7 fun-filled festivals around the world

05 September 2019

With summertime officially in swing, festival season is upon us! If you didn't get tickets to the sold-out Electric Picnic, fear not, we’ve rounded up some of the best festivals around the world.

Carnival, Rio de Janeiro


Rio de Janeiro carnival is the most famous festival in Brazil and is world-renowned for the bright colours, impressive costumes and vibrant energy of the revellers who take to the streets to celebrate it. Hear the rumble of samba schools, street bands and ‘blocos’ (carnival blocks) as you take in the buzzing atmosphere of this bustling festival.

When? Carnival takes place from 21-26 February 2020, so you’ve still got plenty of time to get your dance moves ready…

La Tomatina, Valencia

La Tomatina Festival takes place in Buñol, a little village near Valencia, Spain. This unusual festival came about in 1945 and has been celebrated ever since. The festivities begin at 11am, when a ham is placed on top of a greasy pole. Agile locals will scramble on top of one another to claim the jamon, and then the real fun begins, when tomatoes are launched! La Tomatina is essentially one huge food fight. Your ammunition? 150,000 fat tomatoes. Expect it to be one of the most intense and hilarious experiences of your life!

When? The last Wednesday in August each year – this year, it lands on the 28th August.

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Every year, the people of New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for "Fat Tuesday." Beginning on Twelfth Night, the city comes alive with eating, costuming, bead-tossing and parading that increases in intensity as Ash Wednesday nears. On the weekends leading up to Fat Tuesday, parades roll all over town, colossal floats take to the streets and music can be heard wherever you go. Get involved in New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions; eat oysters and king cake, watch parades roll down St. Charles Avenue and tag along with marching krewes as they wind their way into the French Quarter.

When? The celebration is the day before Ash Wednesday, and it begins the season of Lent for many Christians leading up to Easter Sunday.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Mexico

Day of the Dead is a two-day holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (offerings) to honour their departed family members. They create altars that are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favourite foods and drinks of the person they are honouring. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations!

When? Day of the Dead is celebrated on from 31st October - 2nd November annually.

King’s Day, Netherlands

Most countries with royalty celebrate their monarch’s birthday, but nothing quite compares to Dutch celebrations! ‘Koningsdag’ or ‘Kings Day’ sees the Netherlands hold giant open-air markets and paint the town orange in honour of the King’s birthday. Everything possible is covered in orange, from flags, wigs and clothing to revellers’ faces. Why orange, you ask? This colour honours the royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau. The celebrations begin on King’s Day Eve, and the festivities don’t stop for a full 24 hours.

When? Up to a million visitors descend upon Amsterdam on 27 April every year to celebrate the birthday of the reigning Dutch monarch, Willem Alexander.

Songkran, Thailand

Songkran, arguably Thailand’s most famous festival, is an important event on the Buddhist calendar and marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. Some would say Songkran is one big water fight, as throwing and spraying water has become a huge part of the celebrations – be prepared to get splashed! Showing gratitude and love for family is also another aspect of the festival, as is visiting temples to pour water on Buddha images or Buddhist monk’s hands in respect.

When? Songkran Festival takes place in April every year, from the 13th to the 15th.

Oktoberfest, Germany

Oktoberfest is commonly known as ‘the world’s most important beer festival’, though German’s would argue that this doesn’t do justice to the reputation of Oktoberfest! The festival is now celebrated globally, but nowhere hosts festivities like Munich does. Dress up in traditional Bavarian costumes, drink steins of beer and sing (and dance!) your heart out to songs and folklore tunes. It’s an incredible experience for anyone who takes part!

When? Each year the festivals begins in September and ends on the 1st Sunday of October, Oktoberfest 2019 will begin at 12pm on Saturday 21st September and end on Sunday 6th October.

If you feel inspired to experience some of the world's greatest festivals, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today. You'll receive exclusive benefits such as a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and even after your stay.

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