It’s incredible how festivals today have grown beyond ethnicities and national boundaries. So before you book your next international holiday, why not plan it around a festival? Consider these:
1. Boryeong Mud Festival
Mud splashing at others would generally end up in a brawl and maybe a black eye but not in South Korea’s Boryeong region. The festival was originally conceived as a marketing tool for Boryeong mud cosmetics, which surprisingly has some natural minerals but now it’s a legit festival that includes a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing and it doesn’t end here, if you’re allergic to the dirt you can still enjoy the live music and several other visual attractions around the beach.
Where: Boryeong, South Korea
2. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
We are not talking about just any balloons; we are talking about these gigantic hot air balloons released over 100 feet above the ground that carry several living beings within. It is truly a visual spectacle; there are over 750 balloons up in the air for 9 days. This festival becomes a breeding ground for several painters and photographers along with the tourists who gather around to watch this delight.
The main attractions of this festival are some of the special events like the Fiesta Challenge, a game where balloonists attempt to drop a marker closest to a target or The Gas Balloon Race that requires some serious piloting skills.
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
3. Running of the Bulls
Call it dangerous, life threatening or even animal cruelty, there’s something about this festival that the Spaniards absolutely love. One literally has to run in front of the bulls, hoping that they’d outdo the beast. In most countries this is considered as a dare, but it is an age old tradition in Pamplona, Spain. It is said that there are over 200 injuries every year after this festival but that doesn’t stop people from participating in it, to put in simple words ‘Men will be Men.’
Where: Pamplona, Spain (as part of St Fermin Festival)
4. August Moon Festival
Also known as the Chinese Moon Festival, it is celebrated in the same way as the modern world celebrates Christmas and Thanksgiving. Although the Moon Festival is a place where families congregate, it is considered as the most romantic festival as the festive legend is all about a couple, Hou Yi and Change’e who are madly in love with each other. One must totally witness this festival for the culture and savoury food while on a trip.
When: 8th Month of the Lunar calendar
Where: China, Vietnam, Honk Kong
5. Verona In Love
The festival is exactly as it sounds; it’s a dream festival for all the lovers around the world. The entire city is painted in love and shades of red, with various activities, concerts, exhibitions and aphrodisiacs available for the visitors. At night there’s a Walk of Love that takes place which ends with a synchronised mass kiss.
When: 11-14th Feb
Where: Verona, Italy
6. Harbin Ice & Snow Festival
Again, this festival is a visual spectacle for the tourists; it is the largest snow and ice festival featuring carvings and sculptures so exquisite that’ll melt your heart. The festival is at its best during the night when the sculptures are decorated and illuminated.
Where: Harbin, China
7. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival
Well, it is the modern day adaptation of Jack and Jill, just that the bucket of water has been replaced by a log of cheese which has to be chased down the hill by the participants. In most cases the festival too wraps up like Jack’s broken crown. So much for a log of cheese!
Where: Gloucester, England
The Spanish towns Baza and Guadix host this festival that traces back to a 1490 legend. It re-enacts the stealing of the famous statue of the ‘Virgin de la piedad.’ The catch is, the entire stealing scene is enacted by hundreds of men all covered in black grease.
When: 6th September
Where: Guadix and Baza, Spain
9. Kirpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament
This festival is nothing but Turkish men wrestling with their bodies covered in oil, basically just another day in North India. That’s it, that’s all this festival is about. This explains all those Olympic Gold Medals, maybe.
Where: Erdine, Turkey
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