From The Incredible To Wacky: The Coolest Festivals Around The World
Andrew Parker - June 13, 2019

Exciting and colorful celebrations of music, culture, art, history, and so much more take place throughout the year in unique locations across the globe. From the mainstream to the most unknown, each has its own unique style and traditions that are observed by locals and travelers from near and far. If you’re craving some authentic cultures and diverse experiences, one of these festivals might just be the place for you!

 

 

Winter Light Festival

 

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Where: Kuwana City, Japan

 

One of the most special winter illuminations can be seen on the island of Nagashima in Kuwana City. This park is famous for its seasonal flower shows, that take place all year long.  The Winter Light Festival is generally held at the end of October and the park is illuminated with nearly 8 million lights, turning it into a complete winter wonderland. It looks straight out a fairy tale and is completely spectacular.

 

 

 

 

Noosa Festival of Surfing

 

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Where: Noosa, Australia

 

What started as an amateur surfing festival in 1992 in Noosa, Queensland, Australia, has become a major contender in modern professional surfing competitions around the world. The town of Noosa was the heart and soul of Australian surfing throughout the 20th century. Today, this yearly festival features some of the world’s most renowned surfing talent, in addition to whimsical stunts, such as dog surfing.

 

 

International Balloon Fiesta

 

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Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual hot air balloon festival that takes place at the start of October. It’s a nine-day event that runs from October 6th-14, and has more than 500 impressive and colorful hot air balloons every year, making it the largest balloon festival in the entire world, and definitely one of the most beautiful too.

 

 

 

 

Floating Lanterns Festival

 

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Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

 

Hawaii’s Floating Lanterns Festival is held annually on Memorial Day.  The festival brings an estimated 50,000 to the south shore of O’ahu, as well as thousands more than tune in through live streaming. This evening was created in order to honor loved ones, as well as create a collection of hope for the future.  It is a time where people come together to reflect, remember, and offer gratitude.

 

 

International Highline Meeting Festival

 

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Where: Monte Piana, Italy

 

The International Highline Meeting festival may sound like one of the most chill festivals ever. Right? Well, while that may be true, at the same time, it’s also one of the most terrifying.  Visitors spend most of the event hanging from tightropes.  This extreme sport differs from tightrope walking in that it has a flattened shape, meaning it can bounce or move side-to-side. Yikes. Only for the bravest of adventurers.

 

 

 

 

Kaljakellunta

 

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Where: Helsinki, Finland

 

Also known as the beer floating festival, Kaljakellunt is an annual Finnish event that attracts thousands from across the globe to float on the Kerava River outside of Helsinki. There is no official organizer of the event, although it has been held annually around the same time each year since 1997 when 10 participants began the beer floating festival tradition.

 

 

The Fiesta de Cascamorras

 

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Where: Baza, Spain

 

This festival takes place in the towns of Baza and Guadix in Spain, every year on September 6th. The two towns fight each other for the possession of a statue of the Virgen de la Piedad. Back in 2006, the festival was actually declared a Fist of National Tourist Interest of Spain.

 

 

 

 

Electric Forest Festival

 

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Where: Rothbury, Michigan

 

This eight-day festival is a multi-genre musical festival, with a special emphasis on jam band and electronic genres.  It was originally called Rothbury Festival when it started in 2008, focusing mainly on rock and jam bands. Electric Forest Debuted in 2011 and ever since it’s seen great success and numbers.

 

 

Harbin Ice Festival

 

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Where: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

 

This stunning picture is of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. It takes place every winter and is the largest snow and ice festival in the entire world. It has grown to have a very international crowd, generating billions of dollars of revenue annually.

 

 

 

 

Jaipur Elephant Festival

 

 

Where: Jaipur, India

 

Jaipur celebrates its annual Elephant Festival on the same day as the Holi festival of colors, and for a good reason. According to the traditions of Jaipur, elephants represent royalty, and the Elephant Festival is a day dedicated to celebrating these powerful animals. They are adorned from their trunks to their toes with fine fabrics, jewelry, and vibrant colors and parade through the town for the culmination of the day’s events.

 

 

Tomorrowland

 

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Where: Boom, Belgium

 

Tomorrowland is an unreal festival that has made its mark on social media in the Music Festival world.  It is one of most well known global music festivals, with ticket demand so incredibly high that it sells out right away every year, making it harder and harder to snag tickets every year.  You won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

 

Holi Color Festival

 

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Where: India

 

The Holi festival originated in India, however, the concept has been remodeled by various cities around the world. As you could imagine, the symbolism behind the festival signifies all good things: the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, a day play and repair broken relationships, and a celebration of happy days ahead. While the origins are largely religious-based, these days the festival has a more secular approach. The day consists of parties, parades, concerts, and more where participants become drenched in color by any and all means necessary.

 

 

Monkey Buffet Festival

 

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Where: Lopburi, Thailand

 

This annual festival celebrates the local monkey population in Lopburi, Thailand. Spreads of food are placed outside of the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi Province, and the city’s 2,000 monkeys are invited to indulge in the vast amounts of fruits, vegetables, and other assorted foods provided by the local community. This bizarre and delicious festival is one of the more unique celebrations in the small city.

 

 

 

 

Underwater Music Festival

 

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Where: Looe Key Reef, Florida

 

Just off the coast of the Florida Keys, something truly magical takes place below the ocean’s surface. For over twenty-five years, hundreds of divers come together for one day to put on an underwater concert. A playlist is streamed from underwater speakers while divers rock out with various instruments, and nearly all the songs are ocean-themed in some way. Sound travels 4.3 times faster in water than through air, so the audience is treated to a truly spectacular audio and visual experience.

 

 

World Bodypainting Festival

 

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Where: Klagenfurt, Austria

 

Bodypaint artists from over 50 different countries head to Austria once a year for the annual bodypainting festival and competition. This modern art celebration dates back to 1998 and has increasingly grown in popularity around the world. In addition to elaborate displays and attractions, there are plenty of hands-on activities and unique opportunities of self-expression at this family-friendly festival.

 

 

 

 

Loi Krathong Festival

 

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Where: Thailand

 

Loi Krathong, which can be translated in English to ”to float a basket” is a Siamese festival that is celebrated every year throughout Thailand, as well as in nearby countries with southwestern Tai cultures.  The tradition comes from the making of decorated baskets, which are then floated onto a river. It is celebrated on the evening on the full moon on the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar.  The exact date changes annually. 

 

 

Oktoberfest

 

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Where: Munich, Germany

 

This festival is the largest beer festival in the world and has been held since 1810. It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and lasts anywhere from 16-18 days.  It usually runs from mid or late September until the first weekend in October. Over six million from across the globe come together to this folk festival.  During the event,  massive amounts of beer are consumed. In 2013, 7.7 million liters of beer was consumed.  There are always a wide variety of attractions such as games, rides, and traditional German foods.

 

 

 

 

International Camping Festival

 

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Where: Jiangxi, China

 

This past September, more than 15,000 outdoor sports lovers from all over China came together at a hillside nearby to Mount Wugongshan to take part in the annual International Camping Festival.  This area is known as China’s most beautiful countryside, due to its long history and tradition, as well as it’s natural ecology, cloud-covered peaks, springs, and waterfalls.  The event has been running for 6 years and aims to encourage people to engage in a green philosophy, a love for nature, as well as in outdoor activity.

 

 

Battle of the Oranges

 

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Where: Ivrea, Italy

 

The Battle of the Oranges involves thousands of locals who throw oranges at each other. They divide themselves up into nine teams, and there is a considerable amount of violence involved during the days of the event (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). The event always takes place in February and ends in a solemn funeral, where everyone says goodbye to each other until next year’s festival.

 

 

 

 

Dachshund Festival

 

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Where: St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Each year in St. Petersburg, hundreds of sausage dogs (and their owners) participate in an annual costume festival. The dogs are treated to a parade, and the costumes can get pretty complex. Owners and their low-rider pups parade down the runway as spectators celebrate some of the most creative and hilarious Dachshunds in St. Petersburg.

 

 

O.Z.O.R.A.

 

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Where: Ozora, Hungary

 

This centuries-old small town in rural Hungary comes to life once a year during the O.Z.O.R.A. music festival. It’s been described as a psychedelic celebration of culture, music, love, and life, and attracts thousands of attendees from all corners of the globe.

 

 

 

 

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

 

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Where: Skagit Valley, Washington

 

Each spring the fields of the Skagit Valley are draped with rows and rows of colorful tulips. Its origins are traced back to 1883 when George Gibbs, a recent immigrant to the US, purchased $5 worth of tulip seeds. By 1905, Gibbs was collaborating with the US government in an experiment to recreate tulip fields similar to those in Holland. With nearly one million visitors a year, the experiment proved to be a success.

 

 

Psy-Fi Festival

 

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Where: Friesland, Netherlands

 

Psy-Fi has grown over the last few years and is quickly becoming one of the biggest Psy-Trance festivals in Europe. It has been described as an out-of-this-world experience with performances and attractions that blend the lines between reality and fantasy.

 

 

 

 

Lost Lands Festival

 

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Where: Thornville, Ohio

 

Lost Lands describes itself as a festival of “prehistoric proportions”, and it holds true to this claim. Just outside of Columbus, Ohio, thousands gather at this yearly music and camping festival. Throughout the grounds, you’ll find hundreds of life-size dinosaur statues combined with over one million watts of bass (it’s said to shake the ground). If you’re looking for a truly out-of-this-world experience, Lost Lands might be for you.

 

 

Purim Festival

 

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Where: Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Purim is celebrated throughout the world as it marks the Jewish peoples’ victory over Haman, who had plotted to destroy the Jewish people. The tradition includes dressing up in costumes and eating lots of Hamantaschen cookies. In Tel Aviv, celebrations last for around one week with street parties, parades, and lots of music and fun.

 

 

 

 

Intents Festival

 

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Where: Oisterwijk, Netherlands

 

This three-day long dance festival is intense, to say the least. In addition to endless music and dancing, there is a massive campsite complete with interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and unique experiences.

 

 

Boomtown Fair

 

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Where: Winchester, United Kingdom

 

The Boomtown Fair is a unique 4-day music festival experience that takes place near Winchester, UK every August. A mock-town is constructed complete with streets, venues, unique districts, and of course, hired talent to help bring the town to life. Each year, the festival symbolizes a new “chapter” in its history and is themed accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Balluminaria

 

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Where: Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Stop by Mirror Lake in Eden Park just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio each November for an amazing hot air balloon light festival. Locals gather around the lake and watch as rows of hot air balloons are illuminated into the night. At the festival, you can find plenty of street performers and entertainment, as well as some warm treats to beat the November chill.

 

 

Pohela Falgun

 

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Where: Bangladesh

 

This unique and exciting festival is held on the first day of Spring in the Bengali month Falgun, based on the Bengali calender.  It began in 1991 by the students of Dhaka University in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and usually falls on the 13th of February on the more commonly known calender. It is a day filled with vast color, where women traditionally wear yellow saris to honor this day. In the Bengali language the meaning of the name is Spring Festival.

 

 

 

 

Free Press Summer Festival

 

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Where: Houston, Texas

 

This popular festival lasts for two days long and is held annually in Houston, Texas at the Eleanor Tinsley Park in Buffalo Bayou.  It is mainly a music festival, however, there are also fireworks, unique art installations, music workshops, a paint slide and an impressive 30-foot water wall which is not to be missed.

 

 

Kasedori Festival

 

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Where: Kaminoyama City, Japan

 

This Japanese festival gets its name from straw coats, which are worn by the participants. They are supposed to be birds, and as they dance their way through the festival, they cry out ”Krah, Krah”. This one-of-a-kind festival began in the 1600s and it has become a tradition to dance and get showered by freezing cold water ever since.  The festival is believed to bring prosperity and supposedly is connected to the adult entertainment business.

 

 

 

 

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

 

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Where: Wiltshire, England

 

The Summer Solstice is the most important day of the entire year at Stonehenge. It is a very magical time to come visit, with a celebration that brings together all of England’s New Age Tribes with thousands of tourists, families and party people.  Being there is believed to be a spiritual experience. Anyone who has seen the crowd all of a sudden become silent as the sun brightens can attest to.