Published on Tuesday, 12 August 2014 00:00
We don't really get much happening festivals in Singapore except for just watching the National Day Parade. There is something about festivals and a whole bunch of strangers coming together, making merry, dancing, setting things on fire, and going crazy that makes us want to jump right into it and lose ourselves in the moment as well. Unfortunately, Singapore is much too restrictive to host festivals like these, but just take a look at these 10 legendary festivals from all around the world that you have to see and join in at least once in your lifetime.
1. Holi (Festival of Colors), India
Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Celebrations begin with the lighting of a bonfire on Holi Eve. Then, revelers proceed to throw colored powder everywhere and at everyone to spread cheer and share joy. Even if you are not Hindu, they will still welcome you to partake in the festival with open arms regardless of race, language or religion.
2. Winter Light Festival, Kuwana City, Japan
The Nabana No Sato botanical garden turns into a magical wonderland at night in winter. The park is lit up with over 7 million LED lights to celebrate winter, creating an ethereal experience for everyone. Most of the park is powered by batteries charged with solar panels during the day, minimizing any harmful effect of the celebrations on the environment.
3. Carnevale, Venice, Italy
In 1162, the Republic of Venice successfully fended off an attempted invasion. To celebrate their victory, the people of Venice partied in San Marco Square. Now, the Carnival of Venice marks the start of Lent. One thing that has almost remained constant for more than 800 years since the first carnival is the exquisite costumes and outfits.
4. Up Hella Aa Fire Festival, Shetland, Scotland
This is probably one of the most bad-ass festivals of all time. Up Helly Aa is a fire festival which marks the end of the yule season and sends spectators back in time. In Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, thousands of celebrators march through the streets in themed costumes holding flaming torches, the procession then ends with the torches being thrown into a replica Viking longship and people stand and watch as it razes down to the ground.
5. La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain
According to folklore, tomato throwing started in 1945 when locals pelted the vegetables at troublesome woodland creatures and missed, and instead ended up hitting each other. Now every August, around 20,000 revelers throw more than 150,000 tomatoes at each other in just a single day, just because. Plus all that tomato juice that will soak you from top to bottom is really good for your skin!
6. Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, USA
More than 750 hot air balloons assemble for the largest balloon festival in the world which lasts for 9 days. The Fiesta began in 1972 when 14 balloons assembled as a birthday celebration for 770 KOB Radio.
7. Burning Man, Nevada, USA
Every year, people from all over the world travel to Nevada to celebrate culture and art in the burning man festival. Artists will build dozens of huge installations, while musicians serenade the crowd of over 50,000. The festival ends with a large bang, with spectacular displays of fireworks and the burning of a giant wooden man (or woman) statue that has been over 30 meters tall.
8. Lantern Festival, Asia
While Singaporeans do celebrate Lantern Festival in Singapore, we do so on a very small scale. Other Asian countries light up the night sky with thousands and thousands of floating lanterns. The Lantern Festival has been celebrated since ancient times on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar calendar. Those of Chinese and Vietnamese origin descend on temples, with thousands of lanterns embellished with complex but beautiful designs. At the end of the night, the lanterns fly away in a magnificent spectacle which symbolizes letting go of your past self.
9. Garma Festival, Australia
Garma Festival is a celebration held by the Yolngu people, native Australians. The festival is aimed to preserve and maintain their traditional dance, songs, art and ceremony. It also endeavors to shares the knowledge and culture of the Yolngu with those lucky enough to be invited. If you ask nicely, they might just let you join in on the fun.
10. Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), Peru
During the rise of the Inca Empire, the Festival of the Sun was one of the most important events of the year. The ceremony honors Inti, the sun god. Since 1944, Pery has hosted a theatrical representation of the procession every June commemorating the ancient Inca people, attracting thousands of tourists and participants.