Festival holidays – Colorful events around the world


From the Hindu festival of Holi in India to Madeirahere are some of the world’s most vibrant celebrations you can witness during the festival holiday.

Whether you are looking to celebrate a major event like the Japanese cherry blossoms (which only happens a few weeks a year), or go to a European city for a short stay at a wonderful festival of light – like Lyon’s Fête des Lumières – this holiday will add fun, color and unforgettable memories to your next getaway.

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Holi, India – March 9-10, 2020

The Hindu festival of Holi marks the arrival of spring, with bright bonfires lit on the eve of the festival to signify the victory of good over evil.

During the festivities, people cover themselves with colored powder, while lovers paint their faces in the same shade to celebrate Holi and the love between the deities Krishna and Radha – Krishna feared being rejected by Radha because of their different skin colors.

After inviting her to paint her face any color she wanted, the two fell in love!

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Festival of Lights, Lyon – December 5 to 8, 2019

Every December, artists from Lyon create magical light installations to illuminate the Renaissance facades, parks and squares of the city.

To win the trophy, artists compete on inspired creations, using geometry, imagination, satire and lots of color. Past installations include a child’s bedroom scene, in which actual statues appeared to be toy soldiers and vehicles resembled miniature cars against a giant illuminated Ferris wheel in Place Bellecour.

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Madeira Flower Festival – Spring 2020

Another lively festival celebrating the excitement of spring, the Madeira Flower Festival takes place in May when the flowers begin to bloom. Children dressed in beautiful floral costumes parade through the streets of Funchal, each carrying a flower to be placed on the “Wall of Hope” – made entirely of flowers.

Flower carpets and floats float down Avenida Arriaga and kiosks sell a range of bouquets, embroidery and traditional food and drink. It’s a day to celebrate nature and culture, and the multicolored parades make it a photographer’s dream.

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Hanami, Japan – Between March and May

The enchanting Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated across Japan as soon as the cherry and plum trees begin to bloom in spring. Families, friends and colleagues picnic under sheets of pastel-hued flowers, enjoying an artistic floral-themed bento box.

During the festival, a particularly popular treat are pink mochi desserts, sweet balls of rice dough wrapped in pickled cherry leaves. Hanami is said to date back over a thousand years, when aristocrats celebrated flowers with poetry and feasts in the temples of feudal lords.

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans – February 25, 2020

Mardi Gras is a time of mischief and burlesque and for this reason it has been banned many times over the years. Large parades are held daily, along with masked balls, as music, dancing and colorful costumes fill the streets.

Cross-dressing plays an important role in the big party where people of different colors, sexualities and professions can express themselves and revel in the weird and the wonderful.

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Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, UK – August 6-9, 2020

the largest in Europe annual hot air balloon meeting is a completely free festival, with punters traveling from all over to marvel at the balloons floating above Ashton Court, near the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Special events include trade booths, fairground rides and the launch of “special shaped” balloons. Favorites in this category include a Tesco cart-shaped balloon, a Rupert Bear imitation and even a Bertie Bassett mascot.

Some of the balloons even arrive from abroad for this spectacular fiesta and a highlight of the event is the Nightglow, when the balloons are inflated after dark, glowing and floating to a musical soundtrack.

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Chinese New Year, Hong Kong – January 25, 2020

Although celebrated differently throughout China and around the world, colorful decorations are a key part of any Lunar New Year celebration.

Red and gold are prominent: windows and doors are decorated with red paper cutouts and streamers, red panels painted in Chinese calligraphy adorn the doors, and money is offered in red paper envelopes.

Elaborate decorations are also made of plants and flowers – bamboo, sunflowers, narcissus and kumquats each symbolize something different. Perhaps the most iconic symbols of the festival are the brightly colored lanterns and the costumed dragon dance.

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Venice Carnival, Italy – February 8 to 25, 2020

We’ve all seen the intricately painted masks that tell us it’s carnival season in Venice. Alongside a series of masked balls, tourists can experience a party on the water with a floating parade of gondolas and entertainment projected onto the city walls.

Street performances include ‘Le Vol de l’Aigle’ and ‘Le Vol du Lion’ in which a dancer dressed as an eagle and a large canvas of the Lion of San Marco ‘fly’ up to the bell tower in a spectacular display of color on the audience in the square below.

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