Festivals are the most loved and cherished times for people of all ages – be it children, the teens, the adults or the elderly. Festivals are meant to celebrate and enjoy important religious, customary or social ceremonies with fervor and enthusiasm. Festivals bring in all good things – colors, lights, flowers, fragrances, food, drinks and loads of buzz. All over the world, more than thousand festivals are celebrated annually with renewed energy levels each year. America, Europe, Asia – exhilarant festivals are ritualized all over the globe, reflecting the local cultures having different significances. There are many colorful festivals, the celebrations of which are characterized with a stream flow of bright colors, the hues and blushes which amaze cells of human eyes and kindle waves of joy in human hearts. The world’s top 10 most colorful festivals are listed below:
10. La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain:
La feria de Abril is one of the biggest and most colorful fairs of the world celebrated annually in Seville, Spain, however it originally started in 1847 as a livestock fair. It commences a couple of weeks after Semana Santa and goes on without a break for a whole week. Each day, the fiesta attracts men riding horses, clustering around bullrings, groups of friends sharing dances and food and some very beautiful women from Seville. The women are dressed in their long, colorful flamenco dresses whereas short jackets, tight trousers, boots and hats adorn the men. The large fair area has lines of casetas, which offer music, chilled champagnes, rebujitos and traditional Spanish drinks and food. The entire week sees the frolicsome Sevillianas dancing to the end of their energies day and night.
9. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico:
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot-air ballooning festival in the world which sees participation from more than a thousand pilots and hundred thousand spectators. Started in 1972, this international fiesta is held annually for nine days, beginning in the first week of October and is the most photographed event in the world. The place, Albuquerque in New Mexico is considered the most suited place for hot air ballooning due to geographical factors. The fiesta offers a walk through the ballooning park for visitors, about hundred food vendors spread across the area and an amazing sight when hundreds of balloons of different colors and shapes lift off together and cover the sky.
8. The Chinese New Year:
The Chinese new year falls on a different day than January 1st because of difference in Gregorian and Chinese calendar methodology. The Chinese new year is celebrated for as long as 15 days, commencing from the first new moon of the year to the following full moon. The festivities include offerings to Chinese gods and ancestors, family feasts, get together and parties, rituals of thanksgivings, the Chinese New year parade and the lantern festival on the fifteenth day. The Chinese new year parade features ion and dragon dances, band marches, performance by martial arts experts and cultural dances. The lantern festival on the final day is a treat to the eyes of a visitor.
7. Las Fallas, Valencia:
Las Fallas is a unique and crazy festival, celebrated each year from March 13th to 19th, in the town of Valencia, Spain. During the festivities, the town streets are covered with over a hundred ninots (huge dolls) which are made of cardboard, paper, plaster, wood and wax and are as high as several storeys. The week witnesses high spirited street action, open air concerts, social ceremonies, big time decorations and public fervor. On March 19th, all the ninots are set on fire at midnight accompanied with grand fireworks. One ninot is left according to public vote and it finds home in the local museum thereafter. This smoky, fiery and spirited festival has origins in the century long ritual of burning unused wood to welcome spring, by carpenters on St Joseph Day.
6. Saint Patrick’s Festival, Dublin, Ireland:
Saint Patrick’s Festival is celebrated in not just Ireland but across the globe, to commemorate the death day (March 17th) of Saint Patrick, the great Christian legacy who spread Christianity in Ireland. In Dublin, the Saint Patrick’s festivities are carried out between March 14th to 17th and are marked by greening the city, music and street performances, Irish craft beer village, fun fairs, comedy centers, concerts, walk tours around the city and finally the big event- St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17th with thousand of performers gathering and entertaining a million visitors. On this day, people adorn green to express their Irishness and shamrock explaining the concept of holy trinity.
5. Harbin International Ice festival, China:
The International Ice and Snow Festival, held in Harbin in north east China is the coolest winter festival in the world which offers a fancied winter world to the hundreds of visitors visiting Harbin annually. It begins on January 5th each year and goes on for about a month and the main attractions during this period are the Ice Lantern Show at nights, Snow Sculpture Art Expo on Sun Island, ice bars, Siberian Tiger Park visit, diving performance on the frozen Songhua river, skiing activities, romantic sleighs and the polar animals. Begun in 1985 with traditional ice lanterns with a candle inside, the festival now sports incredible ice block sculptures lit by colorful LEDs and accompanied by pleasing music.
4. Loy Krathong Festival, Sukothai, Thailand:
The Loy Krathong is a Thai festival celebrated each year on the full moon of the twelfth lunar to pay homage to water goddess, drive away bad luck and to seek forgiveness. Small crafty boats or rafts, locally known as krathong with flowers adorning them, usually in the shape of lotus are released in the water bodies of Sukothai, by people, carrying away bad luck from their lives. The festivities include concerts, mind blowing fireworks, cultural performances, beauty pageants, exotic Thai food and family feasts. The celebrations are picturesque with all hues and colors seeming perfect and divine. Often this event coincides with the Lanna festival Yi Peng, in which hundreds of lanterns are released in the sky for good luck.
3. Carnivale de Venezia, Venice, Italy:
The carnival of Venice is the oldest, most colorful and most awaited annual fest of Europe which attracts 3 million tourists to Venice each year. Started back in 14th century to commemorate the victory of Venice over Ulrico, the fest begins after Christmas and ends a day before Lent. Colorful and beautiful masks are the most important feature of the Venice Carnival, originally the ritual started so that there could be no differentiation between the ordinary men and the nobility. Other attractions of the carnival are the gambling clubs, cafes, restaurants, bars, music getaways and exotic food. The spirits are high, the atmosphere is festive and the masks make the carnival appear royal and grand. The competition of the most beautiful mask of the carnival makes the fest even more exciting and fashionable.
The festival of colors, as it is popularly known as, Holi is celebrated throughout north India on the full moon of the month of March. Heaps of colors and pichkaris (low pressure water guns) begin to spread throughout the market places days before Holi. Special sweets and dishes are prepared in advance and a bonfire is observed on the eve of holi which signifies victory of good over evil as per ancient Hindu religious stories. On the day of holi, people play with bright colors, spray colored water on each other, throw water filled balloons on one another, exchange greetings and dance to the rhythm of holi songs. Pool parties and rain dance parties have become a popular way of celebrating holi. Consumption of intoxicants is also associated with holi but the whole festival is about spreading the feeling of togetherness in the society.
1. Carnival of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil:
The carnival of Brazil, held in Rio De Janeiro for six days just before beginning of Lent, is the world’s most famous carnival and attracts two million people per day on the streets of the city. The carnival is characterized by huge parades organized by samba schools of Brazil, electric action on the streets, energetic sexy dances and loud music. The parades by top samba schools are beautifully adorned and the samba dancers with gorgeously sexy costumes decorated with feathers are a feast to the eyes of a partygoer. It gives a platform to various samba schools of Brazil to compete with their rivals for the title of the best samba school of the year. In the smaller parades, local people can directly interact with the parade by dancing and partying along. It’s the perfect feisty and lively atmosphere a party maniac would long for.