The 10 Best Festivals Around the World

By on January 29, 2014 in ArticlesEntertainment

A good festival is like being surrounded by thousands of your best friends at a party that last for days.  Festivals have been occurring for as long as people have understood the concept of gathering in celebration.  In the beginning, they were often religious in nature, or rooted in worship of some sort.  Over the years, however, festivals have been created to celebrate everything from cultural touchstones to music to television programs.  Here is a list of the 10 Best Festivals Around the World.  Party hard at these festivals and you're sure to make memories that last a lifetime.

10.  Oktoberfest –  Germany

Oktoberfest - Germany

Oktoberfest – Germany

If summer is for lovers, then fall is for beer.  Germany's legendary Oktoberfest occurs every September and can last as long as three weeks.  Germany is known for its beer, and each year Munich turns into a mecca for beer tasting and food.  Tents and pop-up restaurants line the streets, and Oktoberfest participants (as many as five million each September) can sample a dizzying array of the best beers in the world, accompanied by great German pub food.

9.  Holi Festival  –  India

Holi Festival - India

Holi Festival – India

The Holi Festival occurs in India each March.  Also, known as the Color Throwing Festival, the massive gathering is a religious festival that has grown to accompany nearly everyone.  Originally created to honor the god Vishnu, who was burned for his faith, the celebration begins with large bonfires.  It gets its name from participants throwing colored powder and water at each other throughout the festival.  It looks surprisingly like the most epic paintball fight ever, except no one has any paintballs.

8.  The Exit Festival –  Serbia

The Exit Festival - Serbia

The Exit Festival – Serbia

The Exit Festival is a massive music festival that has been ranked the Best European Festival.  Created to commemorate the end of Milosevic's rule, the festival attracts an amazing array of alternative bands from all over the world.  It's a fantastic music party and a great place to be exposed to new music.

7.  Reggae Sumfest –  Jamaica

Reggae Sumfest - Jamaica

Reggae Sumfest – Jamaica

Awesome music, great food, and a gorgeous location – what more could you ask for in a festival?  The Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay happens every July, and it is multiple days and nights of the best reggae artists, great food like jerk chicken, and beautiful weather.  Prepare to get your groove on until you can't stand up anymore.

6.  The Big Chill –  England

The Big Chill Festival - England

The Big Chill Festival – England

Sadly, The Big Chill has not happened since 2011, though the company that owns the rights to the event has hinted that it may return at some point.  Launched by Pete Lawrence and Katrina Larkin in 1994, the festival began as a series of parties in Islington, and grew into a massive event that welcomed thousands of people each year and featured some of the best DJs, musicians, dancers, and comedians from around the world.

5.  The Day of the Dead –  Mexico

The Day of the Dead - Mexico

The Day of the Dead – Mexico

The Day of the Dead, or El Dia de Los Muertos, is celebrated in multiple countries.  However, the celebration in Mexico is especially epic.  The festival celebrates death and family members and friends that have passed on, and often includes elaborate costumes, face painting, music, and dance.  It's like Halloween without all the icky commercialism.

4.  La Tomatina –  Spain

La Tomatina - Spain

La Tomatina – Spain

This festival, which has been happening since 1944, in Bunol, Valencia, Spain, has only one purpose – tomato throwing.  Thousands of people line the streets of Bunol each year, for the sole purpose of hurling ripe tomatoes at one another.

3.  Burning Man –  United States

Burning Man - United States

Burning Man – United States

Held each year in the desert in Nevada just before Labor Day, Burning Man is a staggeringly big celebration of music and performance art.  Launched in 1986, the event has grown exponentially each year, and participants are divided into small town-like groups each with their own artistic or thematic focus.  The festival functions on a barter system, and the larger the art, the more awesome.

2.  Chinese New Year –  Multiple Locations

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Unlike the Western calendar, which celebrates the New Year for one night and one night only, the Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days.  Celebrated anywhere there are large populations of Chinese people, the festival is about ridding the coming year of bad luck, and includes food, music, parades, and dragons.

1.  The Rio Carnival –  Brazil

Carnival in Rio - Brazil

Carnival in Rio – Brazil

Be prepared to dance, drink, and eat until you can't see straight anymore if you take part in Carnival.  The week-long festival is dominated by a parade featuring magnificent floats and thousands of dancers and musicians from the 200 samba schools that participate each year.  The celebration, which occurs before Lent, has been taking place since the late 1800s.  It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Articles Written by Paula Wilson
Paula Wilson is a writer, director, production manager, and former professional dancer, originally from North America, who has worked as a performer or director in ten countries and sixteen states. When not writing for CNW, she serves as the Artistic Director of The International Partner Dance Intensive ( Follow her on Google+.
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