There are some incredible festivals and celebrations held all over the world that most of us don’t even know about. From drinking beer to pelting thousands with tomatoes, I’m here to walk you through all of the fun, the messy, the beautiful-looking celebrations that our planet has to offer. Join me as I take you through Amazing Celebrations Around the World.
5. Carnival of Venice This fairy tale-like festival takes place in Venice, Italy and has been going on for over 900 years! Yes, that’s right, the same festival that takes place today has been taking place for nearly a millennium, although I’m sure it differs these days from the past. Entertainers, jugglers, musicians, party goers, and all other sorts fill the streets and colorful; decorative boats line the canals as the party rages on with millions of people in attendance. Elaborate masks are seen everywhere throughout the Carnival, and they are actually what has made it world-famous. There are lots of different styles of masks worn, from Plague Doctors (the bizarre ones with a long beak) to the volto (a white, porcelain mask typically worn with a cloak) and at one time the different masks correlated with different occupations. While the Carnival sure looks like it could be a little creepy, it also seems fun, so I would give it a shot. Just gotta hope no one’s got any evil intentions because they could quickly disappear into a crowd without a face, er, trace.
4. La Tomatina Who likes tomatoes? Well, then I might have found the festival that’s just right for you! La Tomatina is a festival where tomatoes are the main attraction (I mean, look at the name) and participants get to ride down tomato-streaked slides and have tomato fights! How fun would it be to throw millions of tomatoes at thousands of people? It’s like a giant snowball fight but with fruit instead of frozen water! The festival is held in Bunol, which is just 19 miles east of Spain, and has been going on since 1945! It all started with an upset parade participant got angry and went on a rampage, which ended up with people grabbing tomatoes from a market stall and throwing them at each other. The idea spread when the next year people brought their own tomatoes from home and began their own tomato fight and that kind of settled things. Although the fight was banned for some years, the people spoke and brought it back, and La Tomatina was officially labeled a festival! How cool!
3. Holi Holi crap. Who wouldn’t want to go to this colorful and mesmerizing event? This “festival of colours” is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in southern Asia in the Indian subcontinent. Peeps meetup to celebrate the arrival of spring, the victory of good over evil—in other words, they hate the darn winter! They get together and leave the past in the past, work to repair broken relationships, laugh and play, and forgive and forget. The festival takes place the night after a Purnima—the Indian word for full moon—and runs through the following day, which is where the colors come into play. The celebrations on the evening following the full moon is called Holika Dahan and the vibrant, color spraying celebration the next day is called Rangwali Holi, where painting people is kind of the goal. It’s a free-for-all of colors, and people use balloons and squirt guns filled with color to create their human masterpieces. There’s music, dancing, laughing, playing, food, drinks, and even some bhang use—which is just the devil’s lettuce infused in drinks. This festival sounds like the festival of all festivals, and I hope that one day, I’m able to enjoy the colors, music, laughing, and da bhang alongside my fellow winter haters.
2. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Alright, so you probably know that this festival takes place in New Mexico due to the title, but did you know that it takes place in October? Okay, that’s not that interesting, but what is is that this event is the biggest hot air balloon festival in the United States and over 500 balloons are used in the participation of this high-flying spectacle. This balloon fiesta lasts for nine days, and it began in 1972 during a birthday celebration for radio station 770 KOB Radio. What’s crazy is that the board for this festival had to set a limit on the number of balloons that could participate for safety reasons, and at one point, in 2000, the number of balloons registered to fly was 1,019. The limit was set at 750 in 2001 and was dropped to 600 in 2009 because of city growth and loss of landing zones. Still, 600 balloons is a ton, and it would be amazing to be there, boots on the ground, or in the air, to watch these beauts take flight! I guess I’ll have to go and see for myself someday.