Cultural Festivals Around The World: Celebrating Traditions With Cultural Entertainment
No matter where you go in the world, one thing seems to be clear: people love to celebrate! Hundreds of festivities take place each year all across the globe, some of them celebrated not only in their countries of origin but also by people of different nationalities and backgrounds.
What is the origin of these worldwide famous feasts and what are the world and cultural acts associated with them? As diverse as they are colourful, we’ve taken our pick from the wide variety of cultural festivals around the world and listed our favourite seven. Are you ready to be taken on a journey from Mexico to Australia passing through Spain, Holland, Scotland, India and Japan? Let's begin!
Mexico: Day of the Dead
Photo by Ernesto Rodríguez
What is it: A celebratory holiday to remember the dead, Day of the Dead allows families in Mexico to honour their relatives by creating ‘ofrendas’ (offerings) and welcoming back their souls for a brief reunion in this world. All in all, it’s a festival that celebrates life and death. Often mistaken as the Mexican version of Halloween, Day of the Dead is, in fact, a two-day holiday for families to remember their loved ones.
Why we love it: A vibrant celebration that includes tasty dishes and delicious drinks, the festivity is perhaps better-known for painted skulls. Often drawn with a smile as a way to laugh at death itself, this is the most recognisable aspect of the festivity and what makes us love it so much!
What is it: One of the most iconic festivities in the country, the Seville fair takes place two weeks after Easter and lasts for seven days. It dates back to 1846, although it didn’t become the spectacle that it is today until 1920. Each day, Sevillians and visitors dress in gorgeous Flamenco outfits, enjoy horses and carriage parades, dance ‘sevillanas’, drink ‘rebujitos’ and eat ‘tapas’ throughout the day.
Why we love it: A festival that completely transforms the city with marquee tents set up along the fairgrounds and the Guadalquivir river, what we love most is the fact that everyone dresses up - women in flamenco dresses, men in standard suits - and dance and party whilst enjoying delicious dishes and with a drink in hand. This is what we call a real fiesta!
Photo by Murtaza Ali
What is it: No country welcomes spring as Indians do! Also known as ‘Festival of Spring’, ‘Festival of Colours’ and ‘Festival of Love’, this ancient religious Hindu tradition marks the beginning of spring and it’s literally a burst of colour. Gathering around a bonfire, people celebrate good triumphing over evil on the first day of the festival and splash and smear each other with coloured powder, paint and water on the second day. If you’d like to learn more about this festival, read our quick guide to Holi: the Festival of colours.
Why we love it: We share the idea that the arrival of spring and the end of winter is a good reason enough to celebrate! An exuberant festival about fun and freedom, Holi provides both men and women of all ages with a space and time where they can play pranks on each other and have fun together!
What is it: Hanami literally means ‘viewing flowers’. An ancient tradition that originated in Japan 1,000 years ago, Hanami consists of going to enjoy the blooming of cherry and plum blossoms, especially the cherry tree (sakura), the most popular tree in the country as it can be found all over Japan. A tradition started by aristocrats who enjoyed looking at this natural spectacle and writing poems about it, Hanami is a festival with a symbolic meaning as it represents the fleeting nature of beauty as the blooms often last no more than two weeks.
Why we love it: Enjoying nature for the sake of it is definitely one of our favourite things! Sitting in a park admiring nature and enjoying a picnic with home-cooked meals and in good company...we simply can’t think of anything better!
Photo by Sávio Félix
What is it: A national holiday in the Netherlands, King’s Day celebrates the birth of the country’s monarch. Currently, it is celebrated on 27 April which is King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. A day during which thousands of locals and visitors flood the streets of Amsterdam and the whole country, everyone dresses in orange (from head to toe) and enjoys the different activities, flea markets and concerts organised for the occasion.
Why we love it: A day where local sellers can sell their products in the street without a permit, King’s Day it’s also a celebration of art, music and entertainment in general. A festival that doesn’t discriminate, everyone - locals, visitors, men, women and children - can join the party and enjoy it to the fullest.
Photo by Tom Hill
What is it: The country’s national holiday, Australia Day celebrates everything that’s great about being Australian. As locals proudly proclaim, “Australia Day is for all Australians, no matter where our personal stories began”. A day filled with fun activities and concerts, Australian and visitors celebrate the best about being Australian with street parades, spectacular firework displays, ferry races and beach barbecues!
Why we love it: A celebration that has transformed over the years, today Australia Day celebrates the diversity of the island. A day filled with tons of outdoor activities and concerts, we imagine it being the Australian version of the 4th of July!
What is it: Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year. One of the greatest New Year’s celebrations, we can find Hogmanay origins in the celebration of the Winter Solstice by the Vikings. A three-day festivity that begins with thousands of torch-bearers, drummers and bagpipers marching through the streets of Edinburgh, Hogmanay also features live music, DJs, concerts, flea markets and a splash in the river Forth (wearing a costume!) with the iconic Forth Bridges as a backdrop. If you’d like to learn more about other Scottish celebrations, don’t miss our top tips for planning a roaring burns night.
Why we love it: Any festivity that brings people together regardless of their origin is worth a mention! Besides the Viking vibes and the incredible live music, Hogmanay’s iconic fireball parade and Auld Lang Syne - a national sing-along where people join hands with other people they just met - have us fascinated.
Explore Further Entertainment from Around the World
Whether you’re celebrating any of the above festivals in their countries of origin or recreating them with any of the suggested world and cultural acts, we’d love to hear from you!
Share any pictures with us by tagging us on Instagram @scarlettent and we’ll share your photo! If you’d like to explore further cultural entertainment, make sure you explore other ideas for Oktoberfest parties, St Patrick’s Day celebrations and Ramadan and Iftar parties, among others.
Interested in booking any of the above cultural entertainment? Get in touch!