Perhaps the biggest and brightest of all the Hindu festivals, Diwali sees India and large parts of South Asia explode into a brilliant four day show of light, celebrating all that’s joyous about life. This festival is steeped in ancient legends and myths which vary enormously from region to region. Homes are illuminated, sweet incense sticks are lit, and the streets and skies are lit up with thousands of firecrackers to express gratitude to the gods loudly. Gambling is encouraged during Diwali, as it’s said that the Goddess Parvati rolled dice with her husband Lord Shiva, bestowing prosperity on anyone joining in with the games. Are you feeling lucky?
Whether it’s music, crafts, dance or film, you’ll find a colourful variety of festivals and carnivals all around the world, celebrating art and culture in many different and inspiring ways.
Here are six of the Best Cultural Festivals from around the world:
Is there anywhere else so alive with colour, laughter and the sheer love of living than the Rio Carnival in February? Of all the carnivals around the world this is the most famous. With a stay at the all-inclusive Club Med Rio das Pedra, you could hop across for a legendary five days of dancing and fiestas. Dress up and join in the fun or simply stand and gaze in awe at the amazing costumes as you enjoy the best street food Brazil has to offer.
For art, culture and music lovers, Burning Man is one of the best carnivals around the world. Nevada’s Black Rock City comes to life every August for a huge, environmentally-conscious cultural extravaganza of music, art and merrymaking. There’s a distinctly hippyish, spiritual vibe where participation is practically mandatory and the selling of goods is strictly prohibited. Some 30,000 revellers take part, culminating in the burning of a giant wooden effigy.
If you’re planning a holiday to our Palmiye resort then you might want to go during the International Antalya Film Festival in October. One of Turkey’s oldest film festivals, it began in the ancient Aspendos Amphitheatre in the 1950s where its closing award ceremony is still held. Today it kicks off with a lively street parade in Antalya city centre before the festival programme gets underway, attracting the leading lights of global cinema and award-winning documentaries and short films.
Each January, the modest and rugged islands of Shetland are home to Europe’s biggest fire festival, culminating in the burning of a full-scale Viking ship. The tradition stretches back to the 1820s, when a visiting missionary reported witnessing a full day of ‘blowing of horns, beating of drums, tinkling of old tin kettles, firing of guns, shouting, bawling, fiddling, fifeing, drinking and fighting.’
Until the 1870s, burning barrels of tar were rolled down Lerwick’s narrow streets. When this was banned, locals donned elaborate disguises. This was a similar custom to trick or treating, referred to as ‘guising’, where masked revellers performed party pieces in exchange for treats, sang defiant songs and developed raucous torch-lit processions. The custom remai
Every July in Okinawa, the lunar calendar is marked with three days of traditional Esia folk dancing and drumming. Processions energetically weave their way through neighbourhoods, intending to ward off evil spirits and pay tribute to the ghosts of dead ancestors. Revellers smear their faces with white makeup, bang flag poles together and hold friendly dance-offs. Participants are drawn from a wide variety of youth and community groups who spend months preparing for this powerful display of drumming and centuries-old local cultures and customs.