Travel is not just about seeing new places, but having new experiences. There are so many amazing places to see and exciting events to participate in! To inspire me, and to add or help with my bucket list, I have compiled a comprehensive list of events taking place around the globe each month. From quirky traditions, to festivals, to carnivals, each event promises to broaden horizons, provide new experiences and be a lot of fun!
- Sundance Film Festival – Utah, USA. Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival, which is held annually in venues across Utah. It features work from new American and international independent film makers.
- Chinese New Year – China. The most important event in the Chinese calendar is the Chinese new year, which runs for about 2 weeks. It is celebrated with dragons, fireworks, lanterns and flowers.
- International Kite Festival – Gujarat, India. The international kite festival is the biggest of over 200 festivals held in Gujarat each year. For months before, people in the area start to make kites for the festival, which marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer. Many towns organise kite competitions and it has become a public holiday in India.
- Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – Harbin, China. This winter festival is now the largest ice and snow festival in the world. It showcases the most exquisite ice and snow sculptures that are decorated with lights and lasers.
- Australia Day – Australia. January 26th is the official national day of Australia and marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of ships at Port Jackson in 1788. Celebrations reflect Australia’s diverse society and there are all kinds of community awards and citizenship ceremonies. There are also community festivals and concerts taking places all over the country, as it is a public holiday.
- Up Helly Aa – Lerwick, UK. On the last Tuesday in January, Up Helly Aa takes place in Scotland. It involves a series of marches and visitations by Vikings and culminates in a torch lit procession. There are also performances and entertainment.
- Mardi Gras – New Orleans, USA. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday and is held the day before Ash Wednesday. It is a well known celebration around the world and is a fun time, full of parades and parties!
- Battle of the Oranges – Ivrea, Italy. This festival held in Northern Italy, involves the tradition of throwing oranges between organised groups, making it the country’s largest food fight! Thousands of residents are divided into 9 teams, who then throw oranges at each other, with considerable violence.
- Rio Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Held 7 Sundays before Easter, the Rio carnival is well known worldwide. It is the largest carnival in the world and is attended by 2 million people per day!
- Venice Carnival – Venice, Italy. The Carnevale di Venezia is held forty days before easter, and ends on Shrove Tuesday. It is famous for it’s elaborate, yet slightly sinister masks, which are all over the city. The tradition dates back nearly 1000 years, and was a time when everyone was free to do whatever they desired with no guilt thanks to the masks. During the festival, the city is filled with entertainers, parties and masked balls.
- Pingxi Lantern Festival – Pingxi, Taiwan. Every year, thousands of people have their wishes written on sky lanterns that are then released to the skies, creating a sanctuary of lights. Originally, it was created to ward off evil and disease from the town
- Holi Festival – India, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Holi Festival is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs around February/March time. Known as the festival of colours, powder paint is thrown around in the messy yet fun Spring festival.
- St Patrick’s Day – Ireland. The one day of the year when we all celebrate the tiniest bit of Irish heritage we may have! March 17th is synonymous with Guinness, shamrocks and leprechauns! The day commemorates St Patrick, who was the most well known of the patron saints of Ireland. Although it is technically a religious holiday, many people worldwide celebrate this day with their love of a good pint!
- SXSW Festival – Texas, USA. South by Southwest is an annual conglomerate of film, media and music festivals and conference that take place in Austin, Texas. Each year, it continues to grow in size and duration. In 2016, President Obama delivered a speech at the event.
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Melbourne, Australia. This comedy festival is the third largest comedy festival in the world, and the largest cultural event in Australia. It is usually held over 4 weeks March to April. The event hosts thousands of shows, performances and artists across the city.
- Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival – Yeouido, South Korea. For several days in April, Yeouido, in Seoul, is host to this flower festival. The beautiful pale pink flowers create a canopy for you to stroll under, and has a very striking effect.
- Coachella music festival, California, USA. This 3 day music and arts festival is held annually in the Coachella Valley. Usually attended by many celebrities, it features many different genres of music, artists and sculptural art.
- Songkran – Thailand. Songkran is the celebration of the Buddhist new year, which takes place over 3 days in April. The idea is to ‘cleanse’ everything in sight, so participants are armed with buckets, hosepipes and water pistols to partake in what is basically a huge water fight!
- Prague Spring International Music Festival – Prague, Czech Republic. This festival is a permanent showcase for outstanding performing artists, symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles of the world. It commemorates important musical anniversaries and attracts musicians of the highest calibre.
- Vivid Sydney – Sydney, Australia. This winter events takes place in Sydney over the course of 3 weeks in May and June. It is an annual outdoor lighting festival, with installations and projections by different artists that transforms various buildings and landmarks into outdoor, night time canvasses of art. There are also performances from musicians, as well as talks and debates from leading creative thinkers.
- Gnaoua World Music Festival, Essaouira, Morocco. This festival is a meeting point of music and dialogue between foreign artists and the mystical Gnaoua musicians. The Gnaoua masters invite musicians from a range of genres to explore new avenues. The event is held over four days and attracts up to 500,000 visitors every year. Many of the events are free.
- Glastonbury Festival – Glastonbury, UK. Arguably the most famous music festival in the UK, Glastonbury is a highlight on the musical calendar. Usually held the final weekend in June, the festival is the largest open air, green field music and performing arts festival in the world. It features a wide of musicians, comedians and artists, and always attracts huge crowds! Just make sure you pack your wellies!
- Isle of Wight Festival – Isle of Wight, UK. This music festival was originally created in the late 60s and was then revived in 2002. Many notable artists have performed at the event, which has grown in size and popularity each year.
- Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark. This annual music festival is one of the largest in Europe. It was originally created for hippies, but today covers more mainstream music from Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
- Running of the Bulls – Pamplona, Spain. This notorious event involves running in front of a group of bulls (usually around 6) that have been let loose on a sectioned off area of the city. The rules state that everyone must be over 18, run in the same direction as the bulls, not incite the bulls and not be under the influence of alcohol!
- Calgary Stampede – Calgary, Canada. This ten day event bills itself as the greatest outdoor show on earth and attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. It features the worlds largest rodeo, a parade, stage shows, concerts, competitions, races and exhibitions.
- Boryeong Mud Festival – Boryeong, South Korea. The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual event occurring during the summer. The mud is taken from nearby mud flats and trucked to the Daecheon beach area. It was originally created by a cosmetic company, who used the mud as a main ingredient and developed the festival so potential customers could experience the benefits of the mud, without the company paying for advertising.
- Bastille Day – France. The 14th of July is La Fete nationale or the national celebration. This day is to commemorate the storming of the Bastille, which started the French Revolution. Celebrations are held throughout the country, with the oldest and largest being the military parade on the Champs-Elysees.
- Fuji Rock Festival – Naeba, Japan. The Fuji Rock Festival is held every year in Naeba Ski Resort. The three day event features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan.
- Tomorrowland Festival – Boom, Belgium. Since 2005, Tomorrowland has become one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals in the world. It has hosted some huge DJs such as Tiesto, David Guetta and Swedish House Festival. It’s so popular that it has spawned spin off festivals in America and Brazil.
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Edinburgh, UK. During the month of August, Edinburgh is taken over by The Fringe. It is a collection of comedy, music and creative performances shown in venues all over the city.
- Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary. This festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe and happens every year. It began in 1993 as a small student festival and has grown each year. Huge acts such The Prodigy, Calvin Harris, Rihanna, Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher have performed there.
- Gay Pride Parade – Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam Pride is a city wide festival held during the first weekend of August. It attracts thousands of visitors and the height of the events is the canal parade.
- Burning Man Festival – Nevada, USA. This festival is held annually in the Black Rock Desert the week before Labor Day. It is described as an experiment in community, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance. The name is taken from the ritual of burning a large, wooden effigy on the Saturday evening. 50,000 people descend onto middle of nowhere Nevada and build a temporary city. Those who attend are expected to contribute whatever they can to the community.
- La Tomatina Festival – Bunol, Spain. Held on the last Wednesday in August, La Tomatina is known as the worlds largest tomato fight! 30, 000 residents and visitors to the town hurl tomatoes at each other purely for fun and 125,000 kg of tomatoes are brought into the city for the event! You know you want to get involved!
- Toronto Film Festival – Toronto, Canada . Each year, the beatuful and glamourous stars of Hollywood head up to Canada to attend The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
- Bestival – Isle of Wight, UK. This four day music festival is held in early September each year in the Isle of Wight. The brainchild of Rob da Bank, this festival has grown in popularity since it started in 2004. This event differs from the Isle of Wight festival in that it more alternative and diverse, a large selection of vegetarian foods, a dressing up tent and a secret stage. It has previously broken a Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress.
- World Nomad Games – Kyrgyzstan. So far, this event has been held twice, in 2014 and 2016. It celebrates the ethnic sports practised in central Asia.
- Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest runs for 2 to 3 weeks every year and is one of the most popular events in the world. It is an important event in the Bavarian calendar, with more than 5 million people attending. Who doesn’t like an excuse to drink beer and wear drindls??
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – New Mexico, USA. This nine day event occurs annually during early October. It is the largest hot air balloon events, with around 750 balloons participating. Once the balloons have been released, they paint the sky with their bright colours, having a spectacular effect!
- Day of the Dead – Mexico. October 31st is the start of The Day of the Dead celebrations throughout Mexico, particularly central and southern Mexico. It focusses on gatherings for family and friends to pray and remember those that have died. Traditions include building private altars, honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, and visiting graves with gifts.
- Cannabis Cup – Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Cannabis Cup is held annually to celebrate the wonders of marijuana and support the legalisation movement. There are hundreds of coffee shops selling their own strains, which they take immense pride in.
- Diwali – India. The festival of light is celebrated in many countries worldwide as a Hindu festival. It spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Millions of lights are displayed in celebration, and homes are cleaned and decorated especially.
- New Years Eve – Sydney, Australia. Although NYE is celebrated all over the world, Sydney is one of the first places to see in the new year due to time zones. Each year they put on 2 amazing firework displays, based around the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which are shown worldwide. The theme changes every year, and the event is witnessed by over 1 million people at the harbour.
- Hogmanay – Edinburgh, UK. This is the Scottish celebration for the new year, and boy do they celebrate in style! Many areas of Scotland may have their own celebrations, but generally the giving of food and drink as a symbol of good luck begins just after midnight and continues until well into the next day, if not later! It is also where the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ originates from.
So there you have a list of potential experiences to have in the future. I’m already feeling inspired!
Which have you taken part in? Which are top of your bucket list?