Attending a festival is a fun and exciting way of understanding a country’s culture, and can be a great way to meet locals! If you want to pair your holiday abroad with a cultural festival, take a look at our rundown of the biggest events happening in 2014.
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival, Scotland: 28th January
After New Year celebrations have died down, Scotland take only a short break before marking the end of the Yule season with a fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands. The highlight is a torch procession in Viking costume, culminating in the burning of a galley ship and an all-night party.
Rio Carnival, Brazil: 28th February - 4th March
This world-famous street festival takes place over several days, with numerous Samba ‘schools’ designing a performance including floats, costumes, music and dancing in a bid to be named the best. The event attracts over 2 million people and is accompanied by huge street parties.
St Patrick’s Day, Ireland: 17th March
Ireland’s Patron Saint Day has been adopted worldwide, but there’s no better place to celebrate than Dublin! The city arranges a 4-day festival of parades, funfairs and a 5km race, and on the 17th everyone dresses in green and heads to the pub to drink copious amounts of Guinness.
Search for great deals to Dublin.
Songkran, Thailand: 13th - 15th April
Thai New Year is celebrated in spectacular fashion; with a nationwide water fight! Everyone hits the streets to soak each other with water, symbolising the washing away of the previous year and cleansing for the year to come. Visitors are welcome, so grab a bucket!
Find the best deals to Thailand.
Cannes Film Festival, France: 15th - 25th May
This prestigious film festival is a heaven for celeb spotters; most of A-List Hollywood is usually in attendance. The glitzy film festival features a mix of mainstream and indie films, but tends to focus on recognising low-profile European art films.
Glastonbury, UK: 25th - 29th June
Founded in 1970 by a Somerset farmer, Glastonbury is now the most famous music festival in the world, uniting people of all tastes in music as they flock to pitch a tent and revel in the mud. Last year’s headliners included Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons.
Independence Day, USA: 4th July
American citizens come out in force on 4th July to celebrate the anniversary of the USA becoming independent from Great Britain. Parades, carnivals and fireworks are organised in cities across the country, and families get together for parties, barbeques and park picnics.
Spend Independence Day in New York.
La Tomatina, Spain: 27th August
In one of the more unusual festivals of the world, the residents of the Valencian town of Buñol throw on their scruffiest clothes and engage in a city-wide tomato fight, for reasons that are still unknown to this day. Remember to take a pair of goggles…
Oktoberfest, Germany: 20th September - 5th October
Munich’s Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair, boasting countless stalls, rides and sideshows, but the main draw is the beer! Oktoberfest regulations state that the beer must be a minimum 6% alcohol, and all beers are brewed in or around Munich.
Not your thing? Find 3 Great Alternatives to Oktoberfest.
The Festival of Lights is the most important Hindu event of the year and a very positive one, celebrating the triumph of good over evil, light over dark, and hope over despair. In India, Hindus light clay lamps outside their homes and mark the night with feasts, gifts and prayers.
Head to Goa for Diwali.
Dia De Los Muertos, Mexico: 1st - 2nd November
The Mexican Day of the Dead festival is a surprisingly upbeat affair, when the dead are remembered and their lives celebrated. Families build altars in honour of their departed and decorate them with sugar skulls and marigolds to encourage the souls of the dead to visit them.
Experience Day of the Dead in Mexico!
New Year’s Eve, Everywhere: 31st December
On 31st December the whole world gathers to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next with fireworks, parties and gatherings. Some of the most popular places to spend New Year include London, New York, Sydney, Barcelona and Ko Phangan.
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By Kate Moxon – Online Marketing Assistant at icelolly.com