One of the most popular attractions in cities all over the world is festivals. That is when you have the opportunity to learn about all sorts of traditions and a particular nation’s culture. It is also when you can enjoy celebrations, costumes, good food, lots of people, and amazing rituals. Dancers rehearse all year long for a certain festival, and the show is one to remember. Looking for such cities is not difficult. You have various ways to learn about them and book tickets. The internet is an amazing tool for that. Not only that you can find out valuable information, but you can also know ahead of time if a particular festival is worth the trip or not. Most of them are, which is why choosing only one may prove to be a difficult task. Below you will find ten destinations that host a few of the most beautiful and entertaining festivals in the world.
10. Accra, Ghana
There are several festivals in Acra as well, but two of them are the most popular. The first is Homowo Festival that takes place in August or September. It is a colorful event that consists of sprinkling the ‘kpokpoi,’ which is the festival dish, to the gods and ancestors. The locals do that for spiritual protection. Also, twins are paraded through the streets; you can see traditional drum songs and a lot of dancing. It is a joyous festival that is interesting to watch. You will also have much fun. The second festival worth mentioning is Asofotufiam Festival. It is held on the first Saturday of August. It is meant to celebrate the warriors and their fall in battle. There are re-enactments, purification ceremonies, and firing of musketry.
9. Batumi, Georgia
Batumi is the second largest city in Georgia and each year hosts a few interesting festivals that you may find appealing. First, there is the Batumi Art World of Nations Folk Dances Festival. It lasts five days at the beginning of July. It is held in a beautiful location near the Black Sea, and you get to see all kinds of performances. Folklore dances are very interesting and beautiful. You will surely enjoy it. In September you can enjoy some remarkable classical music at Batumi MusicFest. It is dedicated to Georgia folklore, and performers all over Europe come to sing there. You can listen to pianos, violins, cellos, and much more, but you can also enjoy entire orchestras. It will be an event you will always remember. It is an event where music is the universal language.
8. Krakow, Poland
Krakow is a city with a big cultural depth, which is why there are plenty of festivals all year round. In February there is the International Shanty Festival. Bring your parrot and an eyepatch for a weekend you will never forget. There are shows, contests, and delicious food. People from all the world come to participate, and they have a blast. In April you can participate in Tolerance festival. Things seem to get better and better each year for minorities, which is something to be celebrated. There are film screenings, meetings, discussions, and it all ends with a march throughout the city to support tolerance. If you are a photographer, in May, Krakow hosts an annual Month of Photography. There are numerous exhibitions all over town, even in bars and cafes, but in more special locations like Schindler’s Factory as well. You can also go for the Krakow Theatrical Reminiscence in October, Juwenalia and International Soup Festival in May, or the Krakow Film Festival in June. They are all beautiful events that gather people from all over. They are fun, interesting, and educative so that you can bring your children as well.
7. Bareilly, India
India has plenty of festivals, but they tend to be religious and spiritual events more than anything else. Even so, you have to respect that there is more than one culture in this world, and a successful festival is not defined by fun and entertainment alone. Bareilly festivals are known as spiritual canvases of the soul. There are about 40 festivals all year, like Diwali, Holi, Maha-Shivratri, Eid-ulAdha, which are held all over the country. They are celebrated with magnificence and joy, and people come from all the regions nearby to witness the event. However, there are a few festivals that are specific to the region. The most notable is Jashan-E-Chiraga. It is a famous event held at the Khan KhayeNiyaziyadargah, and it is meant to celebrate the lights. Every single devotee that comes to the celebration lights up a lamp and performs an emotional and deep ritual. It is extraordinary to watch, especially from afar. To see all those lights at the shrine is something out of this world.
6. Odessa, Ukraine
Odessa is a beautiful city on the shores of the Black Sea, and each year it hosts several festivals, one more interesting than the other. For example, the Ukrainians who live in this region have a festival that is dedicated to tomatoes. Odessa is known for its tasty tomatoes, and there are several kinds you can try. The culinary event takes place in the heart of the city, and there will be tomatoes everywhere you look. It is quite the festival for a simple fruit. However, people there seem to love it. Everywhere you go, there will be tomatoes. Even bars serve Bloody Marys or other tomato-based cocktails. Another festival you do not want to miss in Odessa takes place at the end of August. It is called Jazz Koktebel Festival, and it is a very large open air jazz event. You can stay on the beach and listen to amazing music. There are many people who come from all over Europe, and not only, and they enjoy the high-quality music. There are also souvenir vendors, the food is in large quantities, and the beer never stops flowing.
5. Vientiane, Laos PDR
Laos has a festival almost every month. The word for festival is ‘boun,' which also means doing good in the interest of gaining merit in future lives. The festivals are fun, and everyone is welcome. However, remember that all festivals in Laos are based on religious beliefs, so make sure to keep an open mind and be respectful. One of the most popular festivals is Boun Ok Phansa and Boat Racing Festival. It takes place after the three-month period in which the monks fast. During the first day, at dawn, people make donations and bring offerings to the temples around the city. After sunset, there are candlelight processions, and hundreds of floats beautifully decorated with flowers of all colors are set adrift on the Mekong River to honor the river spirit. The next day, there are boat races on the same river. It is a beautiful, spiritual experience that you will surely love to watch. That Luang Festival is held at That Luang Stupa, which is the national symbol of Laos. There are monks from all over the country who come to accept alms from the people. The event consists of fireworks shows, and during the day there is an international trade fair. Since this is the largest festival in Laos, there are thousands of tourists who come every year. That is no surprise considering the fact that the festival is something worth experiencing.
4. Danang, Vietnam
Vietnam should also be on your list with amazing festivals. After the Lunar New Year people hold the Whale Festival. Cau Ngu Festival takes place in several locations, and people are asking for peace in their lives because they always face complicated situations at sea. The Guan Yin Festival lasts three days and consists of two parts. There is the ceremony, and then there is the festival. During the ceremony, the altar is dressed in colorful flags and accessories. All families present must present an offering and put it on the altar. You can see how fishers decorate their boats with flowers and lanterns. The purpose is to please the God of the sea. There are many tourists each year. The festival includes dance performances, traditional games, cultural activities, and sports. Another festival that belongs to Danang is An Hai Village Festival. Its purpose is to remind the people of the magnificent past. There are several activities you can enjoy, but the most popular are the songs.
3. Penang Island, Malaysia
Penang’s population is dominated by Chinese people, so as you can imagine, their festivals are colorful and entertaining. However, every ethnic group has a festival of its own. Hari Raya and Hari Raya Aidiladha is for Muslims, the Chinese New Year and Wesak Day is for the Buddhists, and the Hindus celebrate Deepavali and Thaipusam. Since you cannot join them all, one of the most entertaining events is Bon Odori Festival, which is a Japanese version of the Chinese’s Hungry Ghost Festival. All the Japanese expatriates hold a carnival to honor their ancestors. It is a beautiful, colorful festival that is interesting to watch. Another festival that is worth the trip is the Nine Emperor God Festival. The event is held for nine days. It starts on the first day of the lunar month and ends on the ninth. It is said that the spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods come down to earth and possess the spirits mediums, who are put in a trance. Many devotees will adopt a vegetarian diet during that period, and an opera show will take place. During those nine days, you will enjoy several events like the Spear Skewing Ceremony, the Making of the Herbal Medicine, and the Fire Walking Ceremony. It is a wonderful festival.
2. Gujarat, India
India has a vivid culture. Therefore the need for festivals is intense. But rest assured that there are plenty of such events where the performers dance like nobody is watching. The festivals of Gujarat are nothing if not opportunities to dance, eat, and have a good time. Navratri is the most popular festival in Gujarat. It is one of the most vibrant events in all of India. The festival lasts ten days; the people perform a Durga Pooja and enjoy the music and dance. The entire event is simply a lively celebration that displays the culture of Gujarat. The people choose to do it through music and dance. You can join the festival and put on an ethnic Gujarati costume. You will deeply enjoy it. The Rann Utsav festival is when the white desert is combined with the cultural heritage. The men with the renowned mustaches and pagris perform rhythmic strums with their ravanahathas. The event takes place in the fall, and people from all over the country come for an amazing experience in Gujarat. You can enjoy cultural experiences, the best Gujarat crafts, and handlooms; you can stay in the tent city, and you can go on tours and safaris in Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary. It will be an experience you will always remember.
1. Santo Tomas, Philippines
When it comes to festivals, Philippines has no chance of staying off your list. Santo Tomas, however, only has one. Since there is a single festival in town, the locals have decided to organize something grand every year. And you will never guess what they are celebrating. It is corn. They have the Corn Festival of Santo Tomas. Before losing interest, keep in mind that this festival can be compared to the ones you see in Rio. It must be one of the most colorful festivals on earth. There are thousands of dancers, and the costumes look like the inside of a 120 coloring pencils box. They look amazing. Moreover, the energy these people transmit when they perform will make you dance against your will.
Festivals are a lot of fun, but they are also meant to teach you about the culture of a particular nation. If you go to such an event with the sole purpose of having fun, then you will learn nothing. You need to learn to watch closely and slowly absorb the culture of a certain country. Only by doing that you will feel enriched. The destinations above can provide precisely that.