When we travel, we love immersing ourselves in the culture of a destination and there is no better way than to join a celebration or festival. We all need a little celebration in life, so here are some of the biggest and best festivals in the world.
Thaipusam Festival – Malaysia
Thaipusam is a massive Hindu festival that takes place every January and February in the Tamil communities of Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, and Mauritius. Thaipusam Festival is celebrated during the full moon of the Tamil month of Thai. (January-February) The brightest star during this time of year is called Pusam thus creating the festival, Thaipusam.
It is one of the most shocking festivals in the world where devotees pierce their bodies with large spikes and hooks as they pay their respects to Lord Muruga. The largest celebration happens at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur where more than a million people attend event after going into a trance, they make the long pilgrimage to the Batu Caves where they leave their offerings.
- When:Annually January or February in the Tamil month of Thai.
- Where:Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Mauritius
- Duration:Three days
Songkran Festival – Thailand
Each year Thailand celebrates the New Year with the world’s largest water fight and is one of the funniest festivals of the world you’ll ever attend. Songkran Festival takes place on the 13th of April every year during the Thai New Year.
Thailand isn’t the only place to celebrate the water festival, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam all ring in the New Year which just happens to be the hottest time of the year with Thaipusam.
Thaipusam is a three-day festival but it has become so popular that celebrations begin well before April 13 and continue for days after. The best place to celebrate in Thailand is in the old capital of Chiang Mai.
- When:April 13-15
- Where:Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar
- Duration:Three days
Holi Festival – India
Holi is the most colorful festival in the world. In fact, Holi is also known as The Festival of Colours. This Hindu festival celebrates the arrival of spring and signifies the victory of good over evil. Each year the date changes for Holi as it takes place on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month, Phalunga.
Holika Dahan happens on the eve of the Holi festival where people light the fires to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. It is a magical festival to attend and a favorite thing to do in India. Celebrations take place across the country, but special celebrations are held in Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna.
- Duration:2 days
Dia De Los Muertos – Mexico
The Day of the Dead is a festival in Mexico that celebrates the return of deceased relatives’ souls. The festival starts on October 31 and ends on November 2. It is believed that during this time the gates of heaven open to allow the dearly departed to visit their families for 24 hours. The Day of the Dead is a beautiful festival where people dress up in costumes and paint their faces like skeletons and skulls. Ornate and colorful flower carpets line the streets symbolizing remembrance.
- When: October 31 – November 2
- Duration: 3 days
- Where: Mexico
St. Patrick’s Day – Ireland
Saint Patrick’s Day is an Irish festival that celebrates the patron saint of Ireland. Born in the 4th century, he was taken to Ireland as a slave but escaped back to England. He returned to Ireland to establish Christian churches, monasteries, and schools. Upon his death, his legend grew and the Irish began to celebrate his death with feasts.
It may be an Irish holiday, but many nations observe St. Paddy’s day. Celebrated with parades, all things green, and a lot of ale, St. Patrick’s Day brings millions of people together. Saint Patrick’s Day used to be a quiet affair in Ireland, but when Americans of Irish descent started celebrating with vigor, it was brought to life.
And if you find yourself in Dublin, it is definitely the place to be.
- When: March 17
- Duration:1 day
- Where:Ireland and many other countries with Irish immigrants including the US