Feast your eyes on this stunning collection of 10 of the craziest, most colourful festivals in the world and maybe get inspired to go to one some day.
1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, USA
Pigs might really fly. Events at the world’s largest gathering of hot air balloons include the Special Shape Rodeo, and the Mass Ascension, when thousands of balloons lift off to the strains of the Star Spangled Banner.
2. Loykrathong Festival, Sukhothai, Thailand
Thailand (and parts of Laos and Burma) celebrates the ‘Floating Crown (or Boat)’ by floating of rafts laden with flowers and flying sky lanterns, accompanied by fireworks and partying..
3. Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio’s Carnaval is the biggest and most famous public party on the planet. The legendary samba spirit of Brazil is demonstrated best by the bandas – street parades led by drumsmers and singers – climaxing with the spectacular samba school showdown in the Sambodrome.
4. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
You don’t have to get dressed up like these exceedingly smartly-attired chaps, but it helps if you like you’re lager. As well as its beer tents, there’s a massive funfair to test your constitution after a few too many. Actually, that may not be such a good idea.
5. Las Fallas, Valencia, Spain
Unfortunately you’ve just missed it for this year, but Valencia’s neighbourhood committees will probably already be planning next year’s falla – a large construction of papier-mâché dolls or puppets which takes months to make, all for a parade that ends up with them getting chucked on a big bonfire.
6. Elephant Festival, Jaipur, India
16 March 2014
Elephants have always held an important place in the Indian society, thanks to Lord Ganesha , the Hindu deity with the head of an elephantm who is the spiritual MC of this, the mother-of-all pachyderm parties, .
7. PingXi Sky Lantern Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
While Chinese lanterns are now a fixture of summer festivals and UFO reports in the UK, in Taipei they let off 150,000 of the things simultaneously to celebrate Chinese New Year.
8. Pushkar Camel Fair, India
If you like camels, then you’ll love ‘India’s greatest tribal gathering’, as you can meet 20,000 of the creatures in the Rajasthan desert. If you’re in the market for a convoy of camels to take home, this is the occasion to do your shopping.
9. Days of the Dead, Mexico
Along with Halloween, Los Dias de los Muertos is the world’s best known event in honour of death. ‘The living’ invite the dead (close relatives, not random strangers) to come to the family home for a visit. At least everyone, living and dead, gets to eat ghoulish-themed sweets and stuff.
10. Harbin Ice Festival, China
December – January
Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province in north-east China, hosts this crazy, colourful, cold carnival of ice and snow, featuring, ice sculptures, ice lantern show, ice sliding, ice sailing, ice hockey, ice football, and any other ice-related stuff you can think of.