Festivals are amazing. They are a sublime experience for the visitors and often quite a pain in the neck for those doing the organizing. Music festivals are one thing, as there you have to take care of only the music as part of your program. But, what about cultural festivals? They often include much more than just music, if they include music at all. The world is filled with culture, just look at your own town, let alone country, and you will notice different cultures.
Here are the world’s most famous and interesting cultural festivals, in no particular order.
Carnival – Rio de Janeiro
Everyone has heard of Rio’s Carnival. It is the biggest festival in the world, which attracts so many people that you might actually get lost in the crowd, even if you know where you are. The festival has everything, from around five million visitors, to half naked women dancing in various very, very colorful costumes. There are dancing competitions and wild music all around. The festival lasts for 40 days. Prepare yourself for a month you will likely not forget anytime soon. The festival actually has religious origins and takes place during the end of the very hot Brazilian summer. Many South American nations celebrate Carnival, but when you hear that word, you think of Rio, without a doubt, and with good reason.
International Ice & Snow Festival – Harbin
We enjoy the sun, most of us, at least. Some don’t and for these people, the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival is the right place to visit. It is held in China and is one of the coldest festivals in the world. It lasts for almost a month and it starts in January, on the 5th. The festival has absolutely huge ice sculptures, up to 40 meters. They are stunning in almost every way. The festival also takes place all over the city of Harbin. If you like the cold, then this is the festival for you.
Mardi Gras – New Orleans
If you want something different, then head on to Louisiana, to the city of New Orleans. Mardi Gras is the US version of Rio’s Carnival. Mardi Gras, like the other festivals here, lasts for over a month. It starts in November, and goes on and on. There are plenty of private events, which require specific invitations. Knowing someone works or having money to help get to know someone. The private parties are definitely worth it, but so is the carnival which you get at the end of the festival.
La Tomatina – Valencia
Spain has one of the oldest festivals ever, dating back to the end of the Second World War, in 1945. The festival is called literally, the tomato. The festival boils down to a very, very large food fight. Tomatoes are the weapons of choice. There are some rules, like not being rude towards others and throwing hard objects. The festival is entertaining and takes a different approach on culture. Throwing tomatoes is one way to blow off some steam.
Saint Patrick’s Festival – Dublin
Saint Patrick’s day is celebrated all over the world but Dublin is where it started. He is, Ireland’s patron saint, after all. It is only natural to go to Dublin and enjoy the world being colored green. The festival is on the 17th of March so mark that in your calendar and prepare for a trip to the land of green.
These are the world’s most interesting and famous cultural festivals. There are plenty more to visit, so worry not if you think you might run out of festivals.