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There's something about a festival that can really add to your experience of a place.
Whether you happen to be driving through Grafton during its famous Jacaranda festival, sweating it up with a Samba school in Rio during Carnival, or adrift in clouds of colour during the Hindu festival of Holi, the coming together of local people to connect and celebrate can deliver the travel experiences of a lifetime.
Some festivals are true drawcards, mega-events that attract visitors from all over the globe. Think New Orleans' Mardi Gras, Burning Man in Nevada, Carnevale in Venice, Munich's Oktoberfest, and Sydney's ever larger and more vibrant Vivid Festival. These events truly get people dusting off their passports, moving, spending money and filling social media feeds the world over.
Image: Rio’s Carnival
If you've ever travelled for a festival, you'll know what that experience can be like from the moment the travel seed is planted—excitement overload. For travellers, the world's big festivals require some planning. There are flights to book, accommodation to lock-in early and, very likely, tickets to buy.
When planning your next festival journey, consulting an ATAS-accredited travel professional can be a great place to start—they're the best in the business, and will be with you every step of the way.
The great festivals sell out. Tickets, transport and accommodation can be gone in no time. Your ATAS-accredited travel agent can help you source festival packages or the individual components required to get you there and away.
If you're considering a festival journey in 2020, which festivals should be on your radar? Take a look at this list of the big, the quirky and cultural festivals around the world to help whet your festival appetite.
Early November 2020
Confused by some with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is the ceremonial gathering of family and friends who pray and remember those who have died.
The two-day festival coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (01 November) and All Souls’ Day (02 November), and is a unique blend of remembrance and festivities.
03-11 October 2020
Each year in early October, hundreds of balloons lift into the air and fill the sky. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is the world's largest hot air balloon festival, and one of the most photographed events on the planet.
26 August 2020
La Tomatina is the ultimate food fighting festival, held each year on the last Wednesday in August.
The Festival begins before Midday as trucks loaded with locals hurl over-ripe tomatoes at festival goers in the streets. The rest writes itself. More than 100 tonnes of tomatoes quickly become an ankle-deep stream of puree.
It’s messy, messy fun.
Image credit: www.tomatofestivalspain.com
13-15 April each year
The Thai New Year falls during the hottest time of year in Thailand, and what better way to celebrate it than an inescapable 3-day water fight?
For Thai people, sprinkling water symbolizes blessing, purging, and new beginnings. Armed with water pistols, water balloons, hoses and buckets, locals take this to another level during Songkran—Thailand's the most anticipated annual festival.Image credit: www.bangkok.com
New Year’s Eve is celebrated in many ways around the world, but few places see in the new year quite like Edinburgh.
Hogmonay is a festival of live music, street parties, fireworks and a torchlight procession that blazes through the city accompanied by pipers and drummers.
Image: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay torchlight procession. Credit: Ian Georgeson.
17-26 July 2020
Boryeong Mud Festival is one of Korea’s most popular summer events. And for good reason—what's not to love about frolicking around in mineral-rich mud baths?
Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, South Korea is the main site of the mud festival attended by some 2 to 3 million domestic and international tourists each year!
Image: Boryeong Mud Festival. Credit: Stinkie Pinkie via Wikimedia Commons.
Late March and/or early April
Japan’s brief Cherry Blossom Season – known as Sakura Matsuri – sweeps across the country as the blooms of the Japanese cherry tree spectacularly—but briefly—burst to life. Because cherry blossoms are beautiful and fleeting—often lasting no more than a week or two—they have become symbolic of the impermanence of beauty.
The blossoms spring to life at different times across Japan. Chat to your ATAS-accredited travel agent about how, where and when to plan your trip.
24 December 2019 - 20 February 2020
The largest ice and snow festival in the world is an annual celebration of all things frozen, including a display of thousands of ice sculptures.
Swing saws are used to cut large ice blocks from the frozen Songhua River before chisels, ice picks and other tools are used by sculptors to create enormous, intricate ice sculptures.
05 October - 24 November 2020
One for the foodies! This autumn festival is a celebration of the magical, prized and aromatic fungus—the white truffle. Oh, and wine. Exquisite local wines.
Image: The prized white truffles of Alba.
To ensure you find the right hotels, transport and festival tickets to suit your style and budget, work with an ATAS-accredited professional who will be with you every step of the way from the planning stages to the moment you return home having had the adventure of a lifetime.
Whether you're planning a romantic weekend away with your someone special, a fun-filled getaway with a group of friends, or the , chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional - experience you can trust.
Read more travel tales on our blog like these posts about ‘glamping’, how travel agents can help turn travel mishaps in happy travels, and top tips for travel to Greenland
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