Summer is here and we are going to celebrate it in our own style. We will not let summer remain one of the most boring seasons which only entails going to work, school or college; whatever may be your designated area of occupation at this very point of time. We intend to make summer interesting and for that we have something in store.
Summer in the US, in general, is moderate to very hot. While in the northern portion there are comfortably warm weather conditions available, in the southern parts of the United States of America (USA) are relatively hotter. Today, we are going to discuss a few intriguing festivals celebrated world over during summer and the significance behind those celebrations.
If you’re one of our travelers who belong from the US, you may be aware of the first one we are going to be discussing now. Let’s start close to home. Let’s start with a festival celebrated in Nevada-
BURNING MAN – BLACK ROCK DESERT, NEVADA
Which started on the whim of two natives, Larry Harvey and his buddy Jerry James in 1986, eventually became one of the weirdest and popular festivals in the country. Traditionally, a makeshift wooden figure is made and then burned to mark the beginning of the hot days on summer solstice. But the festival has achieved grandeur with time and has managed to attract an odd 70,000 people in 2017. The size of the doll in recent years had always been over 100-feet tall. The festival generally takes place on the last Sunday of August.
CARNIVAL – BRAZIL, RIO DE JANEIRO
This one may be a bit far from home (US) but it is considerably one of the biggest festivals celebrated across the world. The carnival of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro is widely considered as the ‘the greatest show on earth’. The festival has religious connotations. It is celebrate around the month of February and March preceding the Catholic season of Lent which comes 40 days ahead of the Easter celebrations. The festival which attracts at least 5 million viewers each year culminates with a profligate competition among 12 Samba schools which comes in colorful and creative costumes in hope to win a national level competition as well as cash prize.
LA TOMATINA – SPAIN
One of the more interesting festivals originating in Europe, La Tomatina in Spain has an interesting story of inception. Basically, the idea of the festival is that people gather and play with squashed tomatoes till the whole place is drenched in red. Legend has it that once upon a time some local unruly boys knocked down some street performers in stilts and some vegetables vendors were caught in the middle of it with their vegetable trolleys till local police came and interrupted the chaos.
There are very short and simple rules to be followed while playing at the Tomatina festival which are-make way for the trucks that brings the tomatoes in, squash the tomatoes well before throwing those at people so that no one gets hurt, and keep track of the starting and ending whistles. That’s it!
KING’S DAY – NETHERLANDS
Queen’s Day, which became King’s Day when the crown was passed down from Queen Beatrix of Netherlands to her son Willem-Alexander is presently celebrated on April 27 with all the pomp and grandeur that will shame the Brits in regards to their treatment of royalty.
On this day, the Dutch people dress up in orange and gulp down a few drinks without having a worry in the world, apparently. Previously, the day was celebrated on April 30 as Queen’s Day.
SONGKRAN – INDIA, CHINA, SOUTHEAST ASIA
Originated from a Sanskrit word ‘SONGRAN’ meaning ‘transformation’, the traditional New Year celebration is marked by different names in different cultures. Often times the festival marks the reaping festival when farmers accumulate their harvest and celebrate the time with family and close ones.
In Thailand, during the festival a day starts with pouring water over the statue of Buddha and offering food to monks in Buddhist temples. The gala known as Chiang Mai gets wilder as the day progresses where if you get out of your house, you’re sure to get soaked by one of the water balloons thrown at you from undetectable corners.
AOMORI NEBUTA MATSURI FESTIVAL – JAPAN
This is one remarkable festival in Japan where the laziness of summer days is celebrated shamelessly and with vigor. ‘Nabuta’ or ‘feeling sleepy’ attracts an odd 3.5 million tourists in Aomori during the time of August 2nd-7th. During this time huge wooden and paper floats were made along with street parades being taken out with drums, flutes and cymbals. Tourists and native alike are completely within their rights to be a part of the parade and the festivity, with one condition – you’ve to wear the traditional ‘haneto’ dancing costume. Sounds like a deal you’re in for? Book your tickets for Japan right away.
BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL – MANCHESTER, TENNESSEE
Bonnaroo festivals get numerous performers, campers and acres of scenic beauty at one place. More than 150 performances take place over the four days of the festival. Additionally, unlike some other famous music festivals, Bonnaroo sustainability initiatives involve environment-friendly efforts where $1 from every ticket goes to attempts to make the world a greener and a better place. The festival is an annual event which is held every June and was commemorated in 2002.
OUIDAH INTERNATIONAL VOODOO FESTIVAL – OUIDAH, BENIN
I have chosen the last one very carefully as this festival may be one of the most misunderstood festivals around the globe. Voodoo religion has a lot of superstition associated with it. The ironic part is the religion is not that different from Catholic religion, though Voodoo society is matriarchal as oppose to the patriarchal pattern of Catholicism.
The Ouidah International Voodoo Festival in Benin of West Africa is technically not a summer festival as it is held in January but it has got a place in this list because of its uniqueness. Apart from the slightly controversial animal sacrificing rituals there are also markets which sell wooden carvings, masks as well as women’s dresses as tokens of festivity. Because of its slightly controversial nature of the festival and the bad name of Voodoo religion in the West, you will not find a lot of white people in this festival. So if you’re a native of America and planning to attend this festival be a bit cautious of getting conned.