Have you considered a family festival adventure?

Whether dancing with the living dead in the streets of Oaxaca or partying with Cariocas on the beaches of Rio, these carnivals, parties and events are a way to experience local cultures and customs. When planning your trips for 2019 it’s well worth booking a trip around one of these.

1: Rio Carnival

Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When: Every year before the Ash Wednesday (Usually at the end of February)

Known as ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’, parties don’t get much bigger than the Rio Carnival. The best events need the best performers; here, the 12 best Samba schools from across the city prepare for a year to create their often sequin-covered costumes, perfect electrifying moves and produce contagious rhythms to battle it out in the Sambodromo. But the explosive energy of 75,000 Sambodromo spectators and their drums and whistles flows far beyond the confines of the arena, with Carnival taking over the beaches and streets, turning every inch of space into a party.

Carnival is celebrated across Brazil, but Rio’s is considered the best, popular with locals and tourists.

2: Holi

Where: All over India

When: A Full Moon day in February or March

Holi, also known as the ‘festival of colours’, celebrates the arrival of Spring. The traditionally held belief is that the blue-skinned god Krishna felt jealous of his sister Radha. Yashoda, their mother, playfully allowed Krishna to paint Rhada´s face in any colour. Today, at Holi, everyone splashes each other with a powder called Gaula, with vivid colours flying in the air, all of which has made it a favourite with photographers. It’s a fun-filled celebration, with women throwing water at men, kids playing, and men dancing in the streets. Everyone is united under the clouds of colour and beautiful chaos.

3: The Day of the Dead

Where: Oaxaca, México (Also Guatemala)

When: November 1 and 2

The Day of the Dead is a time for remembering lost loved ones, when, Mexicans believe, the souls of relatives who have passed away have a chance to reunite with their living friends and family on Earth. Those souls can still taste delicious dishes, left out for them on candle-lit altars, and listen to their favourite songs that their family have prepared for them. Picture the joy of a Christmas family reunion and a Spring carnival, with just a pinch of melancholy.

Despite the meaning behind it, the Day of the Dead is not a morbid affair. Locals dress in costumes, including skeletons and ghouls, honouring the dead in the cemeteries of Oaxaca and partying through the streets. Papier-mâché skeletons on stilts dance to the rhythm of loud trumpets and drums. Join the Mexicans here with a mezcal toast and dance the night away with the souls who came back to visit just for one night.

4: Lake of Stars Festival

Where: Malawi

When: September 28-30

Commemorating their 15th anniversary this year, the three-day Lake of Stars Festival is set on a beach of golden sand, backed by green hillside. Artists come from all over Africa, such as Malawi´s afro dance duo The Very Best and South African group Mafikizolo, with Kenyan group Sauti Sol set to headline the 2018 edition. Recent guest acts from elsewhere include around the world English indie band Foals, Scottish hip-hop group Young Fathers and German producer Timo Maas. This magical music festival is also involved with communities, engaging with outreach programs, staging free concerts for local villages and raising funds for schools.

5: Sapporo Snow Festival

Where: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

When: One week in February

Admiring 25-metre high ice sculptures, ice-rafting and jumping into a snow slide is a standard day in Sapporo Snow Festival. Sapporo Snow Festival started in 1950 when high school students built statues in local Odori Park. Now, with more than two million visitors from Japan and the world, the night lights up with concerts and colourful, technically impressive ice creations, from dinosaurs to palaces. Bring your winter weather gear, and stay on in Hokkaido to explore more of this beautiful and remote region.

6: International Balloon Fiesta

Where: Albuquerque New Mexico, United States

When: Nine days in early October

The largest balloon festival in the world takes place in early October, with hot air balloon-related events, both airborne and on land. The fun starts early in the morning with a Dawn Patrol to check the wind conditions before the rest of the participants start flying. The day passes by with fun challenges, like dropping a marker from the sky to fall as close to a target on the ground as possible. Nights usually feature fireworks and laser shows.

7: Loi Krathong

Where: All around Thailand

When: The eve of the full moon of the 12th Thai Lunar calendar (November)

Loi Krathong sees little lotus flower-shaped boats ornamented with flowers and lit candles released on waterways across Thailand to honour Siddartha Gautama, the original Buddha. This is the perfect night to witness a beautiful, vibrant and memorable scene. Flickering candles illuminate people’s smiles, as they make wishes and release their handmade floating flowers.

On the eve of the Full Moon, tourists and families from all over the world reunite to create little boats out of banana leaves and set them on a journey.


See the article in full with 16 Great World Festivals here: https://www.curious.travel/16-great-world-festivals/

Article written on behalf of Curious Travel by: 

Andrea Moreno is a travel writer and photographer for international publications, including Wanderlust, Luxury Latin America and Luxury Travel Magazine. 

Originally appeared in full on https://www.curious.travel/16-great-world-festivals/

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