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12 Unbelievable Festivals from Around the World and Their Origins

Explore the vibrant traditions and historical origins of the worlds most amazing festivals. From the colorful explosions of Holi in India to Germany’s frothy fun at Oktoberfest, these celebrations reflect the spirit and culture of their locales, with tips on how you can participate in and experience each festival.

A symbolic montage showcasing different elements representative of 12 distinct global festivals without human figures. Each festival represented by unique symbols like lanterns, masks, kites, cherry blossoms, fireworks, and more, reminiscent of the festivals' essence. Each symbol is also accompanied by an artistic rendition of a historical element or location associated with the festival's origins, such as ancient landmarks or traditional structures.


Festivals are the epitome of cultural expression and human celebration. Throughout the world, incredible festivals captivate the hearts of spectators and participants alike. These gatherings can be historical, religious, food-related, or simply celebratory in nature. This article dives into the origins and splendor of 12 such unbelievable festivals from different corners of the globe, offering readers a taste of each festivals unique flavor and suggesting activities or items to enhance the experience.

Rio Carnival, Brazil

Kicking off our list is the world-famous Rio Carnival. Known for its vibrant parades, elaborate costumes, and samba music, this festival originated from European masquerade balls and has Afro-Brazilian influences. Visitors can participate by joining a samba school or simply enjoying the spectacle of floats and dancers.

Holi, India

Next, Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is a Hindu festival celebrating spring, love, and new life. People smear each other with colors and splash water, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. Travelers can immerse themselves by purchasing organic color powders and participating in local events.

La Tomatina, Spain

La Tomatina is a unique festival where participants engage in a tomato fight purely for fun. Held in the town of Buñol, it has its origins in a local food fight among children in 1945. To enjoy this event, show up with goggles and old clothes – and prepare to get messy!

Diwali, India

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness. Families light diyas, fireworks illuminate the skies, and homes are decorated. To celebrate, one might buy traditional Indian sweets and diyas to light up their own space.

Oktoberfest, Germany

The worlds biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest, has roots in the 1810 wedding celebration of King Ludwig I. Today, its all about beer, traditional food, and Bavarian music. Attendees can dress in dirndl or lederhosen to fully experience the festive atmosphere.

Chinese New Year, China

This festival marks the beginning of the lunar new year. The celebration involves family reunions, firecrackers, and dragon dances. Visitors can buy red envelopes for gifting money, a tradition believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Running of the Bulls, Spain

Pamplonas Running of the Bulls is an event of high adrenaline where brave (or foolish) runners dash ahead of charging bulls. The event has religious origins, being part of the San Fermín festival. Spectators can enjoy the race from a safe distance or attend bullfights in the evening.

Burning Man, USA

Burning Man is a week-long festival dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance in the Nevada desert. Originating as a small gathering in 1986, it has grown into a city of tents and art installations. Participants should be prepared with supplies and costumes to survive and express themselves in the desert environment.

Carnival of Venice, Italy

Venices Carnival is known for its stunning masks and costumes. It started as a celebration of victory in 1162 and became a way for Venetians to express themselves without social judgement. Masks and costumes can be purchased or rented to join the extravagant balls and parades.

Mardi Gras, USA

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a burst of music, parades, and colorful costumes, marking the day before Ash Wednesday. Rooted in French Catholic traditions, its an event of indulgence. Participants can collect beads tossed from floats and savor local delicacies like king cake and jambalaya.

Yi Peng and Loi Krathong, Thailand

These are two visually stunning Thai festivals where lanterns are released into the sky and water to bring good fortune and honor Buddha. Yi Peng is the sky lantern festival, while Loi Krathong involves floating baskets. Visitors can buy lanterns and baskets to join in these serene and picturesque activities.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland

The last festival on our list is the world’s largest arts festival. Performers take to the streets and venues of Edinburgh showcasing theatre, comedy, music, and more. With such a wide array of performances, purchasing tickets to multiple shows is the best way to experience the creative pulse of the Fringe.

Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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