Looking to immerse yourself in diverse cultures this summer? Look no further than these five festivals that celebrate the richness and diversity of cultures around the world. From food to music, dance to art, these festivals are sure to leave you feeling inspired and connected to the world around you.
Glastonbury Festival – Pilton, England
For five days every June, the Glastonbury Festival takes over a farm in Somerset, England, and becomes the epicenter of the world’s music scene. The festival has been running since 1970 and is now one of the largest and most renowned music festivals in the world. The lineup is always eclectic and varied, with past performers including Adele, Coldplay, and Radiohead. In addition to music, the festival features a wide range of art installations, comedy performances, and cultural exhibits.
But Glastonbury isn’t just about the music – it’s also a hub for activism and social justice. In recent years, the festival has focused on issues like climate change and refugee rights, hosting talks and workshops on these topics throughout the event. So, not only can you enjoy incredible music and art, but you can also learn about important social and political issues and engage in meaningful conversations with other festival-goers.
2. Obon Festival - Japan
The Obon Festival, also known as the Festival of Souls, is a Japanese Buddhist festival that takes place in mid-August. During this time, it is believed that the spirits of ancestors return to the earthly realm to visit their loved ones. The festival is a time to honor and remember the dead, as well as to enjoy food, dance, and music.
The festival typically begins with the lighting of lanterns, which are meant to guide the spirits of the ancestors back to their homes. Bon Odori dances, which are traditional Japanese folk dances, are performed throughout the festival, and many people wear yukata, a casual form of kimono, during the festivities.
The Obon Festival is celebrated throughout Japan, but some of the best places to experience the festival are in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.
3. Bastille Day – Paris, France
July 14th marks the French national holiday, also known as Bastille Day. The holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution. To celebrate, Parisians take to the streets for a day-long party featuring parades, fireworks, and live music.
The biggest celebration takes place on the Champs-Élysées, where a military parade marches down the avenue before giving way to street performers, food vendors, and dancing. But the real highlight of the day is the fireworks show, which takes place at the Eiffel Tower and attracts thousands of spectators from around the world. So, if you want to celebrate freedom and revolution in style, head to Paris for Bastille Day.
4. Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, featuring over 50,000 performances across 300 venues throughout the Scottish capital. The festival takes place throughout August and showcases the best of comedy, theater, music, and dance from around the world.
The Fringe Festival is an excellent opportunity to discover new and emerging talent, as well as to see established artists in a more intimate setting. Performances range from one-person shows to large-scale productions, and there’s something for everyone, no matter what your interests are.
But the Fringe Festival isn’t just about the performances – it’s also a celebration of the city itself. During the festival, the streets of Edinburgh are transformed into a hub of creativity and excitement, with street performers, food vendors, and art installations lining the sidewalks.
5. Sziget Festival - Budapest, Hungary
The Sziget Festival is a week-long music festival that takes place on the island of Óbudai-sziget in the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. The festival has been running since 1993 and has grown to become one of the largest music festivals in Europe.
The lineup for the festival is always eclectic and features a mix of international and local artists, spanning a wide range of genres. In addition to music, the festival features art installations, workshops, and performances, as well as a wide range of food and drink vendors.
But the Sziget Festival isn't just about the music and art - it's also a celebration of community and togetherness. The festival has a strong environmental and social justice focus, with workshops and talks on topics like sustainability and human rights.
These five festivals are just a small sample of the many incredible cultural celebrations taking place around the world this summer. Whether you’re interested in music, art, or just experiencing new cultures, there’s something for everyone on this list.
So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable summer of exploration and discovery. Who knows – you may even discover your new favorite band, artist, or food while you’re out there!