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The best festivals in the world

07.06.2021
Mexican festival Tulum Zamna
© jonesaroundtheworld.com
Sometimes you have to find your own reasons to celebrate to fill your life with new emotions and vivid impressions. Fortunately, the organizers of grandiose events, held year after year in different parts of the world, have already done it for us. After reading a selection of the best festivals in the world, you can once and for all make sure that life is full of bright and amazing events. Looking ahead, it is worth noting that each of these cultural events has all chances to go into the piggy bank of your unforgettable memories.

Oktoberfest in Germany

The famous beer festival and, at the same time, the biggest public festival in the world — Oktoberfest — takes place in late September and early October. It is not only in Munich but also far beyond its borders. The festival lasts for 16 days, during which beer flows like a river and the music does not stop all day long. During the festival, you can see the colorful costume parades and live performances of the best musicians, participate in various competitions, and, of course, taste hundreds of varieties of beer. If you are planning to visit this festival, it is worth booking a hotel in Munich in advance.

Beer tent at the largest folklore festival in the world
Oktoberfest in Munich © FooTToo / Shutterstock
Interior of the tent at Oktoberfest
Ochsenbraterei tent at Oktoberfest in Munich © Takashi Images / Shutterstock

Día de los Muertos — the Day of Dead in Mexico

The Día de los Muertos festival takes place not only in Mexico but also in other Latin American countries. In early November, people gather to honor their deceased relatives and friends. Townspeople prepare sweets, hold carnivals, decorate altars with marigolds, wear themed costumes, and make appropriate makeup for the Day of the Dead. This tradition comes from antiquity. The Aztecs and Mayans believed in the afterlife of Mictlān and considered birth and death a transition from one dimension to another. They also believed that no one goes anywhere. That is why the holiday is considered a spiritual holiday to this day and is perceived as an opportunity to feel a close mental connection with deceased relatives.

Girls in painted masks and candles in their hands at the festival
Day of the Dead in Mexico © i.promecal.es
Calavera Katrina holding a skull on a dark background
Sugar Skull Makeup - Dia de los muertos © Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock

Light Festival in Japan

The amazing Kuwana Light Festival is held from November to March. As part of this event, the Nabana no Sato botanical garden is decorated with millions of LED lights that shine with colorful glow in its gardens and greenhouses. They are used to create various light installations and pictures that amaze even the most sophisticated connoisseur. All the lights are powered by solar panels, which are recharged during the day. One of the most impressive installations is the light tunnel. You can get just incredible pictures in it. Thousands of tourists come here every year to see this mesmerizing beauty.

Decorative lighting in the Nabana no Sato lighting park
Light Festival © SARIN KUNTHONG / Shutterstock
Mount Fuji Winter Illumination at Nabana No Sato
Mount Fuji lighting © TRAN CONG PHUC / Shutterstock

Festival of the Sun — Inti Raymi — in Peru

The festival of Inti Raymi is based on the ancient ceremonies of the Incas and other Indian peoples of the empire. The festival is held every year in Cusco during the winter solstice (June 24). The sun god Inti was considered the forefather of life and the patron saint of the Inca empire of Tahuantinsuyu. The entire peasant population worshipped him to get a good harvest for the coming year. This action was accompanied by sacrifices, dances, rituals, and fortune-telling. Today, the festival of Inti Raymi is no less impressive, with large-scale processions and ceremonies, watching the lighting of the sacred fire, and immersing yourself in the inexpressible atmosphere of the ancient festival.

Celebrating at the Sun Festival
Inti Raimi Sun Festival © explorebyyourself.com
Festival of the Sun
Inti Raimi Festival in Peru © globalextreme.ru

Lantern Festival Yuánxiāojié in China

The Chinese hold the mysterious and beautiful Yuánxiāojié Lantern Festival every year on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. It has ancient roots and dates back to the XV century. According to Taoist legends, this day is associated with the name of Tianguan, the patron of heaven, who loves light, colorful performances, and fire. During the festival, the people of China light celestial lanterns of all shapes and sizes and then release them into the night sky. The streets of Chinese cities shining with colorful lights become the centers of large-scale popular festivities, performances, concerts, and fireworks.

Many lanterns in the sky at the festival
Lantern Festival Yuánxiāojié © cdn.hype.tech
Lanterns at the festival
Lantern Festival Yuánxiāojié © 078.com.ua

Up Helly Aa in Scotland

The biggest Viking festival in the world, Up Helly Aa, is held on the last Tuesday in January and gives visitors a glimpse into the legendary past of these fearless warriors. Every year, Scottish towns hold torchlight parades of locals in carnival costumes. A spectacular fire show and music often accompany the parade itself. During the procession, disguised Vikings carry a stylized boat to the river, the place where it is ritually burned. As a rule, the celebration ends with a feast, duels, songs, and dances. This event allows guests to learn more about the long history of Scotland.

Viking holiday
Up Helly Aa © konstantin belovtov / Shutterstock
Vikings with torches
Up Helly Aa in Scotland © konstantin belovtov / Shutterstock

Holi Festival in India

The ancient Hindu festival of Holi is held in late February and early March. This colorful act symbolizes the victory of good over evil each year. It begins with a bonfire, the sacred flame of which burns away evil, and after that, the participants are in for some real fun. Crowds of people sprinkle each other with colored powder and organic paints as a sign of goodness and good luck. The incredible energy of joy and happiness that reigns at the festival is so contagious that it is simply impossible to remain indifferent to it. That's why today Holi is celebrated not only in India but also in many other countries.

Crowds of people at the festival
Holi Festival in India © kasimov-missia.ru
People at the festival of colors
Holi Festival © i.pinimg.com
Tourists in paints at the festival
Holi Festival in India © image.winudf.com

Venice Carnival

The most romantic city in Italy fills with bright colors and sounds of music every year at the end of February. Residents and guests of Venice dress up in splendid costumes in the style of the Middle Ages and cover their faces with masks, which have long been a traditional symbol of the Venice Carnival. Anyone can become a part of this spectacular action — you should just buy a mask. By the way, they are sold on every corner during the holiday. The carnival ends with the awarding of the contestants who have demonstrated the most original and colorful costumes.

Carnival costumes and gondolas at the Grand Canal
Venice Carnival © Samot / Shutterstock
Carnival costume
Venice Carnival © Samot / Shutterstock

La Tomatina in Spain

Spain holds the amazing festival of La Tomatina in the last days of summer. Musical performances, dances, parades, and fireworks take place for seven days in many cities. All this is accompanied by ruthless battles, the main weapon of which is a ripe tomato. The participants literally swim in the tomato juice and do not spare any rivals in this bloody battle. In addition, you can participate in original competitions as part of the holiday. The hardest part of the festival is cleaning houses and streets with water hoses, which takes a long time.

Mash of people and tomatoes
La Tomatina tomato festival in Spain © espanarusa.com
Children's fight with tomatoes
La Tomatina © интересный-мир.рф

Burning Man in the USA

It is one of the biggest and greatest festivals in the world that needs no description. Many cultural events pale in comparison to the legendary Burning Man, held in Nevada from the last Monday in August to the first Monday in September. The strange and somewhat shocking festival has no clear plan. The unique atmosphere is created not only by the organizers and the desert where the festival takes place but also by the participants themselves. They build a tent city with homemade art objects and the necessary infrastructure. Nobody knows how they will surprise the audience and each other — crazy dances, nudist bike rides, or a parade of space aliens. The culmination of the festival is the burning of a huge wooden statue of a man and the main temple.

Light show at the Burning Man Festival in USA
Burning Man © okok1111111111.blogspot.com
Fire monster at the festival
Burning Man Festival © guettapen.com
Wooden structure in the form of a pair of people
Burning Man Festival © wildrussia.travel
Constructions on wheels in the form of huge teapots
Burning Man © 34travel.me

Tomorrowland in Belgium

The biggest electronic music festival in the world is held at the end of July in the Belgian city of Boom. The famous three-day event annually gathers more than 300 thousand guests. The main stages are set up in a large park with artificial ponds and picturesque green areas. The area will be equipped in advance with food courts, grills, and all the necessary infrastructure. The impressive decorations, pyrotechnics, and powerful acoustics help create an unforgettable show and deserve special attention. And the headliners of the festival are usually international artists — Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Skrillex, Technoboy, and others.

Spectators in front of the stage at the night festival
Tomorrowland in Belgium © 7minutes.ru
Laser night show at the festival
Tomorrowland in Belgium © grammy.com

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (Brazilian Carnival)

The Brazilian Carnival can safely claim to be the best and most unforgettable event in the world of holidays and festivals. For this reason, it occupies a place of honor in the Guinness Book of Records. Carnival takes place every year in February and attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. Every year its funding grows, and so does its scope. Renowned athletes, actors, and musicians often take part in the event. The most spectacular part of the carnival is the thematic performances and competitions of dance schools. Giant moving platforms, unique costumes, life-size puppets and decorations, music, and crazy energy — it's really hard to describe the atmosphere of this holiday in words.

Eagle at the carnival stadium
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro © T photography / Shutterstock
Samba lessons in Sambadromo
Brazilian Carnival © T photography / Shutterstock

Sziget in Hungary

The legendary Sziget is, without a doubt, one of the best music festivals in the world. It has been taking place every summer in Budapest since 1993. Visitors have a whole week to enjoy live performances of their favorite artists, listen to the music of various genres, and take part in other cultural events. The festival includes exhibitions, performances, film screenings, workshops, and more. Food and alcohol are sold on-site, and Sziget guests are offered camping accommodations. The line-up of the festival is determined by public vote. Musicians who have performed at Sziget include Dua Lipa, Kings Of Leon, Major Lazer, The Strokes, A$AP Rocky, Khalid, and others.

Rock festival
Sighet Festival © hungarytoday.hu
Rock festival
Sziget Festival © wantsee.world

Comic-Con in the USA

Comic-Con, a popular nonprofit festival dedicated to pop culture and comics, has been held since 1970 in San Diego, California, USA. It takes place in late July and early August and guarantees attendees four days of fun, meetings with the film industry representatives, designers, writers, premieres, and more. You can enter the festival as a spectator or register as a participant, in which case you must choose a character and create a detailed image with costumes and makeup. Comic-Con has long been considered an international festival and gives unforgettable emotions to fans from all corners of the world.

A copy of the transformer bumblebee from the TV series Transformers at Comic Con
Transformer at the convention center at San Diego Comic Con © Lauren Elisabeth / Shutterstock
Animators in superhero costumes during the festival
Cosplayers at Comic Con © Boycez / Shutterstock

Sonar in Spain

The well-known international festival of contemporary music and multimedia art Sonar gathers about 100,000 spectators every year in Barcelona. It takes place at the end of the summer and lasts three days. The program of the event, up to the very beginning, is kept secret. The daytime part of the concerts is called Sonar by Day, and the night part is called Sonar by Night. You can see musicians and DJs of world-scale on the stages. Björk, Beastie Boys, The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, The Roots, M.I.A., Justice, and others have been guests at the festival in the past few years. An additional program includes the Sonar+D International Conference on Contemporary Technology in the Arts, bringing together media and showbiz professionals from various countries.

Dance music festival
Sonar Festival © trip2fest.ru
Festival square in front of the stage
Sonar Festival © static.billboard.com

Harbin International Ice and Snow festival

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has been held in the Chinese city of Harbin since 1963. Around January 5, this place literally turns into a fairy tale. The amazing snow and ice scenery seems to take you to another reality. The festival usually lasts a month, but sometimes the sculptures remain on the sites until the end of February. On average, visitors can see about 2,000 exhibits that amaze children and adults alike. In addition to the exhibition itself, the event features various concerts, performances, and active entertainment.

Ice structures at the International Ice and Snow Festival
Harbin International Ice © Giusparta / Shutterstock
Annual Winter Festival in Harbin
Harbin International Ice and Snow festival © kikujungboy CC / Shutterstock

Patrick's Day in Ireland

The world-famous holiday in honor of the Irish patron saint is celebrated on a large scale in many countries. Of course, it is worth coming to Dublin on March 17 to experience the most authentic and grandiose atmosphere of this cultural event. On St. Patrick's Day, you can see thousands of people in green costumes drinking beer, singing songs, and having fun on the city's streets. A large-scale parade is an integral part of the festival, and the main symbols are leprechauns and shamrocks. It is customary to wrap up the celebration in one of the city's pubs, where crowds gather at the end of the day.

People in green hats
Patrick's Day in Ireland © David Ardura / Shutterstock
St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin
St. Patrick's Day Parade © David Ardura / Shutterstock

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The incredibly spectacular and colorful Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It attracts crowds of tourists every year who want to see this beauty with their own eyes. Not for nothing is it awarded the unofficial status of the world's most photographed event. The popular festival takes place in late June and lasts for nine days. The launch of more than 700 giant balloons of all shapes and colors takes place in the Rio Grande Valley both during daylight and at night. Visitors not only have the opportunity to become spectators but also to ride one of the beautiful balloons. There are other entertainment activities on the site — various workshops, concerts, and performances. The daily program ends with a bright fireworks display.

The famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta event
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta © Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock
Hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque
International Balloon Festival © Kit Leong / Shutterstock

Snowbombing in Austria

The Snowbombing festival of dance and electronic music takes place in spring in the Austrian resort of Mayrhofen. This unique event allows you to combine several pleasant activities at once. In the daytime, you can devote yourself to winter sports, and in the evening, you can enjoy the performances of the best DJs and musicians. Most of the line-up is usually made up of electronic artists, but the program of the festival always includes other genres. Snowbombing is not only a large-scale and significant music festival but also an excellent opportunity to get even more impressions from the vacation.

Electronic Music Festival
Snowbombing in Austria © 1b7ta73fjmj23201tc3suvsi-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com
Dance music festival
Snowbombing in Austria © isurfwebster.com

Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan

This is one of those parties that makes it definitely worth it to stay awake for one night. Full Moon Party is a famous monthly disco on the Thai island of Ko Phangan in honor of the full moon. Endless dancing to techno, drum'n'bass, and reggae, many cocktails and crazy energy charge you from the first minutes. It is a real escape for party-goers and fans of bright nightlife. Typically, the event is attended by about twenty thousand tourists from different countries. Many gather on the coast before sunset and leave by morning. In addition to the driving atmosphere of the event, you can enjoy beautiful views of the ocean and meet the sunrise to your favorite music.

Disco at the festival
Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan © life.bodo.ua
Fire show at the festival
Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan © blog.mystart.com

Ultra Music Festival Miami in the USA

One of the biggest electronic music festivals, not only in the US around the world, was founded in 1999 and is named after the Depeche Mode Ultra album. The renowned event is held annually in March in downtown Miami, Bayfront Park, and draws more than 165,000 people. Over the years, Ultra Music Festival headliners have included DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Flume, Gesaffelstein, and more. The amazing sound and dizzying atmosphere of the live shows will leave no fan of good music indifferent.

Huge stage at an electronic music concert
Ultra Music Festival Miami © americanbutler.ru
Stage at the festival
Ultra Music Festival Miami © static.billboard.com

Songkran in Thailand

Thai New Year or Songkran is often called the festival of water. This is due to the fact that during the celebration, it is customary to pour water on each other from head to toe. The Thais believe that this ritual allows you to purify yourself from sins. You can catch ferocious water fights with powerful water guns and hoses on the streets of Thailand every year in mid-April. In addition, Songkran celebrations are not without traditional processions. People in national costumes carry statues of Buddha decorated with flowers through the streets, occasionally pouring water over them. All this is accompanied by dancing and mutual congratulations. By the way, there is an electronic music festival in Bangkok in honor of Songkran.
One of the most popular waterfighting spots during Songkran
The famous Songkran festival in Silom © artapartment / Shutterstock

Cannes Film Festival

Everyone must have heard about this world-famous event at least once. The Cannes Film Festival is rightly considered one of the greatest festivals in the world of cinema and the most important social event in the lives of many stars. Every May, hundreds of talented directors, actors, and producers gather at Cannes to present their work, take part in screenings and competitions, and win the coveted Palme d'Or award. The festival's main goal is to promote the development of the film industry and open up new opportunities for different generations of filmmakers.

Cannes sign on the mountain
City sign on top of a mountain in Cannes © Iurii Dzivinskyi / Shutterstock
Bella Hadid at the Cannes Film Festival
Bella Hadid at the film premiere gala © Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

The name of this festival translates as Fat Tuesday. It marks the end of the "fat week" before the beginning of Lent. The festival came to New Orleans, Louisiana, in the XVIII century, thanks to the French. As part of the event, the city hosts large-scale feasts with various contests, performances, and entertainment. Another important part of the festival is the spectacular parade, during which the streets are filled with crowds of people in colorful costumes. Although Mardi Gras is celebrated in many cities worldwide, a special feature of the New Orleans festivities is the tradition of listening to jazz. During the festival, this music can be heard on literally every corner.

Mardi Gras runs through the streets of New Orleans
Mardi Gras or Carnival Tuesday © Sittichai Sukreep / Shutterstock
Biggest Mardi Gras Celebrates in New Orleans
2018 Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans © Sittichai Sukreep / Shutterstock

Tulum Zamna festival in Mexico

Mexico's most partying city of Tulum invites visitors every year to attend a unique electronic music festival held in an unusually beautiful natural location. The best performers, excellent acoustics, and dense jungle around create an unforgettable atmosphere, which distinguishes the festival from other music events. The guests of the event can expect hard-hitting sets from popular DJs, bright light installations, and paradisiacal scenery. Zamna has all the chances to become one of the most extraordinary and impressive parties in your life.

Festival of Progressive Music
Tulum Zamna festival in Mexico © zamnafestival.com
DJ at the console on stage
Tulum Zamna festival © edmmaniac.com
DJ at the console in the club
Tulum Zamna festival © zamnafestival.com

Coachella in California

Coachella closes the list of the top festivals in the world. It is the largest music event, which probably every music lover has heard of. It gets its name from the valley of the same name in the city of Indio (USA, California). All events unfold there in April. Both well-known and little-known performers of various genres — from indie-rock to electronics — take part in the event. The main surprise for visitors is two secret guests whose names are kept secret until the start of the performances. In different years, Coachella headliners have included Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Coldplay, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, and others. The festival's atmosphere deserves special praise. The organizers pay a lot of attention to large-scale installations, and the visitors themselves wear bright outfits in a grunge or boho style.

Music Festival in the city of Indio
Coachella © media.pitchfork.com
Inflatable sculptures at a music festival
Coachella © edm.com

Day Zero Festival

The Day Zero festival, which takes place in Tulum, Mexico, is a dizzying mix of ancient traditions and modern electronic music in January. It brings together real party people from all over the world in one place. Typically, this place is the Dos Palmas cenote in Dos Ojos Park. From dusk till dawn, guests of the event enjoy great DJ sets and a totally unique atmosphere created by the surrounding jungle and light installations. The festival is like a mystical act, which temporarily disconnects you from reality and transports you to another era.

Feyras during disco
Day Zero Festival © edmmaniac.com
Purple festival lighting
Day Zero Festival © jonesaroundtheworld.com
DJ at the console
Day Zero Festival © media.timeout.com