“Festivals promote diversity, they bring neighbors into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.”– David Binder
Having never been to any of the top festivals around the globe I wanted to make this list to light a fire not only under my butt but under others as well who might plan on planning a trip but never really get around to doing it. So take that vacation from work, buy that ticket and go experience something entirely new. More likely than not you will never regret it.
1. Nepal Dog Fest
What: Also known as Tihar or festival of lights, this 5 day Hindu festival celebrates different religious figures each day such as the cow, crow and dog. The second day, Kukur Tihar is dedicated to the worship and appreciation of man’s best friend. Dog’s are often sprinkled with flowers, garlands and/or powder as a part of the tradition.
When: Nepal uses a lunar calendar as opposed to the more familiar solar calendar, so dates change each year. It usually falls somewhere in between mid-October and mid-November each year.
What: Holi is one of the most revered celebrations in India. Some call it the festival of love as its purpose is to bring people together to forget about resentments. The festival celebrates the joy, and the whole process symbolizes the triumph of the good over the bad. On the day of Holi, people play with colors, among many other aspects of the festival, to symbolize joy and to bring people together peacefully and joyfully.
Where: It is celebrated all over India.
When: It’s celebrated in the month of Phalgun during the full moon on the Hindu calendar. It usually occurs at the onset of Spring around March.
3. Burning Man
What: Every year thousands of people gather in the desert in Nevada to create a unique city, called Black Rock City, that is dedicated to self-expression, art, community, and self-reliance. Anything goes at this festival. There are cars that look like they came straight out of Mad Max, sculptures, etc. If you can dream it, then you can make it at Burning Man.
Where: Nevada’s Black Rock Desert
When: Every year around August
4. Balloon Fiesta
What: Balloons of all shapes and sizes take off from a massive stadium complex in New Mexico. There are shape rodeos, balloon rides, parades, film festivals, and photography competitions to name a few. There are over 1,000 balloons that go up each year, and it is a spectacular must-see event!
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
When: Each year in October
5. Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival
What: This is the world’s largest winter festival and gets over 10 million visitors each year. There are ice sculpture competitions, and the sculptures and ice architecture can reach over 150 feet in height.
Where: Harbin, China
When: Depends on the weather, but most are held in late December through February.