This is not the kind of festival list that celebrates the strength of your stomach upon conquering a port-a-loo or the ingenuity of smuggled alcoholic contraband. Alas, this is a less rave and more ROAM inspired list. Here are SIX AMAZING festivals celebrated around the world that require a little less LSD.
Starting from the top;
- The Biggest Festival in the WORLD; Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (February 9 -14 2018.. Upon reflection reconsider the LSD statement)
This festival – the legend of all festivals – runs each year from the Friday before Ash Wednesday (51 days before Easter) to Ash Wednesday (45 days prior to Easter) which is the first day of Lent.
Carnival is celebrated all over Brazil, with the biggest festivities held in Rio, São Paulo and Vitória. Parades unparalleled journey their way through the streets to approximately a cool 2 MILLION PEOPLE each day.
There aren’t really any words to describe the colour, music and magnificence that is Carnival and but think SEQUINS. SKIN. SUMBA. SENSATIONAL and then go see it for yourself.
Did I mention skin? And it is Brazil, so a soccer ball isn’t really a surprise either..
- Carnevale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (27 January – 13 February 2018)
Keeping in theme with some utterly amazing costumes, the Venice Carnivale offers up some pretty amazing creations.
It’s said that the Carnivale of Venice was the result of a victory in 1162 for the “Serenissima Repubblica” against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven. In honour of the victory, people gathered and danced in San Marco Square.
The Carnivale was banned in 1797 and it wasn’t until 1979 that the Italian government decided to reinstate the festival. The magnificent masks that the Carnivale is famed for, began as tourist souvenirs.
The Carnevale is visited by 3 million people and many contend in the contest for la maschera più bella (“the most beautiful mask”).
Whether you find them unsettling or striking, they are certainly something to behold.
- Holi Festival, India (2 March 2018)
Whilst Carnival may lay claim to be the biggest festival in the world, the Hindu spring celebration of Holi (festival of colours and/or love) has grown in popularity – being celebrated all over the world not just in its home countries of India and Nepal. The festival is about celebrating the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring over winter and to forgive and forget.
The unique calling card of the Holi Festival is that it is hallmarked by the striking colours that are thrown in water balloons, in water pistols or as dry colours. Anyone on the street is fair game and it is done for pure and simple enjoyment.
The colour chaos begins the morning after the Holika Bonfire – which is lit to symbolise the victory of good over evil and has several interpretations depending on the Krishna or Vishnu legend.
A free for all celebrating love, forgiveness and all things good? Heck yes.
- The Iditarod – The Last Great Race, Anchorage, Alaska USA. (March 3 2018)
Let’s get far, far away from magical metropolis’ and the wild wiles of people and instead look to the top of the globe and the wonders of the actual wild.
The Iditarod is a 1000 mile sled dog race that punctures through the heart of Alaska and is entrenched in the states history.
The race was co- founded by Joe Redington Snr, who introduced the event to save the sled dog culture and Alaskan huskies that were being phased out by snow mobiles; and to preserve the historical Iditarod Trail between Seward and Nome.
The race runs over an incredible 3 weeks, injecting life into tiny villages otherwise not visited by tourists during the Alaskan winter. Competitors come from all walks of life to take on the task of navigating some of Mother Nature’s most impressive and imposing work.
If you want wilderness, winter and to celebrate some seriously special accomplishments then the Iditarod is unlike any other event you’ll ever experience.
- The Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (July 6-15 2018)
“The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” is the catch cry for the ultimate Old West celebration.
The Stampede’s biggest and bravest of attractions, are the ridgey didge rodeo competitions..
A 10 day tribute to the heritage of Canada’s Old West and was founded back in 1912 as a celebration of rodeo and agriculture. With everything from chuckwagon races to fireworks and flannelette, the Stampede spirit has Calgary crooning a particularly sweet (country) song.
So purchase yourself a checkered shirt, a Stetson and a pair of boots in the Stampede Spirit but leave the wild rides to the professionals..
- Nadaam Festival, Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia (11-15 July 2018)
Mongolia. Mystical in it’s mystery. Considering the globe has been fairly well traversed by 2017, there are few places that offer a true window into another world. With giant Russia to the north, China to the South and Kazakstan to the West, it’s a wonder it’s remained so untamed.
The Naadam Festival is a celebration over 3 days of “Grand Finals” of sorts, in 3 sports; wrestling, archery and horse riding.
It is a country the size of Alaska with just 2 and half million people. Mongolia boasts the Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountains; Genghis Khan and Siberia. It’s wondrous and fierce.
I mean, come on.. There’s an eagle there. Chilling. Just casually.
The Naadam Festival is a tumbling together of Mongolian pride and history. Monks, musicians, nomadic herders, soldiers and athletes all coming together to celebrate their culture and their strength as a nation.
HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT TO GO?
These are just a taste of some of the magnificent options for the first half of the year out there in the fantastic world of festivals. Some more obscure second half of the year options won’t be far away.
If there is anything these festivals have in common, it’s an unparalleled and exceptional degree of style; sequinned or snow goggled.
I hope these very select few have fanned your festival fever and have been added to your bucket list.