Festivals

(last updated articles are on the top)

Nebuta Matsuri

Nebuta (in Japanese drowsiness) Matsuri (in Japanese festival) is held between the 2nd and 7th of August in the Japanese city of Aomori located in the Tōhoku region (far north of the Honshu island). It is believed that the main purpose of the festival is to wake up sleepy souls and make them ready for the upcoming autumn harvest. The main attraction of this festival is a parade of very big lanterns in the shape of samurai warriors. These lanterns are made of wood or bamboo covered with papier-mâché (in French "chewed paper").

Festa das fogaceiras

The city of Santa Maria de Feira is located in the Portuguese district of Aveiro. It belongs to the greater metropolitan area of Oporto. According to the local belief Saint Sebastian saved the city from plague. That is why the people of this city made a vow to organize the festival called Festa das fogaceiras. It is held on the 20th of January. The tradition is over five centuries old. The first festival was held in 1505. There was no festival between 1749 and 1753. New plague outbreak brought the tradition back to life. Since then it has been organized regularly.

Tamborrada

Donostia-San Sebastián is a beautiful city in the Basque Country. It is famous for its International film festival. The Donostiarras, like citizens of this city call themselves, are also proud of their Tamborrada or the feast of Saint Sebastian. It is held on the 20th of January. Everything starts at midnight when the mayor raises the city flag on the Konstituzio Plaza (Constitution Square). For 24 hours thousands of people are playing drums or barrels.
Tamborrada in Donostia-San Sebastián

Festes de Sant Joan

Ciutadella is a town located in the west of the island of Menorca. Menorca is one of the Spanish Balearic Islands. Between the 22th and 25th of June the locals organize the Festes de Sant Joan (Feast of Saint John). Everything reaches its peak on the eve of Sant Joan which is on the 23rd of June. This day is traditionally called Dissabte De Sant Joan (Saturday of Saint John). The feast celebrates the victory of light over dark. It includes lot of fireworks, bonfire, dance and drink.

Carabao festival

The Carabao festival is held in the Philippines during the feast of of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Worker). The festival is organized on the 15th and 16th of May. The most famous festivals are those held in towns of San Isidro (province of Nueva Ecija), Pulilan (province of Bulacan) and Angono (province of Rizal). Carabao festival is held in honour of carabao (kalabaw) or water buffalo. The carabao is the national animal of the Philippines.
San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Worker)

Noruz

Noruz or Nowruz is a traditional festival organized to mark the Iranian New Year. This festival is celebrated on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of March. A month before the New Year Iranian women thoroughly clean their homes. This act is called “Khouneh Tekouni” (“shaking the house”). One of the most important events before Noruz is “Chaharshanbe-Soori” (Fire Festival). This festival is held on the last Wednesday night of the year. The festival celebrates the victory of “light” (good) over “darkness” (evil).
Chaharshanbe-Soori (Fire Festival)

Tsechu

Tsechu festival is held in Bhutan on the 10th day of month according to the lunar Tibetan calendar. The actual month depends on the place where the festival is organized. According to western calendar tsechu is usually organized sometime around October. This Drukpa Buddhist festival exists in all districts (“dzongkhag”) of the country. It lasts for 4 days. The most important tsechu festivals are the Thimphu Tsechu and the Paro Tsechu.
Dance of the Black Hats at the Paro Tsechu

European harvest festivals

Harvest festivals are annual events held by people of certain region in the time of harvest.
Saint Leopold III Saint Leopold III
Saint Leopold III (1073 – November 15, 1136) was the Margrave of Austria in period between 1095 and 1136. He is the patron saint of Austria. The Saint Leopold feast is on the 15th November. In Austria it is the start of the wine season. Many parties held in the nature. Wine is tasted. Traditional music is performed.

Lajkonik of Krakow

Krakow is by many the most beautiful city in Poland. This city in the south of the country has a population of 756,183 (2010). It is located on the Vistula river in the Lesser Poland region. One of the main symbols of Krakow is the Lajkonik.
map of Poland map of Poland
Who is the Lajkonik? The Lajkonik is a bearded man. He is wearing a special pointed hat and the ancient Mongolian clothes. He rides a white wooden horse.

Pushkar camel fair

Pushkar is a town located on the edge of Thar desert in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is famous for its traditional camel fair. In 2014 it is held between the 30th of October and 6th of November. At the beginning it was planned to create the fair that would gather all local camel traders in the time of the Kartik Purnima festival. The festival is traditionally organized around full moon during Hindu lunar month of Kartika. In time the fair became a big tourist attraction.
Pushkar camel fair

Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri ("hina" is a doll, "matsuri" is a festival) is the Japanese doll festival. It is also called Girls' festival. It is held on the 3rd of March.
platform with ornamental dolls platform with ornamental dolls
The tradition is to put different ornamental dolls ("hina-ningyō") on special 7 level platform ("hina dan") covered with red cloth ("himosen"). "Dankake" or "mousen" is the name of a level in the platform.

Carnivals

Carnival is a festival held 40 days before Easter. It reaches each peak in the party organized before Ash Wednesday. Like so many traditions of modern time it has pagan origin which was incorporated into Christian traditions. Carnival is typical for Roman Catholic communities but it also exists among Orthodox Christians. It is not so common in predominantly Protestant Christian communities.

Jerez Horse Fair

Jerez de la Frontera is the city located in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia (in Spanish Andalucía). The locals are especially proud of their love for horses.

Festa del Redentore

In 1573 people of Venice, Italy held a special feast. They celebrated the end of plague in their city. This festival was named the Festa del Redentore. The locals decided to build a church as sign of gratitude for the ending of terrible illness was made. In 1592 the church known as Il Redentore was consecrated on the island of Giudecca.
Festa del Redentore in Venice, Italy Festa del Redentore in Venice, Italy

Esala Perahera

Esala Perahera, or like it is sometimes called Festival of the Tooth, is one of the biggest festivals in Sri Lanka. It is organized in the town of Kandy in July or August. “Esala” is the name of lunar month occurring in July/August. In 2014 the festival is held from the 1st to 11th of August. Word “perahera” means a parade.
Esala Perahera festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka Esala Perahera festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Carnival of Binche

Binche is a Walloon town in the Belgian province of Hainaut. Binche is famous for its carnival held on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It has been organized since the 14th century. This unique event has the status of Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity listed by UNESCO.
Gilles Gilles

Dasara

Dasara (Dussehra, Navaratri) is one of the most famous festivals in India. According to the Hindu calendar it is celebrated on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha (“bright half”) of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja). In the western calendar it is sometime in September or October. In 2014 Dasara is held on the 3rd of October. In some parts of the country it is celebrated for 10 days. The word dasara comes from „dashhara“ where „dash“ means ten and „hara“ means defeated.
Chamunda goddess Chamunda

Naga Panchami

Nāga Panchami is a Hindu festival organized in almost every part of India. According to the Hindu lunar calendar the festival is held on Panchami (the fifth day or "tithi" of the fortnight or "paksha") in Shravan (Shravanam) month. In the Gregorian calendar it is July and August. In 2014 the festival is held on the 1st of August. During the festival people honour Nāga Devata (Cobras). Five nagas are worshipped - Ananta, Vāsuki, Taxak, Karkotaka and Pingala. There is a Puranic myth stating that Brahma’s son Kashyapa had four wives.

Qixi

Qixi (The Night of Sevens) festival is held in China on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar it is sometime in August. In 2014 the festival is held on the 2nd of August. Qixi is also known under many other names – The Magpie Festival, The Festival to Plead for Skills, The Seventh Sister's Birthday, The Night of Skills.

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan (in Hindi "the bond of protection") is a Hindu festival celebrating the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is organized on the full moon of month Shraavana. Usually it is sometime in August. In 2014 the festival is held on the 10th of August. In the north and northwest of India this holiday is called Rakhi Purnima. The word purnima means a "full moon".

Chinese Dragon Boat festival

Dragon Boat festival or Duanwu festival is one of the most popular Chinese festivals. In Hong Kong and Macau it is known as “Tuen Ng Jit”. It is organized on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. That is why some people also call it the “Double Fifth”. According to the Gregorian calendar the festival is organized in May or June. In 2014 it is held on the 2nd of June. There are two theories about the origin of this ancient festival. Some think that the festival is honouring water dragons. There is a folk belief stating that celebrating this festival helps peasants to ensure good crops.

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong (Loi Kratong) is a festival held in Thailand on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In western calendar it is usually in November.

Infiorata

June is really beautiful in the town of Genzano di Roma. This small town is located on 29 kilometres away from Rome. On Sunday and Monday following Corpus Christi people of this town organize a special festival called Infiorata.

Narzissenfest

Narcissus is a genus of flowering bulbs belonging to the Amaryllis family. In English it is also known as Daffodil. Despite the fact that its bulb and leaves contain the alkaloid poison lycorine the plant is used in herbal medicine. Narcissus is the national flower of Wales.
Narzissenfest Narzissenfest

Fêtes de Bayonne

The city of Bayonne (in Basque Baiona) is located in the far southwest of France. Its citizens make very good ham. But the tradition that make the locals especially proud is their Fêtes de Bayonne. This festival starts on the Wednesday before the first Sunday in August. It lasts five days.

Surin Elephant Round-up

The Thai people love elephants. There is a popular belief stating that the shape of Thailand is similar to an elephant's head.

Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa or Gudhi Padwa is the New Year festival observed by the Marathi and Konkani Hindus.

Chinese Hungry Ghost festival

Chinese Hungry Ghost festival or Yuen Laan, as it is also known, is held on the 15th night of the 7th lunar month.

Chuseok

Chuseok or Hangawi is one of the most famous Korean harvest festivals. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. The festival lasts for three days. In 2014 it is held between the 7th and 9th of September.

Aste Nagusia

Aste Nagusia is a nine day festival held in Bilbao and in the rest of the Basque country during the third week in August. In 2014 the festival is held between the 16th and 24th of August.

Kattenstoet - cat festival

Ieper (in French Ypres) is a town in the west of Belgium. It is located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. Most people associate this town with the events in World War One.

Baisakhi

Baisakhi (Vaisakhi, Vasakhi) is an important Indian festival. It is known under several different names. In the Indian state of Kerala the festival is called Vishu. In Assam the locals call it Bohag Bihu.

Naadam

Naadam is the most famous traditional festival in Mongolia. The festival is best described in local term "eriin gurvan naadam" or "the three games of men". The three sports of this event are the Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. Nowadays women have their competition in horse racing and archery but not in wrestling.
Naadam festival in Mongolia Naadam festival in Mongolian capital Ulan Bator

Ride of the Kings

Vlčnov is a village in the south of historical Moravia region. Moravia is located in the east of the Czech Republic. On the last Sunday in May people of this village organize a wonderful event called Ride of the Kings or “Jízda králů”. Local boys ride through the village on beautifully decorated horses. Their mission is to collect gifts for their king.
Ride of the Kings Ride of the Kings

Ngondo

The Ngondo is a festival held by the Sawa ethnic groups in the city of Douala, Cameroon. It is organized in the first two weeks of December. The most important part of the festival is a ceremony honouring the Jengu. Jengu (in plural miengu) is a water spirit and deity worshipped by the Sawa. These mermaid-like creatures with gap-toothed smile live in rivers and the sea. They bring good fortune to their worshippers.

Kaltenberg Knights' Tournament

Quite many people love everything about the Middle Ages. They organize special events involving knights, court ladies and other things related to that period of history.

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri is one of the most popular Japanese festivals. It is the festival of the Yasaka Shrine (Yasaka Jinja). In its original form this festival was held to please the gods who according to beliefs cause fire, floods and earthquakes. The festival is organized in the city of Kyoto. It lasts during whole month of July. It reaches its peak with the Yamaboko Junkō parade on the 17th of July.

Pooram

Pooram is a festival held after summer harvest in central parts of the Indian Kerala state. Districts of this state like for example Thrissur (Trichur, Trissur) and Palakkad (Palghat) are especially famous for their Pooram festivals. Majority of Pooram festivals include a parade of decorated elephants. There are few exceptions like for example Pooram festivals in Aryankavu Pooram near Shoranur and Machattu Thiruvanikavu Vela near Wadakkanchery. There they have parades with decorated horses and oxen.

Hanagasa Matsuri

Hanagasa Matsuri is a Japanese festival held in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture located in the Tohoku region of the Honshū island. It is held from the 5th to 7th of August. It is being organized since 1964. Some 1 million people attend the festival.
Hanagasa Matsuri Hanagasa Matsuri

Unspunnen festival

The Unspunnen festival is the Swiss folklore event organized every 10 or so years in the town of Interlaken, located in kanton Bern between the Lakes of Thun and Brienz. In 2011 it was held on the 3rd and 4th of September. The festival has its origin in the Alpine Cowherds Festival organized in 1805. Its main purpose was to create more unity among the people of Bern and those living in the mountainous region of the Bernese Oberland.
Steinstossen Steinstossen

Battle of the Flowers

Battle of the Flowers (in Catalan Batalla de Flors, in Spanish Batalla de Flores) is the final event of the famous July Fair held in Valencia, Spain. The event is held on the 22nd of July. It starts with the parade of floats beautifully decorated with flowers. Floats pass along the track couple of times before the commission decides which one is the most beautiful.
Battle of the Flowers in Valencia Battle of the Flowers in Valencia

Sartiglia

Sartiglia or Sartilla, as it is called by the locals, is an equestrian tournament organized in town of Oristano. It is a town and the province of same name located in the west of Italian island of Sardinia. Oristano has a population of 32,932 (2008) people.
Oristano, Italy Oristano

Diwali

Diwali or Deepwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals. The word diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepwali. The word deepwali can be split in two - “dīpa ” (light) and “āwali” (row or line). So, if literally translated word deepwali means a “line of light”. Diwali is known as the “festival of lights”. The festival represents symbolic victory of good over evil. The lamps lit during this festival celebrate humanity and hope.

Onbashira festival

Onbashira (in Japanese "honoured pillars") festival is organized every 6 years in the area of Suwa Lake in Japanese Nagano Prefecture. The festival has been going on for more than 1,200 years.
Onbashira festival Onbashira festival

La Diada de Sant Jordi

La Diada de Sant Jordi or Saint George's Day is celebrated in Barcelona on the 23rd of April. Sometimes it is also called "el dia de la rosa" (The Day of the Rose) or "el dia del llibre" (The Day of the Book).
Sant Jordi - Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona Saint Jordi (Saint George)

Fiesta de La Tirana

Fiesta de La Tirana is a festival in the town of La Tirana located in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile. It is held from the 12th to 16th of July. It is honouring Our Lady of Mount Carmel (in Spanish Virgen del Carmen). Over 200,000 people attend the festival. 207 religious brotherhoods participate in the festival too. Many participants are wearing colourful clothes. There is a platform with the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Fiesta de La Tirana Fiesta de La Tirana

Gelede

The Yoruba people live in the southwest of Nigeria and the southeast of Benin. At the end of dry season, which is the period between March and May, they held the Gelede festival. The local people say that the festival is dedicated to “our mothers” (in Yoruba language "awon iya wa"). It honours the spiritual role of woman in the Yoruba society.
Gelede Gelede

Doudou

The Doudou or Ducasse de Mons is a festival organized on the Trinity Sunday (57 days after Easter) in the city of Mons (in Walloon – Mont, Dutch - Bergen). Mons has a population of 92,523 (2011). It is located in the Belgian province of Hainaut.
Mons in Belgium location of Mons, Belgium

Les Gayants de Douai

Les Gayants de Douai or the Giants of Douai is a festival organized in the city of Douai located in the north of France. Douai and the surrounding area have the population of more than 200,000 people. The festival is held on Sunday after the 5th of July. It lasts for three days.
Douai location of Douai

Karatsu Kunchi Festival

Karatsu Kunchi is some 400 years old Japanese festival in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture located on the island of Kyushu. The festival lasts three days. It is held from 2nd to 4th of November. The main attraction of this festival are special floats called “hikiyama”.

Bhumchu festival

Bhumchu (bhum is pot and chu is water) festival is held in the Tashiding Monastery located in the Indian state of Sikkim. According to the Tibetan lunar calendar (“lo-tho”) this festival is organized in on the 14th and 15th day of the first month (sometime between February and March).
Tashiding Monastery Tashiding Monastery

Kamakura snow festival

This lovely festival is organized on the 15th and 16th of February in Yokote City, Akita prefecture located in the north of Japanese Honshu island. Organizers build over 100 igloo type of buildings in the Doro Koen Park in front of Yokote City Hall. They are known as “kamakura”. Numerous tiny snow buildings are also made in different parts of the city. Inside each of these small objects there is a lit candle.
Kamakura Kamakura

Namahage

Namahage is a Japanese tradition organized in Oga Peninsula, Akita Prefecture in northern Honshū, Japan. It is also known as “Oga no namahage” (in English Oga Namahage Festival). The tradition is held on the 31st of December. People dressed as demons fright naughty Japanese children. They shout something like this - “Any children crying?” Apart from frightening children these demons also warn daughters-in-law to perform their daily duties properly.
Namahage demons Namahage demons

Pongal

Pongal or Thai Pongal or is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu ("Country of the Tamils"). Tamil Nadu is one of 28 states in India. It is located in the south of India. It has population of 72,138,958 (2011). The capital of Tamil Nadu is Chennai.
Pongal Pongal - the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu
Tamils in other parts of the world like for example Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, USA, Canada and Singapore celebrate Pongal too.

La Mercè

La Mercè is a festival held in Barcelona, Catalonia on the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (in Catalan La Mare de Déu de la Mercè). It is on the 24th of September, but some events of the festival start couple of days earlier. La Mercè has been official city holiday since 1871.
Gegants i capgrossos Gegants i capgrossos

Teej festival

Teej or Haritallka Teej is a traditional Hindu festival honouring the reunion of the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati after 100 years of penance. It is interesting to mention that teej is actually a small red insect that appears during rains in the monsoon season. In some areas the Teej is called the Sawan festival. According to Hindu calendar this festival is held on the 3rd day of the Shukla Paksha in Shaaravan or Saawan. In western calendar it is in August or early September. On this day women visit temples and pray for the long and prosperous life of their husbands.

Water splashing festival

Dai people are one of 56 officially recognized national minorities in China. According to the official statistics there are 1,158,989 Dai people. Most of them live in the south of Yunnan province located in the southwest of China.
Dai woman Dai woman

Burning the Clocks

Burning the Clocks is the winter solstice festival in the most popular English sea resort of Brighton, East Sussex. It is organized on the 21st of December by an artist-led charity Same Sky. Many local community organisations, schools and everyone else interested also participate in the event. The first Burning the Clocks festival was in 1993.
Burning the Clocks parade in Brighton Burning the Clocks parade in Brighton

Festa das Cruzes

Barcelos is a city and municipality in the Portuguese Braga district. The symbol of this city is o galo de Barcelos ("the Rooster of Barcelos"). From the 1st to 3rd of May the people of Barcelos organize the Festa das Cruzes ("Festival of Crosses").
Galo de Barcelos Galo de Barcelos

Akita Kanto

Akita Kanto is the Japanese harvest festival in Akita City located in the Tohoku region of the northern Honshu island. The festival is held from the 3rd to 6th of August. The main attraction of the festival are the beautiful Kanto poles. The sound of bamboo flutes is the sign for all the 230 Kanto poles to be risen.
Kanto pole Kanto pole

Sechseläuten

Sechseläuten is a traditional spring festival in the Swiss city of Zurich. It is organized on the 14th of April. The first Sechseläuten festival was held in 1902. The festival starts with the parade of 26 guilds ("zünfte") wearing historic costumes. Each group has its own band and horse drawn floats.
Sechseläuten Sechseläuten

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is a big harvest festival held all across India. It is organized when the Sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn.

Andong Mask Dance Festival

Andong is a city in the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, South Korea. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392 -1897) it became the birth place of Confucianism in Korea.

Jidai Matsuri

Japanese city of Kyoto celebrates its foundation on the 22nd of October. On the same day local Heian Shrine organizes the Jidai Matsuri (in English “Festival of Ages”).

Tinku

Bolivian Potosi region is famous for its Tinku (in Quechua “encounter”, in Aymara “physical attack”) festival. This harvest festival is held in May.

Moussem

Imilchil is a small Berber town located in the Atlas Mountains of central Morocco. It is famous for its marriage festival known as the Moussem. It is organized in September and it lasts for 3 days.

Gaijatra

Gaijatra (Gai Jatra) or Cow Festival is organized by the Newa (Newar) people in Nepal. It is held in the Kathmandu valley during the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September). This week-long festival is actually a commemoration for the people who died in the past year.
Gaijatra festival in Nepal Gaijatra festival in Nepal