10 Great Festivals in the World to Attend in the Second Half of the Year

Festivals represent different ideas, religious beliefs and even social causes and movements. They are a great way to learn about minorities, different ways of life and some also expose you to a variety of cultures from around the world. Festivals are usually celebrations, and hence majority will have a positive impact on how you feel. In ancient times, festivals were mainly celebrated in honour of God but today, festivals are celebrated also to honour eminent people, and provide as an outlet for people to express themselves creatively! Read on to learn about some amazing festivals that take place around the world in the second half of the year:

  1. Burning Man – Black Rock City, USA – (August-September)

What started as a small bonfire ceremony on summer solstice has evolved into a one of the most popular international festivals in the world. It wouldn’t be correct to refer to it as just a festival as it is essentially the setting up of a temporary metropolis dedicated to the community, also to art and to self-reliance. This takes place once a year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert and lasts 9 days leading up to Labor Day. In 2019, the attendance recorded was 78,850.

  1. GionMasturi – Kyoto, Japan (July)

A vivacious month-long festival that has become one of the largest festivals in Japan. It began within the Shinto community for the purpose of purifying and pacifying disease-causing entities. The first one was apparently held in 839 during a plague. Today, it has come to become an event that involves amazing street food, nightlong parties, elaborate floats and processions. If you want to go, make sure to book many months in advance!

  1. Mevlana Festival – Konya, Turkey (December)

This 10-day event in the city of Konya is celebrated to pay respects to the death anniversary of Rumi. Many indigenous communities gather to witness the Sufi Dance called ‘Sama’. They are dressed in elaborate 5-piece costumes and perform a dance by spinning themselves with their arms in the air. For this reason, they are called the Whirling Dervishes. The spinning is also accompanied by an orchestra and chanting and is a truly entrancing experience for anybody and everybody.

  1. La Tomatina – Bunol, Spain (August)

A festival that truly emphasizes on letting your body loose and being free-spirited. Held on the last Wednesday in August, it basically involves a tomato fight between 11am to 1 pm.  There’s a funny story behind the festival which involves the riled-up behaviour of an enraged giant in a parade and youngsters who flung tomatoes at him in retaliation. Essentially, it’s a fun-loving event for those who wish to unleash the child within!

  1. EXIT Festival – Novi Sad, Serbia (July/August)

This festival is one of the most prominent international festivals in the dance-music category. What makes it particularly unique is that it is held at a fortress with about 40 different stages and numerous rooms to explore. The organizers objective is to create a movement rather than just a festival. This movement symbolizes exit from the current circumstances to work towards positive social changes and true happiness, eventually making the Balkans a symbol of unity and progress.

  1. Notting Hill Carnival – Notting Hill, England (August)

A festival that celebrates that Caribbean Heritage with a parade and fabulous costumed performers. What started as a solution to community unrest has today become one of the biggest street festivals in Europe. Head over to indulge in some great food, witness elaborate presentations and, to sway to some relaxed West Indian tunes!

  1. Feria Del Mole – Mexico (October)

Held in the village of San Pedro Actopan, this food festival also supports the empowerment of women. Amazing women from the community come together to prepare mole; i.e., a stew/sauce that has a variety of different preparation methods. You can sample the different dishes and enjoy the local culture.

  1. Diwali – India (October/November)

This is one of the biggest festivals in India and it celebrates the victory of good over evil and the return of a mythological god from 14 years of exile. Diwali is also called the festival of lights and everyone lights up their home to symbolize the spiritual victory of light over darkness. People wear their finest clothes, enjoy good food and spend time with family and dear ones. Many gifts also exchange hands.

  1. Cosmic Convergence Festival – Guatemala (December)

A festival that celebrates Mayan culture and tradition, and simultaneously emphasize on the cause for sustainability and conscious living. Held at one of the most spectacular destinations in the world, Lake Atitlan; this festival emphasizes the depth of a unique culture that has developed as one of the most advanced civilizations in the world.

  1. Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival – Portugal (dates can vary, May to Sept for 2021)

Imagine 3.7 acres of a desert adorned with sand sculptures that are created by artists from all over the world. Some of the sculptures can be over 12 metres high and incredibly detailed. The theme changes every year, so it will always be new and exciting. 

Some other popular festivals worth mentioning are Oktoberfest in Germany, Glastonbury Festival in England and Winter Festival of Lights in Canada. If you choose to spend time attending different festivals around the world, you should consider booking yourself a multi destination ticket that makes sure you can be in the right place at the right time! More unique off beat festivals include Hornbill festival in India, Down the Rabbit hole in the Netherlands, Albuquerque Balloon Festival in New Mexico, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Lake of Stars festival in Malawi. If you really want to understand the highlights of different cultures and expose yourself to a variety of modes of artistic expression, there’s no better way to do it than by attending a festival.