6 Colorful Celebrations Around the Globe Every Traveler Should Experience

Most Colorful Festivals Around the Globe

For travelers seeking a deep-dive into local culture, there’s no better time to travel abroad than in the midst of a vibrant festival or cultural event.

Taking part in local celebrations around the world is one of the best way to connect with that destination’s culture, history, and people. Dine on the local food, dance to the local music, and immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions!

Below are 6 of the most colorful and iconic festivals from around the globe that every traveler should experience at least once. Which celebration catches your eye the most?

1. Holi Festival

What It Is: An ancient Hindu “festival of color” that celebrates the end of winter and the start of spring, as well as the victory of goodness and love over evil. Throw colorful Holi powder, sing, dance, and delight in the positive energy.

Where: Across India, but the most famous versions take place in the small temple towns of Mathura and Vrindavan.

When To Go: The date varies based on the Hindu lunar calendar; in 2018 the date falls on Friday, March 2nd and in 2019 the date is Thursday, March 21st.

Holi Festival India Travel

2. Rio Carnival

What It Is: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is said to be the largest carnival celebration in the world, with 2 million people per day partying on the streets. Costumes, parades, music, and debauchery are the defining elements of this wild and colorful celebration.

Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When To Go: Carnival takes place the week before Lent, typically in February or March.

Rio Carnival

3. Venice Carnival

What It Is: A different take on carnival, the Venetian Carnival is the largest celebration in Italy. The festival is known around the globe for its theatrical masks and dramatic use of costumes. Unlike the Rio celebration, the Venetian Carnival is a more laid back affair, with a focus on public performances and masked balls.

Where: Venice, Italy

When To Go: Carnival takes place the week before Lent, typically in February or March.

4. Harbin Ice Festival

What It Is: The largest ice and snow festival in the world, which features enormous ice sculptures illuminated by computer controlled LEDs and other lighting. Those who brave the bitter cold weather here are rewarded with a show of color and light like none other on earth.

Where: Harbin, China

When To Go: The event dates vary each year based on the weather, but typically the Harbin Ice Festival runs from the end of December or start of January to mid-February.

Harbin Ice Festival China

5. Cherry Blossom Festival (Hanami)

What It Is: Each spring, Japan’s trees welcome the end of winter by putting on a vibrant display of color: the world-renowned cherry blossoms. The cherry blossom season is hard to predict, sudden, and short-lived...but truly unforgettable for those who are able to witness it.

Where: Across Japan, but Mount Fuji and Kyoto offer some of the most well-known celebrations. The cities of Nara and Kanazawa also boast scenic gardens with beautiful flowering cherry blossoms.

When To Go: From mid-January to early-May, depending on the city. Only lasts 1-2 weeks per location.

6. Oktoberfest

What It Is: The world’s largest beer and folk festival, held annually in Munich. The festival lasts for 16-18 days and celebrates traditional Bavarian culture through food, beer, music, attire, and nonstop merrymaking.

Where: Munich, Germany

When To Go: From mid or late September to the first weekend in October. Oktoberfest 2017 began this weekend on September 16, and Oktoberfest 2018 begins on September 15.

Kelly Borglum