Ever since the dawn of civilization, humans have practiced religious rituals to worship gods and to thank Mother Nature. Today, these rituals have evolved where ceremonies take place as festivals. Regardless of religion, castes, nationality, or boundaries, people celebrate and enjoy various festivities together—a clear sign that the world has become a global village.
There are many reasons people or communities celebrate festivals, and that includes religious beliefs. Nevertheless, there are festivals that aim to create an ambiance that will make people think that they are already in another dimension. Here are some of the world’s most colorful and beautiful festivals! Enjoy!
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta | USA
The annual festival involves hot-air balloons of different shapes, color, and sizes fly all over the place. The balloons will cover the sky for nine days. During the festivity, there are many events such as the launching of hundreds of balloons together,a dn contests are also held. The festival started as a celebration of the anniversary of 770 KOB Radio back in 1972. Today, the event is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful hot-air balloon festivals.
Carnival of Brazil
The annual carnival marks the beginning of the Lent or the forty-day period before Christmas. Although the festival is a Christian celebration, it started as a pagan festival of Saturnalia. The carnival is quite famous that it is often covered by many TV stations. People all over the world go to Brazil to join the carnival. The parade of excesses represent an ‘‘act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh’’ before Lent because Christians are supposed to abstain or minimize from bodily pleasures during the period.
Electric Forest Festival | United States
The Electric Forest Festival is a young custom; it started less than a decade ago. Originally called the Rothbury Festival, the Electric Forest Fest is a four-day multigenre event held at the JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan. The highlight of this event is the electronic and jam bands. But the kaleidoscope of psychedelic laser light shows capture the audience’s attention more. The light shows perfectly blend with the electronica and the hype of the jamming shows. A percentage of the revenue from the festival is donated to the Grant Township.
Holi | Hindu Nations
India is known for being a place of vibrant colors. Holi, one of the most colorful festivals in the world, is also held in India. The ancient Hindu festival is celebrated by Hindus or people with Indian origin from all over the world. In this festival, people throw colors at each other. The color is made of dry powder or with water called ghulal, aabir, etc. Holi is celebrated in spring, the season of love and colors. The most important part of the celebration is the bonfire, which marks the death of the evil spirit of Holika.
International Sand Sculpture Festival | Portugal
Algarve is famous for its beautiful and naturally sculpted caves. It is also the place where the largest sand sculpture festival in the world is held. The festival started in 2003 where sixty sand artists used 35,000 tons of sand to build fifty sand artworks. The festival stretches across 15,000 square feet area of the beach. Each year, the festival has a different theme on which the sculptures are based. The exhibition opens at night when the lights create an ambiance and atmosphere to complement the sand sculptures.
Lantern Festival | Asia
This festival is celebrated in many countries in Asia, but it all started during the Han Dynasty. The festival is held on the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar because it marks the last day of the lunar new year (February or March).
The Lantern Festival or the Mid-Autumn festival in Singapore and Malaysia is a harvest festival that is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Chinese and Vietnamese calendars (September or October). One thing that is common in both festivals is the display of lanterns, which is the highlight of the event, especially when a large number of these lanterns are sent up high at the same time. They light up the night sky, making a dream-like spectacle.
Scarlet Sails, White Nights Festival | Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia, celebrates the White Nights Festival during the Midnight Sun in the Arctic regions. The annual international arts festival is packed with competitions and entertainments. The main attraction of the festival is the Scarlet Sails.
During the event, a ship with scarlet sails sets off along the Neva River. The ship will sail amidst ambient lights and firework show along with entertainers. The sailing of the ship marks the freedom from school and rules. The tradition started after the WWII.
Sapporo Snow Festival | Japan
Sapporo, Japan, hosts the Snow Festival for seven days in February. It is one of the largest and most spectacular winter events in the country. The festival started in 1950 when six local high school students created six snow statues. After that, year after year, people from different organizations started to join, which resulted to the creation of the Snow Festival. Today, Sapporo welcomes millions of tourists during February. These tourists visit the place to take part and enjoy the snow statues and sculptures. Just like the Sand Sculpture Festival, there is a different theme each year.
Up Helly as Fire Festival | Scotland
In Scotland, to mark the end of the yule season, Shetland celebrates a variety of fire festivals. The most extravagant of these is held in Lerwick where the culture is born. It originated from older yule tradition of tar barreling, where burning tar in barrels used to be dragged on sledges by mischievous men, celebrated as early as 1876. Today, thousands of people dress up in themed period clothes. They form a procession that ends in torching down a replica of a Viking longship.
Winter Light Festival | Japan
Winter Light Festival is held in Kuwana City of Japan during winter. In this festival, the beautiful, flower-focused botanical park Nabano No Sato becomes a special tunnel of light. The winter illuminations are held in the botanical garden from November to March. Millions of LED lights that are powered by solar energy are lit up together to create gorgeous scenes, sparkling over the grounds and waters and creating powerful images and sceneries based on themes.
There are more beautiful festivals around the world. These colorful and pompous celebrations represent the happiness the people who celebrate them feel.