Most Celebrated Festivals in the World 2023
Participating in a foreign country’s festivals is an excellent way to add a unique flavor to your travel experience. Whether it’s a cultural, religious, or traditional celebration, being a part of these festivities is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a different way of life. It’s a chance to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and create unforgettable memories.
Being a part of these celebrations also allows you to learn and appreciate different cultures and ways of life. You get to observe and experience customs, traditions, and rituals that may be unfamiliar to you, and gain a deeper understanding of the history and beliefs of the host country. Through this, you may gain new perspectives and insights that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.
Moreover, participating in a festival can be a transformative experience. It’s not just about the superficial excitement of watching colorful parades or tasting exotic foods; it’s about feeling the energy and spirit of the event and connecting with the people around you. You may find yourself swept up in the joy, enthusiasm, and sense of community that comes with these celebrations, and it can leave a lasting impression on your soul.
In summary, being a part of a foreign festival is not just a fun activity, but an opportunity to broaden your horizons, gain cultural knowledge, and connect with a different way of life. It’s an adventure that can touch your heart and transform you in ways you never thought possible.
In this article, we have listed the top 10 most celebrated festivals in the world as of 2023. Hence we suggest you to go through this article completely for detailed information about different festivals celebrated in the world.
Top 10 Most Celebrated Festivals in the World
Here is the list of the top 10 most celebrated festivals in the world for the year 2023:
Rio Carnival, Brazil
February 17 – 25, 2023
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
January 6 – February 21, 2023
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, China
January 5 – February 28, 2023
Carnival of Venice, Italy
February 4 – 21, 2023
Holi Festival, India
March 8, 2023
April 13 – 15, 2023
Burning Man, Nevada, US
August 28 – September 4, 2023
La Tomatina, Spain
Last Wednesday of August
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, US
1st and 2nd week of October 2023
Días de los Muertos, Mexico
November 1 – 2, 2023
1. Rio Carnival, Brazil (February 17 – 25, 2023)
Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, held annually in February, is the largest and most famous carnival in the world. The city is flooded with locals and visitors, all coming together to celebrate and indulge in an explosion of colour, music and dance before the start of the Catholic season of Lent.
The festival runs for several days, but the main events take place from February 23rd to 25th, with the highlight being the competition in the Sambodromo, a huge open-air stadium designed for samba parades. Over 70 samba schools compete, each with their own unique choreography, costumes and music. These schools are renowned for their hard work and preparation, with rehearsals starting months in advance. The parade itself is an extraordinary spectacle of vibrant colours, elaborate costumes, and impressive floats.
Another highlight of the Rio Carnival is the Baile Gay at the Scala, a masquerade ball where participants compete to wear the most extravagant and creative costumes.
Beyond the official events, Rio’s Carnival is famous for its street parties. These are spontaneous, free and open to everyone, with lively music, food, and dancing in the streets. The energy and excitement of these street parties are contagious, making it impossible not to join in the fun.
The entire city transforms during the Carnival, with decorations and performances in every corner. In addition to the Sambodromo and Scala, there are other venues that host events and parties, including bars, clubs and beaches. You can expect to see street performers, acrobats, and musicians, as well as taste delicious food and drinks.
The Rio Carnival is an incredible celebration of life, music, and culture, and an experience not to be missed for those who want to immerse themselves in the vibrant energy of Brazil.
2. Mardi Gras, New Orleans (January 6 – February 21, 2023)
Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is an annual carnival celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana. The festival usually begins on January 6th and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season in the Christian calendar. The festival has a rich history, dating back to the French colonial era in the 18th century.
The main event of Mardi Gras is the parade, which is organized by groups of revelers called “krewes.” These krewes, each with their unique themes and costumes, organize massive parades through the city streets, accompanied by lively music and dance performances. The parade route begins at Napoleon Avenue, and the krewes circle through the city’s neighborhoods, tossing beads, doubloons, and other trinkets to the spectators.
Apart from the parade, the festival is also renowned for its delicious food. A must-try is the King Cake, a sweet and colourful pastry traditionally eaten during the Mardi Gras season. Other local delicacies include jambalaya, gumbo, po’boy sandwiches, and beignets, which can be savored at the city’s numerous food stalls and restaurants.
During the Mardi Gras season, the city is transformed into a bustling hub of festivities and celebrations, with people dressed in colourful costumes, masks, and beads. The air is filled with excitement, and everyone is in a celebratory mood, irrespective of their age, gender, or background. So, if you’re planning to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, be prepared to be swept away by the city’s vibrant and energetic atmosphere.
3. Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, China (January 5 – February 28, 2023)
Experience the ultimate winter wonderland at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, a spectacular event that takes place annually in Harbin, China. This festival has earned the reputation of being the world’s largest ice and snow festival and is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves ice sculptures, snow sports, and unique winter experiences.
Despite the frigid temperatures that can drop as low as -25°C, visitors to the festival are captivated by the incredible ice sculptures that are carved by artists from around the world. These sculptures range from intricate replicas of iconic landmarks like St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square and the Sphinx to whimsical creations like dragons and mythical creatures. When illuminated with colourful lights, the sculptures transform the festival into a magical winter wonderland.
The festival is not just about admiring the sculptures; visitors can also partake in a range of winter activities. Skate on the frozen Songhua River, take a ride on a dog sled, or visit the ice bars where everything, from the furniture to the cups, is made of ice. The festival also features a range of snow sports and activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
It is worth noting that the festival’s dates are weather-dependent, and organizers may adjust them accordingly. Nevertheless, it usually runs from early January until the end of February, so be sure to check the dates before you plan your trip. So, bundle up and get ready to experience the thrill of this incredible winter wonderland.
4. Carnival of Venice, Italy (February 4 – 21, 2023)
The Carnival of Venice is an extraordinary event that occurs annually in February. During this time, the city of Venice is transformed into a magical place filled with masked performers, parades, dances, music, and mouth-watering delicacies. It’s a time when everyone dons a sweeping cape known as a tabarro and an elegant, extravagant mask.
The Carnival begins with the iconic ritual performance of Flight of the Angel, also known as Volo dell’Angelo, where a selected female acrobat, attached to a rope, descends from the top of the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica and lands in the middle of St. Mark’s Square. The atmosphere is mesmerizing, and it feels like an angel is blessing everyone with a great time.
The Venice Carnival caters to everyone’s preferences with various events to enjoy. There is traditional music in Campo San Tomà, a silent party with headphones in Campo Santa Margarita, and loud rock music in Piazza San Marco for those who want to go crazy. Moreover, the grand ball in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta is an excellent option for those who want to attend a masquerade ball in a Romeo and Juliet style.
Furthermore, the Carnival of Venice is not only about the festive atmosphere but also about the fashion. The masks and tabarros are not just for the parade, but they also create a sense of mystery and intrigue throughout the city. People dress in elaborate costumes, and the event is an opportunity to show off one’s creativity, fashion sense, and style.
The Venice Carnival is a unique event that everyone should experience at least once in their life. It’s a time to immerse oneself in a world of fantasy and enchantment, a time to be whoever you want to be and let your imagination run wild.
5. Holi Festival, India (March 8, 2023)
Holi Festival, also known as the Festival of Colours, is a lively celebration of the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. Although it originated in the Hindu religion, it is now celebrated by people of all backgrounds and religions across India. The festival usually lasts for two days, and each region of India has its unique way of celebrating it.
On the first day of Holi, people light bonfires to mark the occasion of Holika Dahan. This is a symbolic act of burning the evil demoness, Holika, who was defeated by the young Prahlad. The second day is when the real fun starts. People gather on the streets and throw brightly coloured powder, known as gulal, at each other. They dance to traditional folk music and enjoy delicious food and sweets.
Different parts of India have their unique ways of celebrating Holi. For example, in Vrindavan, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, people celebrate Holi by throwing flowers instead of colours. In Barsana, the women playfully beat the men with shields made of wooden sticks in a tradition known as Lathmar Holi.
Holi is not just a celebration of colours but also a time for people to come together and strengthen their relationships. People forgive each other, forget their past grievances and start anew. It is a time to spread love and happiness and enjoy the joys of life with family, friends, and neighbours. So, if you plan to visit India in March, don’t miss out on the chance to experience the vibrant Holi festival.
6. Songkran, Thailand (April 13 – 15, 2023)
Songkran is a delightful and joyous festival, celebrated annually in Thailand as a part of the Thai New Year. The festival is known for its friendly water fight, where people soak strangers with water, signifying the washing away of past sins and starting anew with good fortune. The festival takes place in April, which is one of the hottest months of the year in Thailand, and a little splash of cold water in the fun street parties can be refreshing and exciting.
The Silom Street in Bangkok is the epicentre of the festival, where locals and tourists gather to enjoy the water fights and street parties. However, the festivities are not limited to just Silom Street; various water play areas, party hubs and cultural sites all around Thailand, such as Phuket, Chang Mai, and Nong Khai, also participate in the festivities. Apart from the water fights, there are parades, cultural shows, and traditional performances, offering a glimpse into Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
In addition to the festivities, Songkran is also a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and participate in merit-making activities. Delicious Thai food, like Pad Thai and Tom Yum, is also a must-try during the festival. The vibrant energy and fun-filled atmosphere of Songkran make it a popular festival among locals and tourists alike, attracting people from all over the world to join in on the celebrations.
7. Burning Man, Nevada, US (August 28 – September 4, 2023)
Burning Man is a week-long festival that takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, where over 80,000 people come together to experience a unique celebration of art and self-expression. It’s more than just a festival; it’s a community of artists, makers, and dreamers who gather together to create a world of their own.
The festival is known for its art installations, which range from small, intricate sculptures to large-scale installations that span acres of desert. Visitors can climb, interact, and even live in many of the art pieces, which are designed to encourage exploration, connection, and creativity.
Burning Man is not just about the art, but also about the community. Participants are encouraged to give unconditionally and share what they have, be it food, water, or a hug. The community spirit is what sets this festival apart from others, and many people return year after year for the sense of belonging and connection.
At the center of the festival is the iconic burning of the “Man,” a towering wooden sculpture that is set ablaze on the final night of the festival. The spectacle is accompanied by fireworks and a grand celebration, marking the end of a week-long journey of self-expression, creativity, and connection.
Burning Man is not just a festival; it’s a transformative experience that encourages participants to push their limits and explore their creativity in a unique and unforgettable way. Whether you’re an artist, a dreamer, or just someone who wants to experience something new, Burning Man is a festival like no other.
8. La Tomatina, Spain (Last Wednesday of August)
La Tomatina is an exciting festival that takes place in Buñol, Valencia, Spain on the last Wednesday of August every year. The festival has its origins in a dispute between two young farmers in 1945, which escalated into a massive tomato fight in the main plaza of Buñol. The event was so much fun that the Spanish people decided to make it an official festival.
The festival starts at noon with a cannon blast, which signals the arrival of around 160 tons of over-ripe tomatoes that are delivered by trucks for the tomato fight. Participants then engage in a fun and messy battle, throwing tomatoes at each other until they are covered from head to toe in the juicy fruit. Interestingly, the festival also has a traditional aspect to it, where people use this opportunity to settle any grudges they may have against their neighbors in a respectful manner.
Despite the chaos and messiness of the tomato fight, it only lasts for about an hour. Once it is over, participants can head to the Buñol river to wash off the tomato pulp and seeds before heading back to their accommodation. The river is a popular spot for people to clean up, as it is much easier than trying to walk around town covered in tomato sauce.
La Tomatina is a one-of-a-kind festival that is filled with excitement and energy. It’s a unique opportunity to participate in a massive tomato fight and let loose with other festival-goers. And after the fight is over, you can enjoy the rest of the festivities, which often include music, dancing, and delicious food.
9. Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, US (1st and 2nd week of October 2023)
The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is an incredible event that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the first and second weeks of October every year. This festival has become one of the largest and most popular international events in the US, attracting visitors and media attention from all around the world.
The festival started with just ten balloons flying in the sky, but now it boasts nearly 500 balloons that participate in the event. The sight of so many colorful balloons rising up into the sky is truly breathtaking, and it’s no wonder that people come from far and wide to witness this spectacle.
The event begins with a few balloons taking flight to check the wind direction, and then the rest of the balloons launch into the sky in a spectacular parade. Visitors can enjoy watching the balloons flying overhead throughout the day, whether it’s during the beautiful morning dawn or at the magical dusk hours.
But the festival is not just about the balloons. There are plenty of festivities taking place on the ground, such as parties, great food, live music, and mesmerizing fireworks displays. Visitors can also meet the friendly hosts of the event, who are always happy to share the history and significance of the festival to the US culture.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is an incredible experience that you won’t want to miss. It’s a chance to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the balloons, while also enjoying the festive atmosphere and the hospitality of the people of New Mexico.
10. Días de los Muertos, Mexico (November 1 – 2, 2023)
The Días de Los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a unique and vibrant festival that takes place in Mexico City from November 1-2. This festival is a celebration of life and death, where Mexicans honour their deceased loved ones and believe that their spirits return to the world of the living to be reunited with their families.
One of the central aspects of this festival is the creation of ofrendas, which are small offerings of food, flowers, and other objects that are placed on an altar in honour of the deceased. These ofrendas can also include personal items and photographs of the loved ones being remembered. The colourful and ornate altars are often built in homes, public spaces, and graveyards, and they serve as a visual representation of the connection between the living and the dead.
Another unique aspect of the Días de Los Muertos festival is the creation of skeleton face masks. These masks are inspired by La Calavera Catrina, a famous figure in Mexican folklore who is depicted as an elegant skeleton wearing a hat and other fashionable accessories. The skeleton masks are often worn during the festival and are a playful way of acknowledging the reality of death and the fleeting nature of life.
During the festival, the streets of Mexico City come alive with vibrant decorations, street art, and performances. Many people take part in spiritual cleansing rituals, such as burning sage or copal, to purify their homes and honour their loved ones. The Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City, is transformed into a giant ofrenda, with enormous displays of flowers, candles, and other offerings.
The Días de Los Muertos festival is also a time to enjoy delicious Mexican food and drink. Many traditional dishes are prepared during this time, including tamales, mole, and pan de muerto (bread of the dead), which is a sweet bread decorated with skull and bone shapes.
The Días de Los Muertos festival is a unique and meaningful celebration that showcases the rich culture and traditions of Mexico. It is a time to remember and honour the loved ones who have passed away while embracing the beauty and fragility of life.
Which is the No 1 Famous Festival in the World?
Make sure to add these festivals to your calendar and make the most of your travels by immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions! One of the biggest and most famous festivals in the world is the Rio Carnival, which attracts visitors from all over the globe to Brazil. This festival has a rich history dating back to the 1650s when it was originally held to pay tribute to the God of grape harvest.
Over the years, the festival has evolved into a spectacular event with elaborate parades, colourful costumes, lively music, and dancing in the streets. It’s a time for locals and visitors alike to come together and celebrate life, culture, and tradition. The sheer size and energy of the festival are truly awe-inspiring, and it’s an experience that is sure to stay with you for a lifetime.
Participating in a festival like Rio Carnival allows you to experience a culture in a way that is impossible through any other means. You get to witness the local customs, interact with the people, and immerse yourself in the spirit of the festival. It’s an opportunity to break out of your comfort zone, try new things, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Famous Festivals in the World
Diwali: Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a Hindu festival celebrated worldwide, especially in India. It usually falls between October and November and celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
Oktoberfest: Held annually in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival celebrating beer and Bavarian culture. It usually starts in late September and ends in the first week of October.
Chinese New Year: Also known as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is celebrated in China and other parts of the world with large Chinese communities. It falls between January and February and is marked by dragon dances, fireworks, and feasting.
Day of the Dead: Celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries on November 1-2, the Day of the Dead is a holiday honoring deceased loved ones with food, music, and altars decorated with colorful skulls and marigolds.
Cherry Blossom Festival: The Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Hanami, is one of the most celebrated festivals in Japan, where people gather to admire the beauty of cherry blossom trees, also known as sakura. These trees bloom in soft shades of pink and white, covering the country in a mesmerizing sight for several weeks in spring
Running of the Bulls: The Running of the Bulls, or Encierro, is an annual event that takes place in Pamplona, Spain, from July 6th to 14th. During the festival, bulls are let loose in the streets, and participants run in front of them to test their bravery. The event is controversial due to the injuries and deaths that have occurred over the years, but it remains a popular tradition in Spain.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August in Edinburgh, Scotland. The festival features thousands of performances, including comedy, theater, dance, music, and more, from both established and emerging artists. The Fringe is an open-access festival, which means that anyone can apply to perform, and there is no selection process.
Glastonbury Festival: The Glastonbury Festival is a five-day music festival that takes place in Somerset, England, usually in late June. The festival was founded in 1970 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world. The lineup includes a mix of popular and up-and-coming musicians from a variety of genres, as well as comedians, circus performers, and other artists.
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