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Famous Festivals Around the World

An alphabetical list of 30 world-renowned festivals of various types.
a data set by WorldExplorer
created January 25, 2017
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FAMILY TREE
FestivalOther NamePictureTypeLocationContinentTimeDurationYear of StartOriginal PurposeCurrent StatusEvent & Celebration
Albuquerque International Balloon FiestaSportingAlbuquerque, New Mexico, United StatesNorth AmericaEarly October9 days1972It was the highlight of the 50th birthday celebration for 770 KOB Radio.It is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world.Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascensions, Artistic Vision, Special Shape Rodeo, Balloon Glows, as well as other special events and competitions such as the Fiesta Challenge, America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race, and the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension
Amsterdam PrideAmsterdam Gay PrideCommunity Amsterdam, NetherlandsEuropeFirst weekend of AugustAround a week1996It was first organized as a festival to celebrate freedom and diversity.It is one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands.Canal Parade, Rainbow Park & Pride Walk, exhibitions, street parties, and cultural and sport events
Boryeong Mud FestivalEntertainment Boryeong, Chungcheongnam-do, South KoreaAsiaJulyAround 2 weeks1998It was conceived as a marketing vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics.The festival has become popular with both Koreans and western tourists.Mud skiing competitions, body painting, live music, large firework display, and various attracitons such as a mud pool, mud slides, and a mud prison
Burning ManCommunityBlack Rock Desert, Nevada, United StatesNorth AmericaFrom the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September9 days1986It was a spontaneous act of "radical self-expression" by its founders and their friends.The event is described as an experiment in community and art, attracting 70000 people in 2015.The symbolic ritual burning of a large wooden effigy ("the Man") as well as some experimental and interactive art mediums such as sculptures, buildings, performances, and art cars
Carnival of VeniceCarnevale Cultural & ReligiousVenice, ItalyEuropeFebruary2 - 3 weeks1162 (traditional); 1979(modern)The traditional carnival was started as a celebration for a victory of the Republic of Venice.The modern event returned in 1979 as the centerpiece of the Italian government's efforts to bring back the history and culture of Venice. Since then, approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival.The Flight of the Angel, masquerade balls, the contest for la maschera più bella ("the most beautiful mask"), and a variety of free entertainment and public shows
Cherry Blossom FestivalHanami SeasonalJapan and many other places worldwideAsiaFrom February to early May (depending on the location)Around 2 weeksLate 8th centuryThe seasonal event was used to welcome the new year's harvest while marking the beginning of the rice planting season.It has become popular outside Japan, especially in the United States, and some other countries in Asia and Europe.Flower viewing, eating and drinking, and listening to music
Chinese New Year Spring FestivalCultural & ReligiousChina and overseas Chinese communities worldwideAsiaJanuary or February (Chinese lunar new year)16 daysTraditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors.It is the most important Chinese festival, the time for the family get-together. Lion dances, dragon dances, fireworks, family gathering, family meals, visiting friends and relatives, and lantern shows
Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and WakeSportingGloucester, England, United KingdomEuropeLast Monday in May1 day Early 1800sThe event has two possible origins: a requirement for maintaining grazing rights on the common; and the custom of rolling objects down the hill to represent the birth of the New Year after winter.Currently people from all over the world take part in the event, which is called a "world-famous event" by The Guardian.Cheese-rolling races and the uphill races
Dia de los muertos Day of the DeadCultural & ReligiousMexico and regions with large Hispanic populationsNorth AmericaOctober 31 to November 23 days The modern holiday can be traced back to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. It focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.Creation of altars to remember the dead, visiting graves, and parades
DiwaliDeepavaliCultural & ReligiousIndia and regions with large population of Hindus or people of Indian originAsiaBetween mid-October and mid-November5 daysThe origin can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival.It is one of the major festivals of Hinduism, which spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.Diya and lighting, home decoration, shopping, fireworks, puja (prayers), performing religious rituals, and feast and sweets
GlastonburyMusicPilton, Somerset, England, United KingdomEuropeLast weekend of June5 days1970The first festival was inspired by the ethos of the hippie, counterculture, and free festival movements.It is the largest greenfield festival in the world.Conserts, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other events
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture FestivalSeasonalHarbin, ChinaAsiaJanuary and FebruaryOfficially 1 month, but exhibitions often last longer1963The festival originated in Harbin's traditional ice lantern show and garden party that takes place in winter.It is the largest ice and snow festival in the world, which includes the world's biggest ice sculptures.Sun Island Exhibition, Ice and Snow World Exhibition, and various winter activities (such as Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden)
Inti RaymiSun FestivalCultural & ReligiousCusto, PeruSouth AmericaJune 22 (traditional)/June 24 (modern)9 days1412 (traditional); 1944 (modern)It was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti (Quechua for "sun"), and a celebration of the winter solstice and the Inca New Year. There is the annual recreation of this important Inca ceremony, attracting thousands of tourists and local visitors.Colorful dances, processions, street parties, and the recreation of the Inca ceremony
Kandy Esala PeraheraFestival of the ToothCultural & Religious Kandy, Sri LankaAsiaJuly or August10 daysThe 3rd century BC (traditional); Between 1747 to 1781 (modern)It was held to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom.It is held annually to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, which is housed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.Kap Situveema (planting of a sanctified young Jackfruit Tree), carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets of the Kandy city, Diya Kepeema (a water cutting ceremony), and many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, and Kandyan dances
Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling FestivalSporting Edirne, TurkeyEuropeLast week of June3 days1362The tradition can be traced back to the ancient Sumer and Babylon.It is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world.Oil wrestling competitions
HoliFestival of Colors; Festival of Sharing LoveCultural & ReligiousIndia and regions with large population of Hindus or people of Indian origin AsiaBetween the end of February and the middle of March2 daysThe festival was first held to celebrate the victory of good over evil, as well as the beginning of the spring.Apart from the original purposes, currently the festival is also a time for many people to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.Holika bonfire, Rangwali Holi (the frolic and fight with colors), dancing and drinking, and visiting families and friends
La TomatinaEntertainment Buñol, Valencia, SpainEuropeLast Wednesday in August1 hour1945One popular theory of its origin is that disgruntled townspeople rioted and attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration.Participants of many nationalities throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.Tomato fight
Naadam The Three Games of MenSportingMongoliaAsiaJuly or August3 daysIt has its origins in celebration of various occasions, such as weddings or spiritual gatherings. Currently it formally commemorates the 1921 Revolution and celebrates the achievements of the new state.Opening and closing ceremonies, Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery
New Orleans Mardi GrasShrove Tuesday or Fat TuesdayCultural & ReligiousNew Orleans, United StatesNorth AmericaFebruary or MarchAround 2 weeks1837People celebrated it as part of an observance of Catholic practice.The tradition has become synonymous with the city in popular perception, which is embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage.Large parades, balls, and events such as the "Meeting of the Courts" ceremony
OktoberfestWiesnFood and DrinkMunich, GermanyEuropeFrom late September to the first weekend in October16 to 18 days1810The festival was first held to honor the royal marriage of King Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.It is the world's largest beer festival, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending every year.Entry of the restaurateurs and breweries, beer barrel tapping, the costume and riflemen parade, and a variety of attractions such as amusement rides, sidestalls and games
PanafestThe Pan African Historical Theatre ProjectCulturalGhanaAfricaJuly or AugustAround 9 days1992The event was held as a cultural vehicle for bringing Africans together around the issues raised by slavery which remain suppressed. It is a cultural event held every two years to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism, and the development of the continent of Africa itself. Performances and work (in the areas of theatre, drama, music, poetry, and so on), viewing of the durbar of chiefs, and tours to various places of interest (such as slave castle dungeons)
Running of the BullsCultural & ReligiousPamplona, SpainEuropeJuly 6 to July 148 days1591The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the fields outside the city to the bullring, during which youngsters would jump among the bulls to show off their bravado.It is the highest profile event of the San Fermin festival.Music, dancing, drinking, street theatre, and bull-running
Rio Carnival CarnavalCultural & ReligiousRio de Janeiro, BrazilSouth AmericaFebruary or March5 days1723Portuguese immigrants introduced the Entrudo (meaning "entrance") to Lent (the 40-day period before Easter) by going out onto the streets soaking each other with buckets of water and throwing mud and food.It is considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets. Samba school parades, street parades, blocos, bandas, dancing, and music
Saint Patrick's DayFeast of Saint PatrickCultural & ReligiousIreland and regions with large population of Irish originEuropeMarch 171 dayThe 9th century (traditional); 1903 (modern)The day was made a national holiday and an official Christian feast day to commemorate Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of the Irish diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America.Attending mass or service, public parades, céilithe, wearing shamrocks, wearing green, and drinking Irish beer and whiskey
Sky Lantern FestivalCulturalPingxi, TaiwanAsiaFebruary or March 3 days1990 (modern)Historically, sky lanterns were released to let others know that the town was safe. The festival is held to celebrate the Lantern Festival and the end of Chinese new year. Releasing sky lanterns into the air, folk performances, lantern riddle contests, and street folk carnivals
Songkran Water FestivalCultural & ReligiousThailandAsiaApril 13 to April 153 daysThe celebration marks the Thai new year, and people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, blessings, and good wishes.As the festival falls during the hottest month, currently it is mostly celebrated by young people with water fights.Waterfights and traditional parades
Sydney New Year's EveCulturalSydney, AustraliaOceaniaDecember 314 hours1996The use of fireworks on the Brooklyn Bridge as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations in 1983 inspired the event founder Syd Howard to use the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a launchpad for fireworks to celebrate the new year. Each year the event takes on a new theme and is regularly viewed by more than one million people at the harbour and one billion worldwide for the televised Midnight Fireworks.The "9 pm Family Fireworks" and the "Midnight Fireworks"
TimkatTimket or TimqatCultural & ReligiousEthiopiaAfricaJanuary 19 (or January 20 on Leap Year)3 daysIt celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.It is one of the most important orthodox holidays in Ethiopia.Ritual reenactment of baptism, processions, dancing and singing, and feasting
Up Helly Aa Cultural & ReligiousLerwick, Scotland, United KingdomEuropeLast Tuesday in January 1 day1881The celebration grew out of the older yule tradition of tar barrelling.The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers in Lerwick and considerably lower numbers in the more rural festivals.A series of marches and visitations, a torch-lit procession, and the burning of a galley
White Nights FestivalMusicSt. Petersburg, RussiaEuropeFrom May to JulyAround 2 months1992The festival was held to promote cultural exchange between Russia and the rest of the world.This festival has inspired numerous night-time cultural festivals in many other cities.The "Stars of the White Nights" (a series of classical ballet, opera and orchestral performances), Scarlet Sails celebration (spectacular fireworks and a massive show celebrating the end of the school year), a series of carnivals, and star performances at the Palace Square