Posted 16 June 2022

Top eight international festivals celebrated around the world

“Shop till you drop”, a famous quote common amongst shopaholics, is something people love to do especially during festivals, held exclusively for shopping. The following is a list of festivals around the world that bring people together. With a different story to narrate, each one of them is about fun and frolic. So, gear up to celebrate!

1. Dubai Shopping Festival in Dubai, UAE

The list of festivals around the world is incomplete without mentioning the Dubai Shopping Festival. During the shopping festival, every store in every mall or marketplace across the city offers unbelievable discounts. Whether it is a high-end international outlet or a local brand, you can expect a discount of as much as 75% at any store. Dubai turns into a shopping paradise and shopaholics around the world wait eagerly for the festival.

The Dubai Shopping Festival started in 1996 with the idea that anyone can just go out and start shopping. The shopping festival offers an opportunity to explore the ‘city of extravagance’, that is Dubai. Markets and shopping malls are decorated with lights and banners. The festival is not just about shopping; various food fairs are organised in different parts of the city. Fashion parades, ramp walks and game shows are held in the popular shopping malls. Music concerts, featuring international artists, are also organised during the festival. You can witness an amazing firecracker show at Creek Park every night during the festival.

  • Best time to visit:This festival is held between the first week of January and the first week of February.

2. Songkran in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, also known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, is blessed with spectacular landscapes, majestic architecture and vivacious culture. The Thai capital is also famous for its exotic festivals. Songkran is worth mentioning in this regard. If you are making a list of festivals around the world, then you must include Songkran. The festival provides you with the opportunity to witness the amazing culture of Thailand.

Songkran marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Songkran is a unique chapter in the world festivals calendar. The festival is celebrated by splashing water on each other. Participating in the festival becomes a unique experience for tourists. They enjoy the summer splash in high spirits. You will find locals roaming on the streets of Bangkok and throwing water using buckets or water guns. Visiting Buddhist temples can be a memorable experience. People flock to the temples and splash water on the Buddha idols as well as monks to pay reverence. There is also the custom of visiting the homes of elder relatives and throwing water on them. Processions are held on the streets carrying giant images of Lord Buddha.

On 14th April, there is a ritual where people visit Buddhist temples to build a sandcastle resembling the temple they visit. This is known as Wan Nao. You can also visit Chiang Mai where a grand celebration is organised featuring traditional food stalls, colourful parades and ethnic dance and music performances.

On 15th April is the final day of the Songkran festival. And, Khao San Road turns out to be the most vibrant location in Bangkok. You can enjoy street performances and various fun-filled events in the area.

  • Best time to visit: This festival Falls between April 13th and 15th.

3. Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong

One of the most dynamic cities in Asia, Hong Kong showcases an amalgamation of ethnic Chinese culture and western practices. The city celebrates different festivals throughout the year. But, the most popular of them is Cheung Chau Bun Festival. Include it on your list of festivals around the world if you want to explore the age-old traditions of the Chinese city.

Every year, thousands of tourists’ flock to the island of Cheung Chau to witness the eccentric festival. The native people of the island fervently prepare paper-mâché idols of deities, colourful costumes, buns and other stuff. A tall bamboo tower is built for the festival. The week-long carnival includes Taoist rituals, traditional music, parades, drum beating, lion dance and much more. The Bun Scrambling Competition remains to be the most exciting part of the festival.

The festival has been celebrated for more than a century and has a story of its initiation. During the late Qing dynasty, a plague broke out in Cheung Chau that devastated the island. People built a platform facing Pak Tai Temple and prayed to God Pak Tai to drive away the evil spirits. Further, villagers paraded with statues of deities through the narrow lanes of their villages. The epidemic ended after performing these Taoist rituals. Since then, every year these rituals are performed ardently in Cheung Chau. The islanders carry a strong community sense and celebrate the festival as the continuance of their customs.

  • Best time to visit: Cheung Chau Bun Festival is celebrated between the fifth and the ninth day of the fourth lunar month. It usually falls in April-May as per Gregorian Calendar.

4. Distortion Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark

Have you ever imagined a street party spanning continuously for five days across the city?

Copenhagen turns this thought into reality through the Distortion Music Festival. The city transforms into a colossal street bash where music stages are set in every lane in the vivacious neighbourhoods. From morning till late night, music never stops here. Witnessing more than 1 lakh revellers on each day of the festival, Copenhagen Distortion is among the largest annual gatherings in Europe.

It is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic events in the world festivals calendar. Describing the spirits and atmosphere of the Distortion Festival is pretty difficult. The reason being it is not simply a music festival but much more than that. You will see thousands of people of all ages mingling and shaking their legs together on the beats. Those who are not on the streets, mark their presence by singing and dancing in their balconies. You will feel that the entire city is partying together. Further, delicious street food cannot be missed during the festival.

  • Best time to visit: This festivals helds on the weekof the first Saturday in June.

5. Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur proudly embraces its cultural diversity through its multi-ethnic festivals. Thaipusam is one such important festival celebrated by Tamils in Kuala Lumpur. It is the celebration of the victory of Lord Muruga over Soorapadam, the evil spirit. The festival is observed either in late January or early February. The famous Batu Caves shrine remains to be the main place of the celebrations. The major attraction of the three-day festival is the grand procession where Lord Muruga is carried on a silver chariot. The reverberations of hymns along with drum beats create a magical ambience. Devotees across the globe throng the shrine to seek blessings.

  • Best time to visit: The festival is organised during late January or early February.

6. The Light Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is all about heritage, traditions and innovation. The Light Festival is the best time to explore the exquisiteness of the city. The city turns into a dazzling diva during the festival. Every year, there remain different themes for the festival. It is one of the famous festival celebrations this year you may explore in Europe. International artists participate in the festival to deck up the canal belt of Amsterdam with light sculptures, art installations and light projections. The squares and monuments of the city are embellished with lighting effects. Canal cruising in the evenings can be a great way to explore the beautiful city in its illuminated look.

  • Best time to visit: This festival starts in late November and lasts till January end.

7. Athens Epidaurus Festival in Athens, Greece

Athens, the capital of Greece, is the land where one of the most ancient civilisations of the world had emerged. When talking about the list of festivals around the world,the AthensEpidaurus Festival is worth mentioning. It is one of the oldest performing arts festivals in Europe. Several venues in Athens and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are the home to this famous festival. During the festival, ancient drama, ballet, jazz, opera and classical music performances are delivered. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Lycabettus Theatre are among the popular locations in Athens to view the cultural performances.

  • Best time to visit: Every year, the festival is held between the months of June and August.

8. Vesak Poya in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Blessed with scenic splendour and incredible culture, Colombo touches your heart with its vibrancy. The city is home to festivals of different religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Vesak Poya is one of the festivals in Colombo that you must include in the world festivals calendar. Vesak Poya is the commemoration of three milestones in Lord Buddha’s life.

It is believed that on this day itself Lord Buddha was born, found enlightenment and then many years later departed his mortal body. People pay their visit to temples. Colourful paper lanterns and diyas are lit up at night at every home in the city. Several city squares and places like Baudaloka Mawata and Biera Lake are decorated beautifully. People serve food to passers-by on the streets.

  • Best time to visit: This festival is celebrated on a full-moon day in the month of March.

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