Chances are you have that one Facebook friend who does really cool international traveling and posts pictures of themselves at some crazy festival in (insert backpacker/study abroad destination).
We’d like to introduce you to these fun celebrations so you can add them to your bucket list and attend one or all of them in your lifetime! The best news, all of these can be accomplished while studying abroad through USAC!
Presenting our top five celebrations around the world:
1. Holi in India
Holi is an annual 16-day religious festival that has inspired countless other events to get colorful, but nothing compares to the actual celebration in India.
This “festival of colors” involves the throwing of colored powder and water in large amounts and in no time everyone becomes tie-died from head to toe!
This is a Hindu festival that happens every spring (typically late February or early March) to commemorate a new season and good harvests.
The best place to be during Holi is in North India, especially in Delhi, Jaipur, or Agra. Each city has a different way to celebrate this fun, vibrant event, so make sure to do your research for when and where to visit.
2. Oktoberfest in Germany
As a well-known festival that is on many people’s bucket lists, Oktoberfest draws large crowds year after year.
It has been celebrated since 1810 and is very important in Bavarian culture, so revelries are high-energy and loads of fun; this is the biggest beer celebration in the world, after all!
Annually, it is held on the second-to-last weekend in September until the first in October in Munich, Germany.
On the first day, be sure not to miss the opening ceremonies at 11 in the morning in the Schottenhamel Tent.
3. Songkran in Thailand
Thailand is famous for its multitude of amazing festivals and celebrations, and Songkran certainly is a great excuse to travel to the “Land of Smiles.”
Commemorating the Thai New Year, the world’s largest water fight is a three day festival, but often Thais get swept up in the fun and continue throwing water for a whole week; this is a great way to beat the heat in Thailand’s summertime.
The wonderful city of Chiang Mai has a reputation for hosting the wildest water fights, but Songkran is celebrated in other Southeast Asian countries including Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos.
4. La Tomatina in Spain
Yet another festival in which you throw things at strangers, La Tomatina can never really disappoint if you’re looking to get really, really messy.
You’ll quickly be covered from head to toe in overripe tomatoes, and the fights happen right in the streets (so you’re never safe!)
The “world’s biggest food fight” is held on the last Wednesday of August in Bunol, a town close to Valencia in Spain. Being that the festival grew the size of the small town from 9,000 to 40-50,000 people, a ticketing system has been implemented that allows 20,000 lucky individuals to attend the festival.
Be sure to secure accommodation and tickets in advance, and don’t wear your favorite dress for this occasion!
5. Carneval in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro really knows how to celebrate, and host the “biggest parade in the world.”
Everywhere you look, you’ll see beautiful, colorful costumes, Samba dancers, and pure madness throughout the streets.
The infamous Copacabana beach hosts parties until dawn, so if you attend this event you may want to plan for staying up all night!
Carneval is held before Lent from Friday until Tuesday. Grab a costume and join the festivities!
USAC has programs in every one of these countries, so be sure to check out our website for more information about your study abroad options!
We also have an Instagram that has been listed on Buzzfeed as one of the “20 Study Abroad Instagrams You Need to Follow.”
Photo Credit: India