A Guide to The Years Most Fascinating Festivals
Nepal is known around the world for hosting some of the best festivals. With Dashain, Tihar, and Holi dominating the calendar - the range of customs and traditions attract people from across the globe.
So, as our staff and students celebrate two of the country's biggest festivals, let's take a look at some of the other festivals that take place around the world throughout the year and the traditions that make them so unique.
January: The 'Fire Festival' - Scotland
‘Up-Helly Aa’, better known as the ‘Fire Festival’ is a celebration of fire that happens at the beginning of every year in Scotland. The tradition sees grown men dress up as Vikings and set things on fire, as they bring the island of St Ninian’s ablaze. A spectacle that brings all that visit back in time (or makes them feel like they are on the set of The Game of Thrones).
February: The Battle of Oranges - Italy
This is one of the world's biggest annual food fights. Taking place in Italy, the festival sees the locals of Ivrea recreate a revolt from 1194 by splitting into sides and having a battle with thousands of oranges. Imagine Holi but instead of colourful paint being thrown at you - it’s a hard orange. Takes food fighting to the next level.
March: Hair Freezing Contest - Canada
This festival really is as crazy as it sounds. Thousands of people each year go to Canada to fight for the crown by freezing their hair into weird and wonderful shapes (such as crowns) using only the freezing water and winds of Canada. You have to endure the cold water and hope that your hair doesn’t snap off - but it’s worth it for the win.
April: The Big Water Fight - Thailand
The annual Thai Songkran festival is undoubtedly the biggest water fight on the planet. In fact, it’s so big that the country shuts down for three whole days as every adult, child, and even elephant (yes, animals get involved too) soaks everyone in sight with buckets, water pistols, and trunks galore!
May: Cheese-Rolling - England
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival is one of the UK’s most bizarre. As the head of the festival rolls a wheel of cheese down the hill, the contestants must then chase it to the bottom - and whoever beats the cheese wins. However, the race is so dangerous that contestants have been known to die as they fight to win the title.
June: Baby Jumping Fiesta - Spain
If you thought chasing cheese was dangerous - how about jumping over babies? In Castillo de Murcia, Spain, babies are laid on blankets and people compete to jump over them. We’re can’t work out who would actually volunteer their babies for the process but we have been assured that none have ever been harmed in the process.
July: Underwater Music Festival - Florida
Ever sing when you are in the shower? Then this is the festival for you! For this unique music festival, participants must dress up in their best nautical themed fancy dress and wear their scuba gear as the music festival takes place entirely underwater. We’re not sure how anyone can actually hear the music - but it definitely looks fun.
August: Air Guitar Championships - Finland
Would you love to be a rockstar - but can’t actually play any instruments? Well, this festival might just solve all of your problems. Every year in Finland they hold The Air Guitar World Championships - where you can compete against others with air as your only instrument - all you need are some good acting skills!
September: Burning Man - Nevada, USA
For many, when they hear the word ‘festival’ they think of a ‘music festival’. Thousands of music festivals take place this month all around the world, hosting singers, DJs, and discos - and one of the most notorious is Burning Man. For this festival, a whole temporary city is erected in the middle of the Nevada desert. Expect crazy costumes, stunning structures, and a whole lot of fun.
October: The 'Matchmaking’ Fest - Ireland
Are you single and ready to mingle? Well, why not head to Lisdoonvarna in Ireland for the Matchmaking Festival. With speed dating, dances, and love experts galore - you are guaranteed to leave with a match! Taking place every year, thousands of couples are created as a result. The ultimate lovefest!
November: Pirate Week - The Cayman Islands
If you love fancy dress then you should visit the Cayman Islands for Pirate Week. Every year pirate ships take to the sea and everyone is encouraged to dress up, take part, and indulge in their wildest Pirates of the Caribbean fantasies. A real step back in time and a spectacle to watch even if you don’t take part.
December: Krampusnacht 'Anti Christmas' - Germany
We’ve all heard of Christmas, but what about the Anti-Christmas? In Germany, every year on the 5h December, they celebrate Krampusnacht - a festival that sees the locals dress up us as the terrifying ‘Krampus’, take to the streets, and give all the bad children lumps of coal to scare them into being good for the rest of the year.
So that’s it - some of the most fascinating festivals happening each month across the globe. We hope that everyone had a wonderful Dashain and wish you the very best for Tihar!
By Marney Ryan