Mardi Gras has come and gone, with Carnival revelers celebrating the world over, even if festivities were cut short in Venice. There’s a whole host of other festivals that traditionally go on throughout the year, with rich pageantry, tradition and color. While we should follow health officials’ guidance on gathering in crowds for now, we can fantasize about our favorite festivals and getting back out there when life returns to normal.
The Hindu festival of colors has been around for more than 2,000 years. The latest edition took place last week, and it’s a national holiday in India and Nepal. Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and on the eve of the festival, people burn large pyres signifying the driving away of evil spirits. The next day, they splash each other with water, toss water balloons and colored powder at each other. The day ends with a family meal, with people delivering treats to friends and neighbors.
Montreux Jazz Festival
Each July on the shores of Lake Geneva, people gather for two weeks to see and hear artists from many genres in a spectacular setting. Since 1967, the festival has attracted legendary performers to the beauty of Switzerland. This year’s festival is slated to see Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes opening for Lionel Richie, with new soul sensation Black Pumas introducing Lenny Kravitz. The festival’s artists foundation nurtures the careers of up-and-coming musicians, with workshops showcasing them and awards honoring them.
International Tango Festival
August sees thousands of dancers and spectators gather in Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango, to dance their tails off and crown world champions. There are free concerts and classes for newcomers. For more experienced couples looking to prove their mettle against the best, there is a world cup dance-off. There are competitions in tango salon, where dancers don’t know what the music will be until it starts playing, and escenario, a choreographed tango.
Burning Man has grown from a small summer solstice gathering on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986 to a full-fledged temporary city that springs up every summer in the Nevada desert. The experience is built around 10 principles: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy. Though an entire community complete with arts festival creates Black Rock City for a week, burners clean up after themselves on their way out. The eponymous burning wood structure in the shape of a man has reached more than 100 feet high in years past.
Up Helly Aa
Scotland’s Shetland Islands, in the North Sea and very much in touch with their Viking roots, celebrate a fire festival to mark midwinter and the end of the Yule season. Revelers set ablaze a Viking longship in full Viking regalia. Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa, the originator of what has become 12 festivals, takes place on the last Tuesday of January. A thousand men parade through the streets. The lead group, the Jarl Squad, dress as Vikings, while the other squads wear all manner of costumes. The Jarl arrives at the helm of the longship, complete with dragon’s head prow, before stepping off amid explosions overhead as squad members known as guizers toss their torches and the galley lights up.
At Roux Luxury Travel, we help our clients create unforgettable journeys through the most beautiful and interesting regions of the world. Our affiliation with Virtuoso, an invitation-only network of the world's best travel advisors, allows us to offer you experiences that you won't find anywhere else.
Roux Luxury Travel is an independent affiliate of Largay Travel, Member of Virtuoso.