One of the most interesting aspects of travelling to foreign countries is to be able to experience what different cultures have to offer. Certain events and gatherings are able to provide us with a broader understanding of the world and we can take these memories with us when we finally return home. There is perhaps no better way to enjoy such an experience than by attending various festivals while abroad. Let us look at a handful of the most interesting and iconic celebrations that are not to be missed.
This annual festival is held every year in Barcelona, Spain. La Mercè has actually existed for hundreds of years. It is meant to honour Mare de Deu de la Mercè; the patron saint of the city. Due to the celebratory nature of the citizens here, this is as much of a street party as it is a religious gathering. Le Mercè lasts for five days and during this time, there are numerous live shows and musical events to enjoy. Visiting well-known sites such as La Sagrada Familia and the Barcelona Cathedral can help to further punctuate this stunning gathering.
Photo by Dbascones via Wikimedia
Fans of fine food and spirits should never pass up a chance to miss Oktoberfest. However, this beer-related gathering honours much more than a few pints of ale. It is a unique window into the traditional lives of the German people. As a testament to its popularity, it is estimated that nearly 6 million people frequented the Munich Oktoberfest in 2015. Local foods, parades, carnivals and (of course) beer are some of the highlights of this unforgettable festival. Although Oktoberfest is traditionally held in Munich, there are many other cities in Germany which celebrate this event during the early autumn each year.
The Rio Carnival
Rio de Janeiro may very well be considered the birthplace of the carnival, and for good reason. This annual event eclipses nearly every other carnival on the planet. Millions of locals and tourists alike line the streets and observe the colourful floats as they pass by. However, the Rio Carnival can also be thought of as a hands-on experience. Guests can participate in the dances while sampling delectable Brazilian foods.
While New Orleans is known for its French Quarter and a rich history in Jazz, there is no doubt that the annual Mardi Gras celebration is certainly its most famous event. Mardi Gras is always held on the first day of Lent (the day immediately before Ash Wednesday). Wild processions that last long into the night, numerous parade floats, live music and dancing are only a few of the activities to be enjoyed.
These are some of the most stunning and unique festivals that the world has to offer. By planning ahead, such amazing experiences are much more of a reality than you may think!