Welcoming the new season, brightening their spirits, bringing the people of the city together, welcoming the sky with balloons and kites, celebrating the harvest of the region… Festivals are enchantingly beautiful festivities, even if the reasons are different. We have compiled the most famous of the most beautiful festivals from around the world.
Hermanus Whale Festival, South Africa
Hermanus, a coastal town in the Republic of South Africa, hosts the Whale Watching Festival every year at the end of September. In the town, which is on the migration route of the southern whales, the passage of these magnificent animals is turned into a festival. The most important feature of the festival is to call for protection laws for the whales, which are in danger of extinction, and for the safety of ocean life.
All Saints’ Day Kite Festival, Guatemala
Much like the Day of the Dead in Mexico, the Day of the Souls can be considered the Guatemalan version of the festival. Every year on November 1-2, people gather in cemeteries, decorate altars and remember lost loved ones. At the Sacatepequez cemetery in Guatemala, the All Saints’ Day Kite Festival, called BarriletesGigantes, is held. Locals and visitors design the largest kites from natural materials. Up to 20 meters wide, the kites cover the sky.
Holi Festival, India
The “Holi Festival”, known as the festival of colors in India, was celebrated yesterday in the capital Dhaka. Holi, the ancient Hindu spring festival held on March 18, is one of the most photographed festivals in the world. Holi, which we can translate as the Festival of Colors, attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world to India at the beginning of every spring.
It is meant to celebrate Lord Vishnu and the triumph of good over evil and to give thanks for the abundance of the harvest. In India, cities like Rajasthan and Mumbai are prominent centers of the festival. However, we recommend Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, where Lord Vishnu spent his childhood.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China
Harbin, the world’s largest winter festival, is held in the northern region of China. The city of Harbin is famous for always being cold and is known as the “Ice City” because of its freezing temperatures. The rainbow colors reflected from the snow sculptures and icicles stretching from the rooftops, as well as the giant Buddha statue made of ice, turn Harbin into an ice paradise. You need to love the cold to attend the festival, as temperatures range from -7 to -20 degrees Celsius during the festival.
International Kite Festival, India
Every year in the western state of Gujurat Uttarayan, a giant kite festival is organized for the most important day of the Indian calendar. Months before this festival, which represents the transition from winter to summer, the participants work day and night to build the biggest, most colorful, most beautiful kite. Since 1989, kites fill the sky on January 14 in Ahmedabad, India’s largest festival organization and the largest city in the state.
Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan
Sapporo is the largest event of its kind and has been held for 70 years. Every year millions of people come to see the winter wonders set up in Odori Park in Susukino, the capital of Hokkaido. The festival also includes an international snow sculpture competition and is extremely important for sculptors.
Lantern Festival, Taiwan
The city of Hsinchu in northwestern Taiwan is known as the “windy city” due to its geographical location. Taiwan’s famous Lantern Festival is held every year at the end of the Lunar New Year and across the whole country. Hsinchu is scheduled to be the center of the festival in 2021. A giant lantern made of 108 bamboo sticks will be built in Jinhua park.
Inti Raymi Festival, Peru
IntiRaymi is an ancient Inca religious festival in honor of the Sun God Inti. The festival begins on June 21, the winter solstice for the southern hemisphere, and Inti is asked to make the sun shine brighter and the days longer. Held in Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, the IntiRaymi Festival is the largest and oldest religious celebration in the world. Hundreds of years after the fall of the civilization, it is still a sacred day for the people of Cusco and the Andes. The festival’s colors and theatrical performances embrace travelers from around the world.
Naadam Festival, Mongolia
Naadam is essentially a sports festival, but the main purpose is for Mongolians to continue their success in historical ancestral sports. The Naadam Festival, also known as the Men’s Games, invites the country’s best wrestlers, archers and horsemen to compete. The largest festival in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, smaller celebrations of Naadam are also held in different cities across the country. Traditional Mongolian costumes and sports thrill visitors throughout the day.
Gion Matsuri, Japan
Gion Matsuri, Kyoto’s biggest festival, was first held in 839 during an epidemic. Kyotoites sent a child messenger to the gods and asked for their blessings. In Gion Matsuri, which has been going on for more than a thousand years, a boy is traditionally chosen and sits in the parade on July 24 to be the messenger to the Gods. Unlike in the past, today’s Gion Matsuri celebrations also include street food and parties.
Flower Festival, Colombia
Every August in Colombia, the Feria de Flores, the Flower Festival, a celebration of the nature of the flowers, covers the country in color for 10 days. The most beautiful and colorful flower arrangements grown locally are exhibited throughout the festival. At the end of the festival, the most beautiful arrangement is chosen. There are different categories of competitions for all ages and people, the most attractive of which is of course the children’s category.
Balloon Festival, USA
Every year, more than 500 hot air balloons grace the skies of the Rio Grande Valley in Alburquerque in the US state of New Mexico. The Great Ascension, when the balloons take off together, is a spectacular sight. The balloons, each in different colors and sizes, together create an unforgettable spectacle. It is also possible to buy a ticket and take off with one of the balloons at the Balloon Festival, which is organized day and night.
Black Necked Crane Festival, Bhutan
With a festival dedicated to the endangered black-necked crane, Bhutanese are trying to prevent the extinction of this important bird. The black-necked crane is an Asian bird and lives in rural Bhutan. It is extremely important in the region, especially in winter. In Bhutan, locals gather at Gangtey Goenpa in the Phobjikha Valley in March to celebrate the migratory arrival of these birds. Folk songs are sung, dances are performed and demonstrations are organized to ensure the protection of the crane.
Day of the Dead, Mexico
One of the world’s most famous festivals, Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is held to honor, remember and welcome the souls of the dead. In Mexico, the festival can be experienced in its most spectacular form in major cities such as Michoacan, Oaxaca and Mexico City.
Horn Gaga Festival, India
In the Indian state of Nagaland, where many different tribes and ethnic peoples live together, each tribe celebrates its own traditional festivals. The Horn Gaga Festival is the ultimate celebration that encompasses all these festivals. Organized by all the tribes in the region and local government officials, it is considered a festival celebrating the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups. Named after the bird of the same name, the Horned Beak Festival is a celebration of agriculture. The tribes stay together for 10 days in the Naga Heritage village of Kisama, near Kohima, and organize numerous activities. It has both artistic and commercial dimensions such as handicrafts, sculptures and food markets. At the end of the festival, a beauty contest is organized and Miss Nagaland is selected and crowned.