the restrictions of Lent for Christians.

How is the Carnival Celebrated?

There are daily events and festivities that are held every night throughout the streets of Venice. Thousands of people come dressed up in costumes and wander around the city, taking in the revelry and gaiety of the event! There are special mascaraed balls organised as well, along with Gondola and Boat parades too!

Up Helly Aa Fire Festival – Lerwick, ScotlandUp Helly AA Fire Festival

Next on the list is this ‘fiery’ festival Up Helly Aa. This is celebrated throughout Scotland but primarily has its heart in the small town of Lerwick. This is not one festival but rather a compilation of several fire festivals held annually here. The festival involves a procession of thousands of locals embracing their origin and dressing up as Vikings and marching down the street!

What is the History of the Festival?

Up Helly Aa first started off on an old Christmas eve in 1840s, when the entire town come upon a sudden uproar and celebrated the coming Yule season. For over 12 hours there was constant festivities and celebration. 

When is it Celebrated?

This festival is celebrated in the middle of Winter and has become a tradition to mark the emergence of Yule and the New Year! That is your festive window!

How is it Celebrated?

If you were to go there in the midst of the festival without context, you would think you were in the middle of a war zone! The Scots, being the hardcore folk that they are celebrate this event with the blaring of horns, beating of drums, tinkling of old tin kettles, firing of guns, shouting, bawling, drinking, making merry, and of course – fighting!

They even walk around town in Viking armour, holding up torches and singing war anthems loudly on the streets. This extravaganza culminates with the locals burning down an entire Viking ship, as shown in the picture besides.

Mardi Gras – New Orleans

Mardi Gras New Orleans

“Oh, I thought my life would be a Mardi Gras!”

Those famous words were sung in the William Tennessee literary classic play A Streetcar Named Desire, and have echoed through eternity ever since. It is a statement that signifies that you are going to let loose, have fun and not care about a worry in the world!

What is the History of the Festival?

This festival was first started in Mobile, Alabama and is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States. It was started by Frenchman Nicholas Langlois in 1703 when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and his friends decided to throw him a party like none other. The World parties with him now!

When is it Celebrated?

This festival is celebrated on the first Tuesday of every March annually.

How is it Celebrated?

The reputation of this festival precedes itself. Over the years Mardi Gras has become synonymous with hedonism and debauchery, profligacy and the purest essence of the modern term “YOLO”. If there is one motto of that encapsulates the feeling of Mardi Gras it is: Let the good times roll! It is how you would live life if you had one day left on Earth. There are many parades and floats and costumed people but the essence of the festival is revellers getting totally merry and famously flashing body parts while onlooks chuck sweets at them. If you want to party like there is no tomorrow, then catch a one – way ticket to New Orleans today – because there may not be!

Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest Germany

Oktoberfest, the next entry on this list is another clobber knocker slugfest of a carnival of unparalleled levels! It is famously dubbed Disney Land for adults, and rightly so! It is the world’s largest Volksfest – a beer and travelling fun fair. It is a 16 – 18 – day folk festival where people from all over the world come and drink beer together, and make merry. In fact, it is said that on average over 7.7 litres of beer is consumed every year at this mega event, and more than 6 million people from over the world come to celebrate it in Germany!

What is the History of the Festival?

The carnival of Oktoberfest initially began as a wedding celebration in 1810, when the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig weded Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. In the celebration, all of the citizens of the county were invited. Since then, the festival remained and has only grown larger with each year!

When is it Celebrated?

The celebrations will start on the 16th of Sept and end on the 4th of Oct this year. Plan your trip to Munich this autumn and be a part of this spectacle. For flight booking to Munich, you can use makemytrip offers in order to trim down your travel expenditure. Also, for hotel booking you can try Expedia.

How is it Celebrated?

Oktoberfest is celebrated by drinking beer. Litres and litres of beer! It is a 15-day long festival which includes fun games and activities which can turn even the most mature and grown men to kids. This festival started off as a hoity – toity upscale dinner, but has since grown to be crass, butch and very prolifically entertaining carnival.

This festival has grown to include events such as horse races, a plethora of games, rides, 24 / 7 music, and the heart of the party – beer!

And so, boys put your mugs up high and welcome to Adult Disneyland!

La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain

La Tomatina Spain

Welcome to the World’s Biggest Food Fight!

Do you remember as kids how you would have food fights with your friends or siblings? Now imagine that celebrated as a national festival. It is you against… an entire city! La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, and involved you throwing smashed tomatoes are absolute strangers wherever you see them! Take part in this ‘saucy’ festival – it is a brilliant way to get to know locals, or ‘ketchup’ with some old pals!

What is the History of the Festival?

This is one of the few popular festivals of the world where the origin is not known to anyone. But legend goes that a tomato fight had taken place in Buñol in 1944, with more than a 100 – people partaking in it. It became a tradition since then!

When is it Celebrated?

The biggest food fight in the world occurs every year on the 30th of August!

How is it Celebrated?

The way this festival is celebrated is really simple. Over 20,000 tomatoes are brought into the city plaza and people gather there and throw them at one another! This festival was also made famous by the Bollywood super hit movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!

Dia de los Muertos – Mexico

Day of the Dead Mexico

Día de Los Muertos – The day of the dead! This carnival is the Halloween of all festivals. This macabre and spooky festival celebrates All Saint’s Day, which remembers and honours all those who have passed in the year. The people don ghostly costumes and present a ghoulish display. This festival was also shown in the opening scene of the latest James Bond movie Spectre. Día de Los Muertos is a day you don’t want to miss at any cost!

What is the History of the Festival?

This tradition is actually one of the oldest in the world. This day was celebrated by the Aztecs some 3,000 years ago. When the Spanish arrived, they considered this celebration as sacrilegious, but later warmed up to it. It has been celebrated from that day, and has become an integral part of the Mexican identity ever since! 

When is it Celebrated?

2nd of November is when Mexican celebrate their dead and honour their memory.

How is it Celebrated?

To celebrate this auspicious day, altars are usually bedecked with flowers. candles, pan de Muertos, some homemade ceramic skulls, and most importantly pictures of loved ones! People also place food on the altars – usually their loved ones’ favourite dishes and treats. The Mexican believe that the spirits of the dead visit on this day and so they even place drinks at the altar to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey back home. All of this, combined with the petrifying costumes and morose imagery everywhere form an extremely chilling and morbidly fascinating sight!

Carnaval de Brazil – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil Carnival

Often called the greatest visual spectacular the Carnaval de Brazil is a feast for photographers! Up last on this list is the mother of all carnivals – one which is so grand that it can put all others to shame! This is an absolute must to – do on your buck list. The people of Brazil party on a level which is unmatched world over.

So, make a trip to the riotous city of samba schools, colours, heat, flesh, floats, parades and most of all – pure carnal fun! From flashy dresses, gigantic floats, bustling streets, tantalizing foods and a roar from the crowd so loud even deaf people can hear; Brazil puts the ‘carnal’ in carnival! This extravaganza is nothing like you have seen before!

What is the History of the Festival?

This celebration was originally, a food festival since it was the last time to eat abundantly before the 40 days of Lent. Since then, it has become a global phenomenon of absolute outer – worldly proportions.

When is it Celebrated?

This visual feast is celebrated from the 9th till the 14th of Feb. It is estimated that there are over 2 million people on the streets each day during this fest!

How is it Celebrated?

The Carnaval de Brazil is celebrated with a plethora of colour, festivities, song, dance, merriment, jollity, samba, samba… and much more samba! People wear masks and profligate costumes, usually flashy in nature, symbolic of an animal or a mystical creature, and celebrate with all their heart while the sound of drums fills the air. At this time, Brazil has an atmosphere which is pure fun, love, and exhilaration!

And so here were the most thrilling and electrifying carnivals and festivals of the world that you must go to! These have the potential to change your life. A day spent at any of these festivals will make you realize how much there is to life, not to mention how much you get to know about the local culture and tradition!

So, there you have it! 7 absolutely remarkable carnivals and festivals to make you experience the different side of life. A festive, cheerful and jovial side! Take a break from the monotonous hum – drum of life and travel the world.

At the end of the day, what matters most is the memories that you make in life.

Partake in these celebrations and make some memories worth remembering!

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Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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