When I hear the word festivals, all I can think of is music, lights, food and happy people. Festivals bring such happiness to people, which is something to cherish. It is amazing how different cultures in different parts of the world have fascinating and sometimes somewhat unusual festivals too. It is interesting to witness these festivals in different parts of the same world we live in. Some are quite similar in nature while others are totally diverse. Christmas and New Year festivals must be the most celebrated around the world. In fact these are somewhat similar in nature too. However, there are many more festivals that you may never heard of too. Here are some of the most amazing festivals around the world that you should experience in your lifetime.
Festivals Around The World
Esala Maha Perahera, Sri Lanka
Esala Maha Perahera or the Festival of the Tooth is a grand Sri Lankan festival held in Kandy every July or August. This is a 10-day mega festival to honor the country’s most valued possession – the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans and travelers around the world gather to the beautiful hill city of Kandy to witness this mega event. You can watch office of chief lay custodian of Temple of the Tooth in the traditional Sri Lankan attire, Kandian dancers, acrobats, drummers, whip crackers, flame throwers and many fascinating displays. One of the main attractions is several elegantly decorated elephants parading through the streets. During the last night of the festival, an elegantly dressed elephant carries the sacred Tooth Relic in a gold casket on its back as the entertainers follow. Esala Maha Perahera ends at dawn after the full moon with a ‘water-cutting ceremony’. This is where Priests representing each of the four temples walk into the Mahaweli River, and ‘cut’ a circle in the water with a sword and fill pitchers with water from within the circle. They keep the water in the pitcher for the entire year.
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Chinese New Year – China
Chinese New Year starts with the new moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. Though it is a Chinese cultural festival, it is celebrated all over the world, especially in the countries with significant Chinese population. So even if you visit countries such as Hong Kong, Tibet, Macau, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan during the festival time, you still can enjoy the Chinese New Year. However, it is best celebrated in China. The entire country gathers to celebrate this colorful festival. This two-week long festival involves fireworks, lanterns, street performers, visiting family & friends, and the best part – an overabundance of delicious foods. So be sure to join in the celebrations of the Chinese New Year festival January 23rd, 2012, which is the year of the Dragon.
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Winter Festival – Russia
Russia has it’s annual winter festival in Moscow, which celebrates the best of Russian traditional culture. The winter festival is a huge event that runs from mid December to mid January. It takes advantage of Russian Christmas and Russian New Year. The festival combines folk art of Russia, delicious food, art exhibits, ice sculptures, troika rides, wine tasting, piano competitions and local movies. You will even get a glimpse of Ded Moroz (Santa Claus) and Snegurouchka (snow maiden). Moscow Winter Festival is one of the best ways to enjoy what Russia has to offer.
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Notting Hill Carnival – England
England has its own carnival every year called the Notting Hill Carnival. It is held each year in August over two days during August bank holiday and the day beforehand. Originally started as a Trinidad Carnival in 1964, it has now become an internationally acclaimed event. However, it still remains true to its Caribbean roots. This carnival is London’s most vibrant celebration of diversity, color and sound. It is 20 miles long and is celebrated with music, Caribbean food, costume competitions and activities for the whole family. So if you are looking to get lost in a colorful world, Notting Hill Carnival is the absolute best. It is only getting bigger and better for 2012.
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Paris Summer Arts Festival – France
Paris is known to hold long festivals and the Paris Summer Arts Festival is only a little under a month long. It runs between July 14th to August 9th. During this time artists from every corner of the world come to Paris to show off their artistic work from poetry to paintings. The streets of Paris is filled with free dances, music, theaters, and circus acts. If you are an artist or in the need for some artistic inspiration, the Paris Summer Arts Festival is the place to be. The specific dates have not been set for 2012 yet but keep an eye out for.
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Carnivale – Brazil
Looking for festivals with happy music, lavish costumes and colorful dances? Look no further than Carnivale in beautiful Rio de Janeiro that will offer you that and so much more. The theme here is samba, samba and more samba. Held every February or March, the Carnivale is a bash to commemorate the many samba schools in the city. The music is infectious and the dancers are full of energy to make you feverish throughout the night. Check the Rio festival program guide and be sure to book your hotels early on for 2012 to make the most of Carnivale in Rio Janeiro.
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Burning Man Festival – USA
Burning Man Festival celebrates self-expression and self-reliance. You don’t need to make sculptures out of garbage or drive a car powered by vegetable oil to attend; just be you! Held in the middle of Nevada desert, the flat plain becomes a virtual community for a week with off-beat art exhibits, music performances and all sorts of random mayhem. Even cooler, the festival culminates with the burning of a massive, building-sized effigy. So if you want to join the fun with no rules, bring a tent, food and a camera for the next Burning Man happening on September 1st, 2012.
There no doubt these festivals can give you ultimate pleasure. Therefore make the best of your holiday by booking it when one of these festivals are happening.