Festivals from Around the World

If you ever thought your Friday night cocktail parties were the talk of the town, let these next few examples help you to plan a night that won’t soon be forgotten.

1. Up Helly AA Fire Festival
When it is- January
Where it is- Shetland Islands, Scotland
What goes down- Up Helly AA is one of Europe’s largest fire festivals. Celebrated to mark the end of the Yule season, a galley is set on fire to the cheers of many. Imagine unwrapping your Christmas presents and then proceeding to set fire to the Christmas tree. Happy Up Helly AA day!

2. The Battle of the Oranges

festival2When it is- February
Where it is- Ivrea,Italy
What goes down- To commemorate the bravery of Violetta, a defiant young woman who ignited an uprising, the citizens remember their liberation by throwing oranges at one another (and perhaps simultaneously boosting their immune systems tenfold). This is one instance you may need a wet-nap.

3. Argungu Fishing Festival
When it is- March
Where it is- Kebbi, Nigeria
What goes down- Catch it if you can! Using nothing but their bare hands, the participants in this traditional fishing festival attempt to catch the largest fish for cash prizes— hold on tight!

4. The Songkran Festival

festival4When it is- April 13-15
Where it is- Chiang Mai, Thailand
What goes down- To celebrate the new year, Thailand hosts the world’s largest water gun fight, a celebration your inner child could only dream of. Water, a symbol of washing away the bad, is sometimes filled with fragrant herbs and is sprayed onto the crowd. Did I mention elephants?

5. Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival

festival6When it is- May
Where it is- Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire
What goes down- Since the fifteenth century, the nimble people of Gloucester have been chasing a wheel of cheese down Cooper’s Hill. Former winner Helen Thorpe has often been quoted, “No-one’s going to stop us from doing it!”
Enough said.

6. Festival of the Sun

festival7When it is- June
Where it is- Cuzco, Peru
What goes down- The Festival of the Sun is a weeklong ceremony in honor of the Sun God, Inti Raymi. Hundreds of thousands of people converge on Cuzco each year to enjoy live music, street fairs, and the ceremonial traditions from the reading of ancient script to the sacrifice of a live goat.

7. Mud Festival

festival8When it is- July
Where it is- Boryeong, South Korea
What goes down- Created as a marketing campaign for cosmetics that utilized the mineral rich mud from the Boryeong mud flat, this festival now attracts over 2.2 million visitors per year. Activities include mud pools, mud slides, mud skiing, and live music.

8. La Tomatina

festival9When it is- August
Where it is- Buñol, Spain
What goes down- La Tomatina is an annual event that is held purely for fun ever since 1945 when locals began throwing tomatos during a parade. Now over 150,000 pounds of tomatos are flung in one hour’s time, after which fire trucks are necessary to hose down the streets. Play ball!

9. Festa Dels Trepitjadors (Grape Throwing Festival)

festival10When it is- September
Where it is- Mallorca, Spain
What goes down- One month later we find Spain once more hurling copious amounts of food at one another in an act of celebration; its history lost in time. What would mother say?

10. Diwali ( Festival of Lights )

festival11When it is- October
Where it is- India and other countries with large populations of Hindu worshippers
What goes down- This biggest and brightest festival in all of Hindu festivals is marked by four days of celebration. Each day is separated by a different tradition but what remains constant is the celebration of life and it’s enjoyment. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India to represent light that brings us closer to divinity and commits us to good deeds.

11. The Monkey Buffet Festival

festival12When it is- November
Where it is- Lopburi, Thailand
What goes down- In honor of the long-tailed macaques and their noble efforts at boosting tourism, the province of Lopburi holds an annual “monkey buffet”. Some 3000 monkeys arrive!

12. Junkanoo

festival13When it is- December
Where it is- Nassau, Bahamas
What goes down- Although its origins are in constant debate one thing is certain; Junkaroo has become one of the most entertaining street carnivals in the world. Preparations begin months in advance to bring this colorful, musical, theatrical extravaganza to life!

Jack Achenbach

Jack Achenbach

I am an SLE Storyteller and a culinary nutrition student at Johnson & Wales University who believes that there is no limit to the size of one’s imagination nor the paths one travels. I am a writer, a sucker for a great story. I am chef with a culinary passion. I am an adventurer because I explore what yet I have not seen. I am a dreamer because I dream the impossible dream.

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