Travel has various dimensions. Some love the sights, others the experiences. For some, it’s all about the food while for others, it is about the people they meet. However, if you want a slice of all these dimensions – cultural festivals is the way to go. At Kula Village, we take it upon us to bring to you all kinds of diverse views and experiences. As such, it feels apt to point you towards some of the most diverse and memorable experiences you can have in the world we live in. Here are 15 world cultural festivals that will spark your wanderlust.
If you like beer or travel or Germany, chances are you have already heard about Oktoberfest, even dreamt about it. Few other 16-18 day festivals have the allure of this annual extravaganza held in September in Munich, Bavaria. Millions of people from all over the planet flock to this wonderland for the time of their lives!
- Mardi Gras
Are you the kind of person who lives for carnivals? Those bright and colorful parades, magnificent sets and decorations, jolly people in their element! Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is just that. New Orleans springs to life during this festival in February-March with tourists from all over the world making merry on its musical streets.
Primarily a celebration of the victory of good over evil, Diwali is known all across the world as the Hindu celebration of lights. Even NASA astronauts make it a point to focus on India from space during Diwali just to see the entire country light up.For a couple of evenings in November when Diwali is celebrated, Indians all over bring joy to their hearts and homes through preparation of sweet delicacies, wearing ethnic clothes and giving thoughtful presents.
Check out our South Asian Festival Flash Cards for kids to learn about 25 most prominent South Asian Festivals
- Rio Carnival
Considered the biggest carnival in the world, this extravagant celebration on the streets of Rio De Janeiro started way back in 1723. Since then, every year before lent, people from all over the world forget their worries and dance and sing to celebrate this happy carnival. Around 2 million people per day are said to attend this festival.
- St Patrick’s Day
Celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular festival not just among the Irish but all over the world. The day when everyone wears green, St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional death date of Ireland’s foremost patron saint.
Ho Ho Ho! This is a non brainer. Be it snow or carols, lights or presents, everything about Christmas is heartwarming. Perhaps the greatest celebration on our planet, Christmas is as festive as it gets. Celebrated annually on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is characterized by social gatherings, gift-giving, feats, prayers, and of course – Santa Claus.
- Loi Krathong
The Siamese festival of Loi Krathong is an annual event held in Thailand. It is celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth Thai month, which typically falls around November. Baskets (krathongs) are floated in the river Ganga to offer prayers and gratitude to this source of life. Devotees make wishes and also ask for forgiveness, as several people decorate their homes with paper lanterns.
- Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico City
Celebrated annually on November 2, The Day of the Dead is celebrated in several parts of Mexico and Mexican people elsewhere to remember those who have passed. You will see parades rolling through the capital with family members coming together in joy and celebration.
The Festival of Colors started as a Hindu festival in India but slowly gained popularity all over the world. Like Diwali, Holi too signifies the victory of good over evil. That aside, it also has a seasonal significance. It is India’s festival of spring. People dress in white and spray colors on each other (sometimes too aggressively so staying alert and using discretion is advised). And yes, there is a lot of singing, dancing, sweets, and bhaang.
Here is our South Asian Festival Flash Cards for kids to learn about 25 prominent South Asian Festivals
- Carnival in Venice
Known for the spectacular use of masks by enthusiastic locals, The Carnival of Venice is an annual extravagant festival celebrated in Venice, Italy. Legend has it that the festival is as old as 1162, and is attended by over 3 million people every year.
- Hoi An Lantern Festival in Vietnam
Th Hoi An lantern festival of Vietnam brings joy to millions as they watch paper lanterns with candles float away to glory. It is held every month to celebrate the full moon, and is a major tourist attraction.
- La Tomatina
Remember Hrithik Roshan and Karina Kaif going nuts in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara smashing tomatoes all over each other? That song depicts the renowned La Tomatino festival held annually in Bunol, Spain that attracts tourists from all over the world. Imagine a tomato fight between tourists from various countries, all in great fun!
- Chinese New Year
Celebrated annually to mark the new year in the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is all about food, fireworks and plenty of lanterns. It typical falls in January/February and every year is dedicated to one of 12 animals as per Chinese tradition (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig).
- Inti Raymi in Peru
Followers of the Inca religion in Peru celebrate Inti Raymi every year during the winter solstice, which for the southern hemisphere is June 24. Celebrated throughout the Andes region, the Inti Raymi is characterized by indigenous people wearing colorful costumes, playing music, and sharing food.
- Ganesh Festival
Chants of “Ganapati Bappa Morya, pudchya varshi laukar ya ” reverberate on the streets of Mumbai every year during the Ganesh festival. The chant translates to “Hail Lord Ganapati, come back soon next year!”. Celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hindu Lord Ganesha, this festival is characterized by some brilliant pandals with innovative Ganesh idol installations. Millions of people visit these pandals to offer their prayers and seek Ganapati’s blessings.