1. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Carnival in Rio is a sight you will never forget. This carnival has the largest attendance in the world, with over two million people in the streets before Lent. This celebration began in 1723, and today includes floats, party goers, music, and costumes. Samba schools, or dancing schools, work together to build the best floats, themes, lyrics, and dances to portray their theme.
2. Holi Festival, India
Holi Festival is celebrated by the Hindu all over the world. This Hindu religious spring festival is also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. It begins with a Holika bonfire the night before the main event, where people sing and dance. The next day, the carnival of colors literally paints the town. Participants throw dry powder and colored water on each other, with water guns and colored, water-filled balloons adding to the rainbow-mayhem magic.
3. La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain
It sounds crazy but, if you ever felt the desire to throw smashed tomatoes at some strangers, then this event is your cup of salsa. Every year, just for fun, the people in this Spanish town throw over 40 metric tons of tomatoes at each other.
4. Running of the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain
The most famous event of the festival of San Fermín is the running of the bulls, but the entire event draws over one million people each year and is now the most internationally renowned fiesta in Spain.
5. Lantern Festival, Pingxi District, Taiwan
History says that the “sky lantern” was invented during the Three Kingdoms period by Zhuge Liang. This festival follows the firecracker ceremony of the Wumiao Temple. The Yanshui Fireworks Display was originally used to ward off disease and evil from the town. The sky lanterns followed the fireworks, to signal to everyone that the town was now safe and cleansed.
6. Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), Mexico
Known as the “Día de Muertos” in Spanish, this Mexican holiday focuses on loved ones gathering together to pray for those who have died. Many people build private alters, and honor the deceased with sugar skulls, marigolds, and their favorite foods and beverages. They also visit their graves and leave offerings. The holiday originates from the Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl.
7. Harbin Ice and Snow, Harbin, China
Visit Harbin in January and you will witness a fairytail sight. This annual winter festival began in 1963, during Harbin’s ice-lantern show and garden party. Here you can see the most spectacular ice sculptures in the world. You can also enjoy alpine skiing, winter swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.
8. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
Oktoberfest began as a German wedding reception between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony on October 12, 1810. The entire city of Munich was invited to the party. Today, the event is celebrated worldwide, but no where better than in Bavaria, Germany, where more than 6 million people attend the festivities.
9. Mardi Gras, New Orleans, USA
Mari Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French, and refers to the Tuesday before lent, which is the highlight of the season. The festival includes parades, masquerade balls, and king cake parties. The festivities are concentrated in the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
10. Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, New Mexico, USA
The biggest hot-air balloon festival in the world, which began in 1972, draws around 750 balloons and over 100,000 participants each year.