Take a look at how some of the top 10 world’s largest festivals look like. Seeing thousands and even millions of people from all over the world gather, dance, drink, eat and participate in traditional acts is simply awe-inspiring.
Top 10 World’s Largest Festivals
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Dated back since 1723, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is held before Easter lent every year and is considered one of the top 10 world’s largest festivals with over 2 million people on the streets all across Brazil. This 5-day celebration has a roaring atmosphere with dazzling colours and echoing drums. The centre piece of this festival is the Samba School’s parade, categorized by region and geographical background the streets are flooded with floats and adornments. With each Samba School entrants going against each other to take the title home.
Chinese New Year – SE Asia
Otherwise known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, this extraordinary festival falls between the 21st of January and 20th February depending on the Lunar calendar. Continuing for 15 days, this festival is to honour ancestors and deities. Celebrated by Southeast Asia and many other countries with an Asian community, it is a time where families are gathered and houses are decorated to promote good fortune, happiness and longevity for the coming year.
Flowers, lanterns, traditional clothing, lion dancing, fireworks and fire crackers are the main attractions. Traditionally red envelopes containing money representing good luck and fortune are passed out from the adults to the juniors, in return, the children would wish them a prosperous and healthy year.
Holi – India
Holi is an Ancient Hindu religious festival that goes for 2 days showcasing spring, and colour. A Holika bonfire is on the first day, where people gather, sing and dance, to pray for their internal evil to be extinguished.
The second day is where everyone plays, chases and throws coloured powder and water at each other. Open to everyone, friend or stranger, man or woman, everyone is involved. This day is to forget and forgive, repairing broken relationships.
La Tomatina – Spain
Loved by locals and foreigners, La Tomatina is another lively festival where participants throw things at each other, this time tomatoes. La Tomatina tomato fights are totally for entertainment purposes, to engage and entertain those that participate. Started in 1945, it is believed that it started from disgruntled townspeople rioting, hurling tomatoes during a town celebration. Year after, it became such a joyous event it became a tradition. It is estimated that over 125,000kg of tomatoes are used for this event. Fire trucks are then used after the one-hour long event to hose down and clean the town, which surprisingly isn’t too difficult. (By the way, if food fights are your thing, check out the Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea, Italy!)
Running of the Bulls – Spain
Another widely popular festival in Spain is the running of the bulls event, which started in the 14th century. Held from the 6th to 14th of July, this dangerous festival consists of typically six bulls that are let loose in the town with the daring participants. Participants must be at least 18 years of age, run in the direction of the bull, do not provoke the bull and not under the influence of alcohol.
Every year between 50-300 people are injured. There is no actual dress code but people particularly wear white with red scarf and red handkerchief.
Pingxi Lantern Festival – Taiwan
A truly amazing sight to see, this festival attracts thousands of tourists and locals to the Pingxi district where thousands of lanterns light up the night sky.
Traditionally celebrated to ward off evil and diseases from the town, Pingxi Lantern Festival is one of the top 10 world’s largest festivals took place to let people nearby know that the town is safe. The lanterns now are decorated with wishes and images. This moment in time may seem just like a fairy tale, being an inspiration to the lantern scene, “I see the light” in the movie, Tangled.
Day of the Dead – Mexico
Particularly popular in the Central and South regions of Mexico, the Day of the Dead festival is to remember family and friends that have passed away. Taking place on October 31st, November 1st and 2nd, traditions involve dancing with colorful costumes and skull-shaped masks, building private altars, honoring the dead with sugar skulls, marigolds and offering the deceased favourite food and beverage as gifts.
This one of the top 10 world’s largest festivals had originated from the Aztecs, and with parties in cemeteries, and music next to the graves, this moving event will change your belief about the terror of Halloween.
Mardi Gras – Australia
Mardi Gras is celebrated in many countries, but each country celebrates it differently. The USA celebrates that day for feasting on food and beverage with floats and dress up while Australia celebrates it as a festival supporting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender. It is one of the largest festivals of its kind and attracts over 20,000 people internationally and locally. The dress-up, dance party, and parade is the centerpiece for this event, but there are also many more diverse events that take place, with the post parade being one of the biggest ongoing party events in Australia.
Oktoberfest – Germany
The world’s largest beer and Bavarian festival, Oktoberfest was originally a commemoration for Prince Ludwig’s wedding in 1810. Running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, the event hosts numerous attractions, side-stalls, and games. During the vibrant festival, enormous quantities of beer and food are consumed.
Carnival of Venice – Italy
This stellar festival takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. Dating back to 1162, famous for its colour, theatrical presentations and elaborate masks, the Venetian masks define the Carnival of Venice, making it one of the top 10 world’s largest festivals. Hosting attractions and amusements throughout the day with balls and dances in the starry night. Distinct styles of masks are worn, each with their own meaning, some wear different masks based on occupation. Venetian masks can be made of leather, porcelain or glass, being simple in design or complex and delicate.