1. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro is a world famous festival held before Lent every year and considered the biggest carnival in the world with 2 million people per day on the streets. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1823. The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revelers, floats and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio.
2. Chinese New Year
The biggest holiday, with dragons, fireworks, symbolic clothing, flowers, lanterns, and celebration is China’s most important and significant day of the year. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar!
3. Boryeong Mud Festival – South Korea
4. Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA
Burning Man is an annual event when up to 48,000 people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock desert to create art and express their individuality. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening. The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. People who have gone to Burning Man gatherings claim you need to attend to truly understand.
5. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival – Harbin, China
A festival exhibiting the most exquisite ice and snow sculptures in the world. Every year people build incredible things out of ice and snow, decorating them with lights and lasers. This exhibition has a lot to offer, one can only find out after visiting it…and it is phenomenal!
6. White Nights Festival – St. Petersburg, Russia
The White Nights Festival is an annual international arts festival during the season of the midnight sun. It consists of a series of classical ballet, opera and music events and includes performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors, as well as famous international guest stars. The Scarlet Sails celebration is the culmination of the White Nights season, the largest public event anywhere in Russia with the annual estimated attendance about 1 million people, most of whom are students from thousands of schools and colleges, both local and international.
7. Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead) – Mexico
is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a bank holiday. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.
8. Running of The Bulls – Pamplona, Spain
The Running of the Bulls is a part of the famous San Fermin festival – a practice that involves running in front of a small group of bulls (typically a dozen) that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets. A first rocket is set off at 8 a.m. to alert the runners that the corral gate is open. A second rocket signals that all six bulls have been released. The third and fourth rockets are signals that all of the herd has entered the bullring and its corral respectively, marking the end of the event. Every year between 200 and 300 people are injured during the run although most injuries are contusions due to falls and are not serious. So you think you’re up for it?
9. Holi – India
Holi is a spring festival also known as the festival of colors. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which starts with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is free for all carnival of colors, where everyone plays, chases and colors each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance.
10. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival – Scotland
It takes place in Lerwick, Shetland, on the last Tuesday in January every year. Up Helly Aa day involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley. This is followed by hours of performing acts and dancing in halls throughout Lerwick. There is a main guizer who is dubbed the “Jarl”. There is a committee which a person must be part of for 15 years before one can be a jarl, and only one person is elected to this committee each year. The procession culminates in the torches being thrown into a replica Viking longship or galley.
11. Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy
The tradition of carnival dates back over 900 years. It was the one time during the year when there were no bounds. Everybody was free to do things desired all year without any guilt thanks to the masks. During the carnival, Venice comes alive with masked Venetians and tourists. Bands,jugglers and entertainers are everywhere and the canals are full of colorful boats. The nights are also full of parties and masked balls.It gives you a feeling as if fairy tales are coming alive!
12. Pingxi Lantern Festival – Taiwan
Its a festival that witnesses thousands of sky lanterns light over Pingxi District in Taiwan. It was originally celebrated to ward of evil and disease from the town. The Taipei Pingshi Sky Lanterns were released originally to let others know that the town was safe. These lanterns are decorated with wishes and images relating to the owner and finally they’re released off into the sky together magically decorating the sky into a sanctuary of lights.
13. La Tomatina – Spain
Fun, frolic, dance and lots of tomatoes – this is one festival you absolutely cannot miss. Participants throw tomatoes at each other and ride down those tomato-streaked slides having the time of their lives. Be it tomato fights or the enormous water showers that follow, la tomatina is one event that gets you dancing and engaging in unlimited fun.
14. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. The event is all about beer, beer and only beer. Imagine being surrounded by those traditional huge glasses of beer and serving them are the beautiful and sensational waitresses. Its a party well endowed!
15. New Year’s Eve – Sydney Harbor, Australia
Sydney New Year’s Eve is an annual multi-tiered event held every New Year’s Eve over Sydney Harbor, centering on the Harbor Bridge. Its main features are the two pyrotechnic displays, the 9pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks. It is known as the best place in the world to see the New Year fireworks display.
16. Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
The Thai New Year festival falls on some of the hottest days in Thailand, and people celebrate by throwing water on each other, using water guns, buckets, hoses- whatever they can get their hands on. Sometimes chalk or menthol (the latter causes a cooling sensation) is mixed into the water to create a paste which people smear on each other’s faces for good fortune. Elephants can also be seen walking around and splashing off water jets at people!
17. Saint Patrick’s Day – Ireland
It is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. If you’re not wearing green then watch out because you ought to get pinched!
18. Gay Pride Parade – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam Pride is a citywide gay-festival held annually at the center of Amsterdam during the first weekend of August. The festival attracts several hundred-thousand visitors each year and thus one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands. The peak of the festival is during the canal parade, a parade of boats of large variety on the first Saturday of August can be seen swarming the waters with activists and and people from around the world.
19. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – New Mexico, USA
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA during early October. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine day event, and has around 750 balloons. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. Once the balloons are let off, they paint the sky with their vibrant colors and hues making it a beautiful sight to look at.
20. Full Moon Party – Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand
Haad Rin is home to the Full Moon Party and also houses about 3-5000 rather mad people; it is the island’s nightlife capital and has Koh Phangan’s biggest concentration of beach clubs that collectively put on the ultimate travellers get together. Within this transient crowd of party animals some highly talented DJ’s pass through, banging out their wares to the raging lunar explorers that have landed on planet party. ITS A PARTY GONE WILD! So if you’re a party animal..this is your place to be.
21. Glastonbury — Glastonbury, England
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts. Leading pop and rock artists have headlined, alongside thousands of others appearing on smaller stages and performance areas. The size and nature of the festival, held over 3 or 4 days in the open air, with performers, crew and paying festival goers staying in tents, caravans and motorhomes, has meant that the weather is significant. Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and is now attended by around 175,000 people
22. Battle of the Oranges – Ivrea, Italy
The Battle of the Oranges is a festival which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. It is the largest food fight in Italy. Citrussy indeed! I don’t know about you, but I’m off to crash all these parties like right now!