Are you looking for a culturally rich experience on your next adventure? One of the best ways to indulge in a country’s culture is undeniably by attending countries cultural celebrations, a festival, carnival or similar event. They’re big, bold and a bundle of fun. Tourists are almost always welcome to join in. Here are just 7 of the best celebrations across the world.
Mitai Maori Night, New Zealand
It isn’t usually a massive affair. But that doesn’t make the Mitai Maori Night celebration any less spectacular. Visit a quiet New Zealand village to discover a culture still thriving to this day. The Maori people (maybe surprisingly) still make up for a lot of the country’s population.
The Mitai Maori Night is a low-key event but it perhaps allows for a more authentic experience. Audley details how you’ll be welcomed with a traditional powhiri, before witnessing dances, a display of weaponry and the arrival of warriors upon an ancient canoe.
You’ll also be able to sample a Maori feast, hangi. Towards the end of the evening, you’re able to converse with the people and learn more about their fascinating and thriving culture that is so important in New Zealand.
The Holi festival, India
Head to Delhi in the spring time for a chance to experience the burst of colour and vibrance of the Holi festival. Usually held in March, the ceremony ushers in the beginning of spring with a day-long celebration that involves dancing, music, parties, food. And, perhaps most famously, the throwing of coloured powders in the streets.
Delhi is undeniably the place to be to experience Holi at its finest. The Holy Cow Festival is the biggest ceremony you’ll come across. Heavily oriented at music and becoming a legendary event in the country in recent years.
Travellers are often welcomed in with warmth and encouragement. You’ll find yourself lost in the unabashedly joyous celebration of colour and happiness. It’s perhaps the most genuine taste of Hinduism you’ll ever get.
Rio Carnival, Brazil
For one of the biggest and most fascinating cultural experiences in the world, head to Rio de Janeiro. It’s considered the biggest carnival in the entire world and for good reason. The streets are full of huge floats and vibrant parades, with nearly two million locals and tourists flocking to join the party.
Fancy dress isn’t obligatory but it is expected, as you’ll see the crowds adorned in crazily eccentric costumes throughout the city. The various blocos in Rio de Janeiro offer parties of their own. Each of which you can stumble upon by following the sound of samba. But it’s the Cordão da Bola Preta ceremony in downtown that is the biggest and the best. Wherever you choose to experience the Carnival, though, you’re sure to find an immersive and frankly impressive display of a big and bright culture.
Chinese New Year, Hong Kong
There isn’t a singular location to experience the wonder of Chinese New Year. However, it’s in Hong Kong where you’ll find it’s done best. It’s an ancient festival, cherished across the world with its signature features of dragon costumes and fireworks. In Hong Kong, the scale is truly gargantuan.
There’s a huge variety of things to do throughout the three days of celebrations, too. There’s the option of staying low key and joining the masses who flock to the many temples to worship and pray for good fortune. And then there’s the marvel of the firework display illuminating Hong Kong’s skies on the second day.
Make sure to sample the abundance of food on offer, too. Trying a bit of everything during this whirlwind celebration is how to make the most of it.
You’ll have to reserve a large space in your diary for this one! Oktoberfest is Germany’s coveted autumn festival lasting for nothing short of 16 days. And no, it isn’t just about enjoying a pint or two. The Munich event is actually the world’s largest folk festival, a showcase of Bavarian culture. Oktoberfest sees, on average, six million visitors each year.
The beginning of Oktoberfest isn’t to be missed. A huge parade fills Munich’s streets, with floats, carriages and costumes making their way through the excited crowds. The days following see a big music festival, a bustling fairground and the consumption of approximately 7,500,000 litres of beer. Don’t be afraid to indulge in all Oktoberfest has to offer – it’s what it’s all about.
St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland
Although it’s the most celebrated event across the world, you won’t have truly experienced St. Patrick’s Day until you see it in Dublin. The Irish capital absolutely boasts the biggest and best version of the annual event. The city’s streets filled with hundreds and thousands of revelers adorned in their finest green costumes.
The afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day sees the parade begin in Parnell Square. Two hours are filled with floats, dancers and traditional Irish music to heighten the excitement in the city. This parade then gives way to an afternoon spent in Dublin’s pubs and bars. Where the feel of community is evident regardless of the event’s scale.
Mardi Gras, USA
This American celebration is arguably looked over by tourists in favour of its aforementioned counterparts. But that doesn’t make it any less of a spectacle. New Orleans is where you’ll find the biggest and best version of Mardi Gras. The ceremony is also called Shrove Tuesday across the world.
Mardi Gras marks the beginning of Lent. More specifically the gorging on indulgent foods beforehand. People flock to the streets of Southern Louisiana to witness extravagant parades and Mardi Gras Indians putting on an unforgettable display. Make sure you indulge in some of the coveted King Cake for breakfast, a bucket list goal provided by New Orleans Online.