We know that once the summer comes the UK is full of great festivals but have you ever wondered what fantastic world festivals that other countries could offer? Here are a variety of festivals that I think need to be experienced:
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival- China
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. With their bitterly cold winters, it is the perfect climate for a festival like this. However, you will need to check their dates for when it is on each year as it can be anytime between December and February.
What draws in the visitors is the sheer size of it all. Covering 600,000 square metres, with the tallest sculptures towering at 46 metres high and over 10,000 workers needed to cut and haul the ice, Harbin outdoes all of its rivals. There are 3 main events to be viewed and experienced over the course of the festival:
- Sun Island Scenic Area only displays snow sculptures that can be only visited during the daytime.
- The Ice and Snow World displays ice sculptures of a huge scale, such as palace buildings and the Great Wall of China. It is best to visit when they are colourfully lit at night.
- Zhaolin Park: More than 1,000 ice sculptures are displayed which include internally illuminated ice lanterns, magical figures and animals, brilliant if you have children. There are also fantastic activities such as ice slides!
My next must-visit world festival is The Hideout Festival in Croatia. This is an annual electronic music festival held on the island of Pag. When it began in 2011 it immediately landed on The Guardian’s list of one of the best European festivals and continues to be a sell-out each year. The event is split between pool parties in the day and headline performances at night, both of which take place in open-air venues along the beach. There are also plenty of boat parties to join in with as well as a newly launched secret beach party!
And if that wasn’t enough, you can bungee jump, hire quad bikes, visit the Roman Amphitheatre, Kayak, enjoy a jet boat ride or see the island’s own Bermuda triangle all during your stay on the island of Pag.
Hikkaduwa Beach Festival- Sri Lanka
People have been making Hikkaduwa their holiday destination since the Seventies and it is just as popular today, mostly due to its beautiful beach. The long stretch of golden sand is just stunning and with its crystal clear water and tropical palm trees on the edge, it oozes luxury and relaxation vibes. The surf is also excellent and it is the perfect place to take up snorkelling and diving. And all of this adds up to why the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival in July/August is one of the most popular around. With international DJ’s, musicians and world-class dancers it becomes a holidaymakers’ and party-lovers paradise. When it comes to world festivals, this one has the most beautiful of settings.
Day of the Dead- Mexico
The Day of the Dead is not about death, but about life; “Hay más tiempo que vida,” meaning “There is more time than life.” It is a time in Mexico to visit family graves, remember and celebrate those who have been lost and to pray for them.
The most striking sight of the Day of the Dead is, of course, the parade costumes. Skulls are the main symbol and even though you may think of this as looking a bit scary and morbid, it is, in fact, a tribute. And don’t think that this isn’t for the younger generation, the Day of the Dead is celebrated by everybody. November 1 is the “Day of the Innocents”, dedicated to children, and tends toward solemnity for that reason. On this day, the children run around town hunting for food offerings, later brought to the community centre for a feast.
November 2 is the actual “Day of the Dead” where the events move to the cemeteries. The graveyards are tidied up, the graves are covered in flowers and prayers are said.
Not only is this festival visually stunning and entertaining, but it is also thought-provoking and moving. Winter sun plus a new festival is perfect for any UK holidaymaker.
Las Palmas Carnival- Gran Canaria
During Carnival, Las Palmas becomes one big party destination. With Latin American music, brass bands, clowns, magicians, acrobats, fireworks and colourful fancy-dress parades each year is bigger and better than the last! You won’t always get the same experience either because the theme is voted for each year by the locals.
The wildest night of all is when the Carnival Drag Queen is chosen. The parade starts in La Isleta and continues for several hours, following a set itinerary, through the city to the big stage at Santa Catalina Park and ends at midnight with a huge fancy-dress party. With over 200,000 people attending this could be the festival to beat all festivals! Time to get looking for the best deals on Gran Canaria holidays I think!
If you are big into your music festivals then Boom is for you. Boom launched in 1997 and began as a psychedelic trance music festival but has quite literally boomed over the years and now offers five stages with different music genres as well as plenty of activities to get involved in such as yoga classes, workshops, lectures, water therapy and massages. The festival also has great attractions which include an art gallery, street theatre, performances and sculptures. It now also prides itself on being as eco-friendly as possible by using non-chemical toilets and powering as much of the festival as they can by using solar and wind energy. It is entirely funded by ticket sales and does not promote any type of sponsoring to keep in line with their entire ethos:
“Inspired by the principles of Oneness, Peace, Creativity, Sustainability, Transcendence, Alternative Culture, Active Participation, Evolution and Love, it is a space where people from all over the world can converge to experience an alternative reality.”
Have you been to any offer world festivals that you would add to this list?
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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