Festivals

Want to add another exciting chapter to your travel diary? There is no better way than to indulge in the flavors of some of the top festivals around the world.

A trip to a new station is enriching, joyful, and adventurous. No matter where you go, everyone loves to celebrate and commemorate special days. Whether it’s food, wine, religion, culture, or arts and music, people get together and paint the town red.

The world is multicultural. Every country boasts unique heritage and traditions that are best expressed through festivities. Given this fascinating blend of cultures, the calendar is chock-full of holidays and celebrations. From reveling in legendary carnivals in Brazil and gaping at record-breaking 48-meter-tall (157-foot) sculptures in China to chugging beers with tens of thousands of people in Munich, there is so much to explore and enjoy all year round. Well, you can’t attend every festival, so here we have boiled down the list to

the top festivals around the world.

1. Yee Peng Lantern Festival

Yee Peng Lantern Festival

Remember the magical scene from the Disney fairy tale Tangled, where Rapunzel finally gets to see the lanterns soar in the dark sky? How we wish we could be there! Good news: it’s not exclusive to Disney World. Come and be a part of that picture at one of the most dreamy and awe-inspiring festivals on the planet. Adapted from Brahmin origins and influenced by the ancient Lanna Kingdom, the Yee Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated in Northern Thailand on the 12th full moon. The beautiful paper lanterns, called khom loi, are strategically released at the same time and look breathtaking as they float at different speeds. It symbolizes an act of letting go of ills, bad luck, and mistakes. Chiang Mai is the best city to observe this festival of light with fireworks, great decorations, and delicious food.

  • Where: Thailand
  • When: The full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (November 15, 2024)

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2. Holi

Holi celebration

Holi is one of India’s popular festivals; it marks the arrival of the spring season and is celebrated with loads of colored powders, water-filled balloons, and colored water guns. Yes, you can see entire streets smeared with vibrant colors on this occasion. Besides sweet treats and drinks, including Puran Poli and Thandai, rituals like the Holika bonfire are part of this festival.

  • Where: India
  • When: March 25, 2024

3. Oktoberfest

  Oktoberfest

What began as a grand marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810, became one of the largest beer festivals in the world. The wedding had grand royal festivities that ended with a horse race, and it became a hit. Today, around 7 million people attend this signature event every year. Under the name Oktoberfest, this Bavarian fair is organized annually in Munich for 16 to 18 days. Besides a gallon of beer being poured out, there is a bounty of foods like dumplings, roasted meats, noodles, sausages, and much more to fulfill your appetite. The public extravaganza includes amusement rides, costume processions, games, cultural displays, and historical shows. It throws happiness around like confetti.

  • Where: Germany
  • When: Mid-September to First Week of October (September 21 to October 6, 2024)

4. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Taking the winter spirit up a notch, the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is one of the world’s biggest snow sculpture events. It is hosted in the ice capital of China, Harbin. From life-size ice structures and dazzling renditions to ice lanterns and expos, visitors witness excellent craftsmanship in this snow wonderland. Backed by extraordinary LED lighting and jaw-dropping fireworks, this two-month-long festival enjoys over 15 million footfalls. Indulge in a range of polar activities, such as skiing, sledging, wedging, and winter swimming that will transport you to Antarctica. Other highlights include a zoo for Siberian tigers, fishing, competitions, and carnival activities. Make the holiday even more memorable by visiting during Christmas and the New Year.

  • Where: China
  • When: December 20, 2023 to January 4, 2024


5. Thaipusam

  Thaipusam

The world’s most famous Hindu festival, perhaps after Deepawali, Thaipusam is dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva. Brace yourselves as you watch some of the frenetic incidents where ardent devotees go through extreme body piercings with needles, hooks, and spears to show their devotion to the Almighty. Follow a procession where worshippers carry a kavadi, a physical burden embroidered with colored papers, gold leaves, flowers, and peacock feathers. They pray to God to forgive their sins and bless them with healing. The most popular spot to experience the unique rituals of Thaipusam is Batu Caves.

  • Where: Malaysia
  • When: Full Moon during the month of Thai (January/ February)


6. La Tomatina

La Tomatina

When life gives you tomatoes, fling them on your friends — just like Spain does. Spain is known for the most outlandish festivals, such as the controversial Bull Fight. La Tomatina is one of many such unusual, fun food-fight festivals around the world where the attendees get covered in the splash and splosh of the fruit. Thousands of people cram into the center of Buñol (a town in Valencia, Spain), where trucks haul hundreds of tons of over-ripe tomatoes. Once the firing of the water cannon begins, get into a friendly tussle with people, pelting each other with tomatoes. After an hour of amazing fighting, the firefighters wash the street. From here, head towards food junctions where cooking contests are being held. You would laugh, realizing that this Tomatina festivity originated from a street brawl where everyone had hit each other with vegetables from a market stall.

  • Where: Spain
  • When: The Last Wednesday of August

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7. Diwali

Diwali Celebration

Diwali, fondly called the festival of lights, is among the most significant Indian festivals. This annual festival falls in October or November, and is celebrated to honor the victory over evil, and is a time to bond with family and friends. You can watch the stunning fireworks displays, savor endless varieties of sweets, and see the houses, temples, and streets decorated with lit-up oil lamps (diyas) made from clay during Diwali.

  • Where: India
  • When: November 1, 2024

8. Rio De Janeiro Carnival

Rio De Janeiro Carnival

Started in 1723, the Rio Carnival is one of the most monumental festivals of its kind. Over 70 samba schools flood the streets with their best representatives who groove and entertain the audience. This is one of the mind-blowing spectacles that finds its roots in ancient Greece and was later modified by the Romans. Their eye-catching costumes, glossy renovations, and feathered wings will catch your eyes from miles away. While the Sambadrome hosts the gallantry samba competition, the balls are being held in the Copacabana Palace on the beach. The party never stops; take out that evening gown or luxe tuxedo and shake your legs at the formal masquerade balls and nightclub parties. With endless opportunities to let your hair down, this carnival will keep you on the edge of your seat. No wonder you will come back again for another tour of Rio, with bells on.

  • Where: Brazil
  • When: Begins on Friday preceding Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday (February)

9. Dubai Shopping Festival

  Dubai-Shopping-Festival

If shopping became a religion, there would be millions of loyal followers praying in Dubai. Packing the punch of shopping with blockbuster discounts, Dubai brings the world’s biggest and boldest retail event, the Dubai Shopping Festival. From apparel and electronics to gold and decor, there are never-before-heard-of sales, deals, and offers. Whether it’s Christian Louboutin, Gucci, or local artisans and handicrafts, the entire city will bask in the shopping frenzy during DSF. Duck into the fanciest malls, upgrade your wardrobe with trailblazing designs, watch fireworks, and enjoy family entertainment on the go. As the festival progresses, you will stumble upon 12 Hour Sales, DSF Daily Surprises, the DSF Final Sale, the DSF Supercar Raffle, and the AED1 million jackpots.

  • Where: The UAE
  • When: December 8, 2023, to January 14, 2024


10. Monkey Buffet Festival

Monkey Buffet Festival

This unique festival takes place in Thailand’s Lopburi, 150 kilometers from Bangkok. Legend has it that it was the kingdom of Lord Hanuman, a monkey deity and a devotee of Lord Rama. See a lavish feast arranged for the descendants of Lord Hanuman during this festival at the 10th-century Pra Prang Sam Yot shrine. It allows you to witness hundreds of macaques devouring fresh fruits, vegetables, sticky white rice, and even ice cream.

  • Where: Thailand
  • When: Last Sunday of November

11. Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

As you scroll through social media, you might have come across a sea of people painted like classic sugar Calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons). It is the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, a celebration of life and death. Rather than mourning, it is a colorful, jovial tradition (a mix of ancient indigenous and European Catholic traditions) to remember and honor the deceased relative’s soul. Mexican families build private altars in their residences with photos of ancestors who leave gifts. People dress up in funky costumes, take out parades, do paper decorations, and eat their favorite foods and beverages.

  • Where: Mexico
  • When: 1st-2nd November

12. Australian Surfest

It is more than a festival; it is a must-attend for sports lovers, especially surf enthusiasts, being one of the world’s most popular and the southern hemisphere’s largest surfing competitions. It takes place in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Where: Australia
  • When: February 10 to 17, 2024

13. Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry-Blossom-Festival-Japan

As the spring arrives, Japan’s gardens, streets, and riversides will be blanketed with delicate yet striking sakura flowers. Experience its unequaled beauty with the Hanami or Cherry Blossom Festival. It not only lets you absorb the charm of the blooming cherry trees but also learn about the fascinating Japanese culture and traditions.

  • Where: Japan
  • When: March – April

14. Hogmanay

The Scots celebrate the last day of the year and the first day of the New Year with a unique tradition or festival known as Hogmanay. It is one of the region’s biggest parties in Edinburgh, with various interesting events, amazing rituals, and lots of gastronomic delights to add to its festivities.

  • Where: Scotland
  • When: December 31

15. Boryeong Mud Festival

Boryeong-Mud-Festival-korea

During this annual summer festival held in Boryeong, South Korea, people from across the world come down to Daecheon Beach to throw themselves into several attractions created using mineral-enriched mud taken from the Boryeong Mineral Flat, such as mud pools, mud slides, and mud skiing venues, among others.

  • Where: South Korea
  • When: July – August

Be it religion or passion, or both, festivals around the world are meant to connect people from all cultures together and revive them with joy. This ultimate list of electrifying festivals will surely make your holiday unforgettable and exhilarating.



Foodie Traveler..

  • One thought on “Great Festivals in the World You Should Attend in 2024
    1. Avatar for Chetan Jadhav

      Thank you for sharing this educational post on your website. It contains a lot of helpful information and I really appreciate it.

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