Once a year some of the countries around the world hold magical and outrageous festivals. Some like the Brazilian carnival and Spanish bull chase are famous world wide while others few people know about. So if you fancy living it up then check out our list of 20 of the most amazing festivals from around the world that we recommend you should see before you die.
1. Carnaval — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Feb. 28 – March 4 (for 2014)
Much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnevale in Venice, Canaval is a nonstop party, just with special addition of Brazilian flair. It’s filled with samba music, colorful costumes, and giant parades.
2. Oktoberfest — Munich, Germany – Last weeks of September to the first weekend in October
Though there are many smaller offshoots of Oktoberfest around the world, Munich’s original fair is the biggest beer festival in the world. In 2013, more than $96,178,668 worth of beer was served every day during the festivals.
3. Snow & Ice Festival — Harbin, China – Jan. 5 – Feb. 5
The Harbin festival is the largest snow and ice festival in the world, and it features carvings towering over 20 feet in height and full-size buildings made from gigantic blocks of ice.
4. Holi — Celebrated by Hindus Around the World – March 27 (for 2014)
Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s fun, safe, and free. Just remember to BYOD (bring your own dye).
5. Cascamorras — Baza, Spain – Sept. 6
Every year hundreds of Spaniards cover themselves in grease to reenact the stealing of a famous statue of the “Virgen de la Piedad,” which took place over 500 years ago. Best of all, after the greasing, a great big party ensues
6. Carnevale — Venice, Italy – Feb. 14 – March 4 (for 2014)
Carnevale, or “Carnival,” has been a Venice tradition since the 13th century. People flock from all over the world to participate in the masked festivals, arguably making it one of the best parties on Earth.
7. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival — Lerwick, Scotland – Last Tuesday in January
This is Europe’s largest fire festival, complete with the burning of a full-scale Viking ship. Need we say more?
8. Tomorrowland — Boom, Belgium – June 27 – 29 (for 2014)
Tomorrowland has quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals. Each year over 100,000 visitors flock to Belgium to dance the day and night away.
9. Mardi Gras — New Orleans – Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, March 4 (for 2014)
In many ways Mardis Gras’ reputation precedes itself — if you want to party like there’s no tomorrow, New Orleans is where you belong.
10. La Tomatina — Buñol, Spain – The last Wednesday in August
As crazy as it may seem, these festivals are held every year purely for fun, meaning it isn’t tied to any ancient traditions. In 1945 a few locals began throwing fruits and vegetables during a parade — and ever since then the tomato-throwing festival has continued on.
11. Albuquerque International Balloon Festival — Albuquerque, N.M. – Oct. 5 – 13 (for 2014)
The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world. Essentially it’s like Up — but better.
12. Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival — Gloucester, England – May 26 (tentative for 2014)
If you’ve ever wanted to watch hundreds of men run down a hill while chasing a wheel of cheese, then you’re in luck — because the Cooper Hill Cheese Roll not only exists, it’s quite the romp.
13. Cochella — Indio, California -April 11 – 20 (for 2014)
Each year Coachella boasts the biggest names in music, not to mention an impressive showing of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities. Plus, you can spend the weekend camping in the desert with your friends.
14. Dia De Los Muertos — Celebrated by Mexican – Nov. 1
Dia de los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead,” celebrates All Saint’s Day, which remembers all those who have passed before us. A colorful display of costume and culture, Dia de los Muertos is a day you don’t want to miss. These Mexican festivals are held throughout the world, but a few of the bigger celebrations take place in Mexico City and Los Angeles.
15. Running of the Bulls — Pamplona, Spain – July 6 – 14
Let’s be real — who doesn’t like watching people make fools of themselves? The Running of the Bulls is a time-honored Spanish tradition, which is such to raise your adrenaline levels, whether you’re running or watching.
16. Songkran Water Festival — Chiang Mai, Thailand – April 13 – 15 (for 2014)
This is the water fight of your dreams, so back up your Super Soakers, water balloons, and water bottles and head to Thailand for a wet and wild adventure.
17. Burning Man — Black Rock City, Nevada – Aug. 25 – Sept. 1 (for 2014)
Burning Man is where humans go to shed themselves of the conventions of society. If you want a break from the ordinary and can actually party 24/7, then head to the deserts of Nevada.
18. Kirpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament — Erdine, Turkey – June 29 – July 5 (for 2014)
Strong men wrestling while covered in oil. There is literally nothing else to say.
19. Lantern Festival — Pingxi, Taiwan – Feb. 23 (for 2014)
Watch the sky light up during one of the world’s largest lantern festivals. If you’re looking for a little magic, there is nothing more surreal than a sky ablaze with thousands of floating lanterns.
20. Glastonbury — Glastonbury, England – June 25 – 29 (for 2014)
Aside from the incredible music you’ll find at Glastonbury, perhaps the funnest part of the festivals is wading through the mud in your rain boots while camping with all of your friends. Glastonbury is dirty, loud, and wild, aka everything a music festival should be.