If you are planning a vacation why not try to include a festival in the plans instead of the usual tourist attractions. There are some really unique festivals around the world to consider adding into your itinerary, and the added bonus is that attending a festival a great way to get to know a city and the people when you get involved in the local customs.
La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain
This tomato throwing festival is held annually for pure fun! No one is exactly certain of the origins of this festival, but it has been held since 1945 and some surmise that it is to replicate an attack of city councilmen with tomatoes by displeased townsfolk.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana
Taking place between Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday every year, Mardi Gras is a series of parades and masquerade balls. Bourbon Street is a well-known street for parades and floats throw beads and doubloons into the crowd.
Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The undisputed biggest carnival in the world, this is one festival not to miss. The festival starts at Lent every year and up to 2 million revelers may line the streets. The floats and samba dancers are spectacular. Street festivals with singing and dancing are also off-shoots at carnival time.
Masskara, Bacolod City, Philippines
Masskara literally translates to mean multitude of faces. The festival is also known for the wearing of masks, which are worn by those participating. The festival arose as a reaction to a tragedy of a boat collision where 700 lives were lost. The festival is known as a festival of smiles and was a way that the local government and artists improved the mood of the town.
Chinese New Year
While Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries, it is worth checking out in China itself. Celebrations last for 16 days from New Year’s Eve to February 6th. There are many traditions observed during New Year’s celebrations and they culminate with large fireworks displays.
Burning Man, Nevada USA
Held annually in Black Rock City which is a temporary city for the event in the dessert, the Burning Man Festival is a celebration of artistic expression and features performance art, interactive sculpture, art, self-expression and community. The culmination of the festival is the burning of an effigy of a man.
Dia de los Muertos, Mexico City, Mexico
Translated to English, it is called The Day of the Dead. Festivals are held throughout Mexico, but are most elaborate in the capital. The holiday is a way for friends and families to come together and pray for those that have died and help their spiritual journey.
Gion Matsuri, Kyoto, Japan
Held in the month of July, this is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. Named for the Gion district of Kyoto, the festival features a parade where shrines are walked through the city and people walk the streets and partake in street food and may wear summer kimonos called yukata.
A Hindu festival of color runs for two days in Spring. The first day a bonfire is held to purify people of their internal evil and the following day is the better-known day where people run and chase each other throwing coloured powder and coloured water.