No matter where you go around the globe, everybody loves to celebrate. And when it comes to celebration, festivals offer something for everyone. Whether it’s music, the arts and culture, food and wine, holidays, religion or just silly fun you’re into, there’s a gathering somewhere with your name on it. Here’s a look at our “bucket list” picks for the 7 Best Festivals in the World.
Burning Man (August, Nevada)
Back in 1986, a couple of guys burned an 8-foot tall wooden figure on San Francisco’s Baker Beach on the summer solstice. This began the Festival of the Burning Man. Now every year nearly 100,000 people gather in the northwestern Nevada desert to burn the wooden figure, which grows in height each year. The burning man culminates a fantastic party right on the desert sands.
The Burning Man event is being described as a transformative experience at a group level. People who have witnessed it say they are changed people with changed lives. They describe themselves as metal that’s been strengthened via the process of annealing in the fire. If you love attending festivals and events, don’t miss out on Burning Man. It’s one of the most impressive festivals around the world – it has such an effect on people that they keep coming back year after year.
Carnival (Feb or March 2019, Rio De Janeiro)
The Rio De Janeiro Carnival is one festival no one should miss. It is the world’s biggest and wildest festival, attracting close to 5 million people each year. It is mainly a religious celebration, as it takes place five days before the Catholic season of Lent, when, for 40 days, Catholics give up several things including meat in their diet. The festival marks the end of the brutal Brazilian summer.
So get this – millions of people hit the streets, half naked, dressed in outrageously glittery costumes, dancing to Brazilian music. The festival ends with a two-night rowdy extravaganza at Rio’s Sambadrome. Close to 100,000 spectators watch Rio’s top 12 samba schools dance for the grand prize.
Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival, Harbin, China
The International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival in China is the finest winter festival you’ll ever see. Harbin, China, being close to Siberia, bears the brunt of that proximity by experiencing lows of –35°C. It being that cold, why would you visit China for a festival in the winter? That’s because you’ll get to see some of the largest ice sculptures in the world in Sun Island and along the Songua River. The Ice and Snow World starts with a blast at night on in December and goes on till February. Colourful lights illuminate full-sized ice buildings and sculptures of major global landmarks. During the festival, you can enjoy some alpine skiing and check out touring ice lantern exhibitions.
La Tomatina (August, Valencia, Spain)
La Tomatina is like a food fight in kindergarten that’s gotten out of control. It’s the world’s biggest food fight – a real stress buster. The festival began in the 1940s when the police had to intervene in a fight outside a veggie stall with veggies being thrown about. How this fight started a worldwide festival, no one knows. But it did, and we’re definitely happy about it.
La Tomatina continued to reign for a few years after that but the authorities banned it till 1957. The locals wouldn’t keep quiet, of course. They paraded a giant tomato in a coffin as protest and the festival began again. On the day of the event, hundreds of trucks carrying a billion tomatoes go around. All you have to do is grab all the tomatoes you need, and splatter them against other people. Sound kiddish? Definitely. When you attend, be sure not to throw hard objects. Start throwing when the event begins and stop when the starter pistol goes off.
Mardi Gras (March, New Orleans, Louisiana)
Known also as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras is a major cultural spectacle that’s been going on for centuries. Every year, the festival is held before Ash Wednesday and the festivals last for months. From November, various social events take place such as private balls and parades. These events continue to take place throughout January and early February. These are exclusive events and invitations are hard to come by.
If you know someone or if you have lots of money, you might be able to attend MOM’s Ball or Orpheuscapade Ball, which are the best. These balls are glamourous and dotted with the Who’s Who of the world. Everyone wants to be seen at these rich balls, where women come dripping in diamonds and men wear multi-thousand-dollar suits.
Be sure not to miss the annual Galactic concert at Tipitina’s on the day before Mardi Gras, which is Lundi Gras). On Mardi Gras day, there are parades on Krewe of Muses, Rex & Zulu, the Krewe of St. Anne and Krewe of Julu, and the best, in Treme. Topless men and women parade on beautifully-decorated floats, wearing a million glass- and plastic-bead necklaces. If you’re at Mardi Gras, it is mandatory to wear a necklace and show some flesh. Mardi Gras, is without doubt, one of the best festivals in the world.
Dubai Shopping Festival (December, Dubai)
DSF is an incredible global festival, attended by millions of people from around the world. It’s the festival that shopaholics around the world wait for. For a whole month and a week, the whole of Dubai turns in to a playground for those seeking retail therapies. Every mall is decorated to the nines. There are fireworks every night at malls, public places and parks. There are fairs and carnivals galore with plenty of things for whole families to do.
Club this with incredible retail offers, discounts, gifts, bonanzas, lotteries, raffles with incredible prizes and the food galore. Dubai shopping festival 2019 is absolutely a not-to-miss festival. Book your tickets and your accommodation in advance and get ready to take advantage of the many lucrative Dubai shopping festival packages available. Hotels offer discounts and incredible deals, and you might get your dream stay if you try early enough.
Mevlâna Festival (December, Konya, Turkey)
The Mevlana Festival in Turkey commemorates the death of Saint Mevlana, who lived and died in the 13th century. He’s also known to the western world as the Persian Rumi. An Islamic scholar, theologian, poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi’s poetry and the magic of his music has infected the world. It’s been 750 years since Rumi’s death, and his poetry is still the best-selling in the United States.
So what happens at this festival? It’s a magical event, where devotees follow Rumi’s belief that it is possible to communicate with God through dance and music. This festival is held from December 7 through 17; for 10 whole days, at the Mevlâna Festival, you’ll not know who you are. You’ll be dancing to sacred music along with the Whirling Dervishes. A weird, intoxicating energy is generated by their trance-like dancing, in their floating white robes that twirl mesmerizingly in time with the music. On December 17, the festival reaches a climatic crescendo; it was on this day that Rumi, through his Sufi music and trance dance was united with Allah. Believe it or not, more than a million people attend this festival each year. Best to book your accommodation in advance if you want to attend.
It’s festival time right now, somewhere or another. If you love grand events and festivals, choose the one you want to attend and make your plans right away. The end of the year sees many explosive festivals around the world; the Dubai Shopping Festival is a prime example. Who knows – you might win something terrific this time!