Let’s go on an adventure! Pack your bags because we’re headed around the world. And no, we’re not just going to some random city or beautiful beach-side location, (or maybe we will). We have a whole new itinerary planned for this trip and it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss. So be sure you’re ready because we are going to see the wonderful festivals the world has to offer.
Festivals around the world are normally centered on religion and culture. It marks an important holiday, whether local or national. After folklore and religion, a festival’s significance is often centered on the agricultural harvest.
Many festivals around the world are held to commemorate or thank local deities which brings the whole community together. These celebrations bring a sense of belonging to all members of the community for religious or geographical groups, helping to strengthen the bond within the group.
Festivals also serve as a form for entertainment which was particularly important before the advent of modern entertainment. Lastly, festivals serve to promulgate one’s culture to the next generation. Elders pass on the tradition through story-telling and expressive acts like dancing and public performances.
Festivals around the World You would want to Experience:
1. Lantern Festival, Taiwan:
Our first stop is in the tiny island nation of Taiwan. The Lantern Festival is held on the first full moon in the lunar calendar. Young and old go out into the streets to light beautiful floating lanterns and watch the scenic view unfold as thousands of these paper lanterns dot the night sky of Taiwan.
As a world festival, the Lantern Festival in Taiwan is relatively young. Back in the early 1990s, the Tourism Bureau wanted to make a festival that would celebrate local folklore. They decided on a lantern festival that would coincide with old customs like the Yanshui Fireworks Festival and the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. The first Lantern Festival was held in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in the nation’s capital but has since been held in numerous locations across Taiwan every year.
2. Rainforest World Music Festival, Malaysia:
Our next stop is just a stone’s throw away, into the lush rainforest of Malaysia to celebrate the Rainforest World Music Festival. This is an annual music festival that lasts for 3 days celebrating music in all its diversity. It is held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia and usually involves music workshops, food stalls, arts and crafts display, and evening concerts. For the past six consecutive years, the festival has held the title as one of the best 25 music festivals around the world. The festival features a wide variety of music from traditional music to contemporary world music.
The festival is usually held during the summer, between the months of June and August. It takes place in the grounds of the Sarawak Cultural Village located at the base of the Mount Santubong north of Kuching. During the day, the festival runs workshops and a few mini-concerts followed by performances in the evening by top talents coming from around the world. The festival atmosphere is known to be very relaxed where visitors are free to come and go between events. There are no restrictions when it comes to interacting with performers. In fact, musicians encourage conversation regarding topics like traditional music and arts.
3. Carnival of Venice, Italy:
The next festival on the list is going to take us to the heart of Europe, into the historic town of Venice in Italy where they celebrate a peculiar festival of masks. As described in many teen fiction books, this is the Carnival of Venice, one of the biggest celebrations in the country. The celebration is held on the days leading up to Lent, 40 days before Easter. This festival first started a couple of centuries back, when the Catholic Church was particularly strict about celebrating Lent. Parties were off-limits during this time and eating foods like sugar, fats, and meat were prohibited. The rich people of the city wanted a way to get rid of all these foods and so they would through extravagant parties on days, right before Lent.
Wearing of the masks has long been a tradition in Venetian society, back before the carnival even started. For a while, wearing masks were banned in the city but experienced a surge in popularity during the Renaissance when it became a permanent fixture in many celebrations, especially during Carnival. Carnival today is a major event that goes on for two weeks involving masquerade balls, elegant parties, boat parades, and street performances.
4. Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland:
This is one celebration that is known around the world. While most people make this as an excuse for binge drinking, the history behind Saint Patrick’s Day is seeped with religious symbolism and Irish cultural reference. The feast is held on the 17th of March, the date which commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, and the one responsible for bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Drinking aside, the feast involves many activities like parades, festivals, traditional Irish music sessions, and of course, wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Because of the Irish diaspora, the tradition has been brought all around the world and continues to be celebrated by both Irish and non-Irish descent.
5. Carnaval de Oruro, Bolivia:
Last on our itinerary is the colorful celebration in the heartlands of South America. Carnaval de Oruro is celebrated in Bolivia and is steeped in tradition and religion. Its origin dates back to the pre-colonial era when it was an indigenous festival. When the Spanish came, the festival incorporated Christian ritual and religious iconography like the Virgin of Candelaria. The festival features close to 50 groups of folk dancers and 18 different folk dances.
In ancient times, Oruro was considered to be a religious pilgrimage in the Andean world. People would trek to the mountains of Urus, believed to be a powerful deity. The modern-day celebration is now a blend of pagan and Catholic practice. Marching bands compete as a way for greeting the Virgen del Socavon. The highlight of the celebration is a three-day long parade of the group of folk dancers as they make their way to the sanctuary of the tunnel.
Eliza Brooks is a passionate blogger who loves to write about travel, books, personality development, lifestyle, productivity, and more. She spends her spare time hiking, camping and reading adventure, fantasy, mystery stories, and teen fiction books.