Ideal for providing a little escapism in this drabbest of months.
Granted, there’s little cause for celebration or festivities at the moment. Aside from a steady stream of Netflix Originals and a fast-dwindling supply of leftover Christmas treats, lockdown has deflated us faster than a burst li-lo.
But we won’t let the current, seemingly infinite downtime dampen our spirits completely. With several vaccines rolling out across the world, the time will soon come to celebrate something – anything – once again, and we can’t wait!
From creative carnivals to extravagant events, each nation has its own unique way of letting their hair down. With a sense of indulgence existing purely in the imagination for now, here are 6 fantastically fun festivals from around the world, IDEAL for providing a little escapism in this drabbest of months.
LA TOMATINA, SPAIN
Its name might ring bells with even the most inexperienced linguist, but unless you’ve seen it for yourself, its true meaning is likely to take you by surprise.
One of Spain’s most out-there annual festivals, La Tomatina generally occurs around the last week of August, and consists of a street fight during which participants pelt one another with tomatoes. We love it!
This time-honoured tradition has been going on since 1945, and is one of Valencia’s most popular and bizarre events. Though it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, its indomitable spirit is not to be, er, squashed, and if you haven’t heard about this festival, then you’d better ketchup!
ANNUAL POLO SCOTLAND WEEKEND, UK
You read that right. Every year Scotland plays host to an annual Polo Weekend, organised by Randox Laboratories and consisting of a bright and brilliant celebration of luxury, excitement and, well, polo! No, not the famous, donut-shaped mints, silly…but the sport!
Additional activities range from piano recitals to sky diving, making this one of the most unpredictable festivals around. Well, in the UK, anyway. If you’re keen to pore over some pictures, curious parties can take a look at some of what goes on via SNS Group, the official event photographer.
ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL, UNITED STATES
Another superbly convivial and colourful event, Albuquerque International Balloon Festival takes place across nine days in October and sees around 600 hot air balloons each year lining the sky. It’s one serious sight to behold!
Though this dynamic display comprises the main event, the festival is accompanied by a range of other captivating activities from rodeos to chainsaw carving, and as you’d expect from a city located deep in the deserts of New Mexico, there’s plenty of fantastic food, including chilli cook-offs, taco towers and some brilliant, ‘low’n’slow’ barbeque joints.
Surreal and dreamy, this fabulous week feels like a fantasy and will let your imagination run wild.
BORYEONG MUD FESTIVAL, SOUTH KOREA
If you thought it couldn’t get messier than tomato-throwing, you’re wrong. This famed South Korean festival has taken place every year since 1998 and attracts around 2 million annual visitors to the town of Boryeong.
It began as a promotional exercise for a range of cosmetics which were produced using mud from Boryeong. It is claimed the mud has certain naturally occurring minerals which are good for the skin, and judging from the eagerness of locals to get themselves covered in it, they might just be telling the truth!
This spectacularly beautiful and colourful event is a two-day Hindu festival that originates in India. On the first day, those celebrating gather around a bonfire and celebrate good triumphing over evil. Then, on the second day, perfumed powder called gulal and water is thrown. Holi is all also known as the “festival of spring”, the “festival of colours”, and the “festival of love”. We think all three titles are apt.
HARBIN ICE & SNOW SCULPTURE FESTIVAL, CHINA
Though a festival of ice and snow might not sound the most appealing event when the British winter weather is doing its thing outside, the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture festival isn’t to be missed. If you’re seeking escapism, then this event is full of fantasy, frivolity and a fair amount of artistic elegance, too.
Rather than go on, we’ll point you in the direction of this handy guide to the festival here. Do check it out!