The world's best festivals

Travel Forums General Talk The world's best festivals

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1. Posted by travelover (Respected Member 494 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I was browsing around the net for themed travel and I came across a section on lonelyplanet about festivals. They listed the following festivals as must dos:

Burning Man (California, USA), Holi (India), Snow & Ice Festival (Japan), Festival of Snakes (Italy), La Tomatina (Spain), Wife Carrying (Sweden), Day of Witches (Czech Republic), and Ghost Month (Taiwan).

Has anyone ever experienced any of these festivals and what did you guys think of them? Would you guys add any other festivals to the must do list? Just curious!


2. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

NYC has a handful of great festivals and parades. It's one of the things that I've really liked about living here.

The St. Patricks Day Parade is always a good time for me, the Macy's Parade(Thanksgiving) is a good one too.

As far as festivals, the San Genaro feast in Little Italy is amazing for it's food and how many people they manage to pack into 1 block of NYC.

New Years eve used to be great here too, but it has been toned down a lot since Sept 11th..

In my home town of Anchorage Alaska there is Fur Rendezvous which is a weeks long festival including sled dog races, native american games, ice sculptures, carnival rides, and more. It is really a great, although chilly, time to be in Alaska... in February.

I forget the name of the Festival, but maybe one of the Malay members can help me out here. There is a Hindu festival that takes place every year in these Huge natural caves outside of KL. It's a very big to do with a bunch of Indian-Malaysians doing all sorts of crazy things (through American eyes) in honor of their religion. I went without the benefit of my Malay friends, so I did not wholly understand what was going on.

The Queens birthday parade in London was a good one.

Oh... there are so many, but one last one that would be a crime not to mention is El Tope in Costa Rica. It is a big festival that moves throughout Costa Rica during America's winter months. It's a big horse parade with all the Caballeros riding through whatever city they are in followed by a weeklong festival featureing a veritable portable city of mobile pubs, clubs, bars, resteraunts, bull fighting (Costa Rica Style) rides and so much more... That is one that I will definitely go back for one day.

3. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


Let me help you out here.

The festival you're referring to is Thaipusam (Pronounced Thai-poo-sum).

Quoting Wani Muthiah's article at :


"There are plenty stories about what Thaipusam is about. Among the most popular is that it commemorates the day Lord Siva's consort, the powerful goddess Parvathi, gives her son, Murugan, the vel (lance) to vanquish three demons and their large army which were plaguing the world.

Thaipusam falls on a full moon day in the auspicious 10th Tamil month of Thai when the constellation of Pusam, the star of well-being, rises over the eastern horizon.

In Kuala Lumpur, the festival is celebrated on a mammoth scale at the Batu Caves temple on the outskirts of the city. It began in 1892, started by early Tamils who migrated to colonial Malaya (now Malaysia)."


Detailed info can be found on this page:


4. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Another great festival is the Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year) celebrations.

Quoting :


A time for family reunions, the lion dance, firecrackers, mahjong, mandarin oranges and giving/collecting "ang pow" (small red packets which contain money, as a gesture, as opposed to westerners' style of giving presents during christmas), the Lunar New Year - or Chinese New Year (CNY), as it is more commonly known in Malaysia - highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of Chinese tradition and rituals.

Its origin can be traced back thousands of years, to the legend which tells of a fearsome mythological creature known as Nian that is said to have once terrorised China, devouring people on the eve of CNY. To ward off the beast, red-paper couplets were pasted on doors, firecrackers were set off throughout the night, and huge fires were lit.

Today, the prevalence of the colour red, and firecrackers, form part of the CNY celebrations throughout the world, as a part of custom and tradition.

The festival, which once also marked the beginning of spring in China, begins on the first day of the lunar calendar year, the first day of the new moon, and ends on the 15th day, known as Chap Goh Meh, the last day of the full moon. (It normally falls on the 2nd half of Jan to the 1st half of Feb)

However, celebrations are normally confined to the first few days and the last day. In Malaysia, the first two days are gazetted as public holidays.


There are many other great festivals in Malaysia. Visit this page for more info:


5. Posted by bernchan (Budding Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Although I would love to see this competition/festival in Sweden the Wife Carrying takes place in Finland, not Sweden.;)


6. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,
Although I've never been, the Notting Hill Carnival in London is the largest festival in Europe and second only to Rio apparently.

7. Posted by travelover (Respected Member 494 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Oopsies! My mistake on the Wife Carrying festival/competition!

8. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Have been to any number of festivals across Europe, and most certainly do the job....

As well as the wife carrying, Finland has a number of really stupid ones, most of which are fantastic drunken fun (although normally bitten to shreads by mozzies) - world air guitarre, karaokee and mobile phone throwing amongst others.

Oktfest, Tomatina (prefer the italian version with the Oranges), Bull running etc are getting a bit too commercial, but stilll good fun. Camel wrestling is just bizarre. Many stupid "world championships" in England (Bog snorkling, toe wrestling, cheese rolling, gurneying amongst any others) which are brilliant to watch, and even more fun to join in.

Must admit, any of the redbull days (and there are many around the world) are really worth a look, although never actually entered any of them.

For some others, try:

More normal, Notting Hill is a huge carnival like the Rio one which isn't bad at all, most Swedish towns/villages/cities have a week long summer festival which are generally crazy and so out of character with the rest of the year (ours coming in a few weeks, can't wait!) and then you have all the music festivals....

9. Posted by kody (Respected Member 234 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi all I'm proud to be a Malaysian...just as stated frm Hien,
there're not just these festival, there're more out there hehe.

After reading so many forums and knowing ppl around the world, I still didn't come across anyone frm Japan.
I've a Japanese friend working down here in Malaysia, and heard alot of interesing festival in Japan.
Hmm...anyone know well about Japan Festival?