Around The World in 8 Cultural Festivals
From tomato flinging in Spain to rice powder fights in India, cultural celebrations have a way of capturing the spirit of a nation. So, to celebrate how beautifully diverse our incredible world is, we took it upon ourselves to immortalise a few of these weird and wonderful events in poster form.
Take a look at our animated festival posters, below, and grab a pen and paper – you’ll want to add these cultural festivals to your bucket list.
The messiest festival on Spain’s calendar, La Tomatina draws some 20,000 revellers to the streets of Buñol, where the aim of the day is simple: pelt each other with tomatoes. With more than 120 tonnes of tomatoes ripe for throwing, visitors are advised to bring a spare change of clothes (and maybe some goggles, too!).
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong
Against the backdrop of the Chiang Mai Mountains, locals come together to illuminate the night sky in orange lanterns. Paper lanterns are also set alight and sent floating across lakes and rivers to pay thanks to the Goddess of Water.
Known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, this magical festival is best characterised by glittering lanterns and vibrant kolams (rice flour/chalk designs). As night falls, eyes turn to the sky, where fireworks illuminate crowds in a cacophony of colour.
At this nationwide street party, Scots flock to the cobbles to ‘knock back a dram’, bang drums, light torches, and scoff steak pie. If you head to Scotland for Hogmanay, don’t forget to the learn the words to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ - this is the official Scottish way to bring in the new year.
Indulgent and hubristic, Carnevale is the ultimate way to let loose before Lent begins. At this “anything goes” carnival, visitors are encouraged to dress up in whimsical 18th-century era attire, although Venetian masks are, undeniably, the stars of the show.
Mardi Gras, or ‘Fat Tuesday’, is where flamboyance meets fun. Hosting out-of-this-world floats, booming marching bands and colourful masquerade costumes, this is a street party which embraces the weirdest and most wonderful roots of New Orleans.
While Diwali paints walls and skies, Holi paints people. At the ‘Festival of Colours’, locals douse each other in a kaleidoscopic wash of paint and powder. Psychedelic pinks and fluorescent greens combine to create clouds of tie-dye, while street bonfires deliver a punch of burnt orange to proceedings.
Marking the final day of the Chinese New Year Spring Festival period, the Lantern Festival is a chance to give hope for a prosperous future – a tradition that spans around 2000 years. Across the country, orange paper lanterns are set alight and sent into the night sky for good luck. While on the ground, traditional lion dances take place, red envelopes are exchanged and dumplings are cooked.