Festivals Around the World
Stuck for ideas on where to go next? Find inspiration in our month-by-month guide to epic events across the globe in 2019...
January: Sydney Festival
When: 9th - 27th
Where: Sydney, Australia
Sydney has played host to this buzzing celebration of art, music, theatre and dance since 1977. Events take place across the city centre, from Hyde Park to the Opera House, and the inspiring schedule includes a special showcase of artists from Indigenous communities.
February: Chiang Mai Flower Festival
When: 1st - 3rd
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
This visual feast has been running for more than 40 years, and Thailand’s colourful reputation shines bright – you’ll get a real taste of local culture in all its exotic vibrancy. As well as glorious flower arrangements in Suan Buak Haad gardens, you’ll see a parade and the crowning of ‘Miss Chiang Mai Flower’.
March: Trinidad Carnival
When: 4th - 5th
Where: Trinidad & Tobago
Though it’s one of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, Trinidad still manages to pack a punch with its yearly carnival. Grab yourself a pot of pelau – a carnival favourite of rice, meat, pigeon peas and coconut milk – and soak up the atmosphere as the sun blazes, music pumps and buoyant locals fill you with good vibes. Calypso and soca plays all day, as the streets are filled with masses of flamboyant dancers in dazzling outfits. One of the Caribbean’s best-loved carnivals, this is an unabashed celebration of life, love and music.
April: Cherry blossom picnics
When: various dates
Known as sakura to locals, Japanese cherry blossom trees attract endless admirers every year. As spring arrives, a favourite way to enjoy these bright-pink marvels is to arrange a picnic (hanami) under the trees. Head to Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen garden for incredible views.
May: Lantern Floating Ceremony
Where: Oahu, Hawaii, USA
Held annually, this emotive event celebrates those we have lost. Try fish delicacy poke as you take in water rituals, hula dancing and conch players, then look on as lanterns are sent out to sea…
June: Dragon Boat Carnival
When: 14th - 16th
Where: Hong Kong
A yearly event that is said to have originated 2,000 years ago, this jaw-dropping extravaganza juxtaposes ancient and 21st-century elements of Chinese culture, as traditional dragon boats race around Victoria Harbour under the bright lights of its ultra-modern high-rise skyline. And with street entertainers on every corner, there’s a real festival atmosphere.
July: Calgary Stampede
When: 5th - 14th
Where: Alberta, Canada
Steeped in true cowboy tradition, the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ boasts huge parades, concerts, rodeo shows and wagon racing!
August: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
When: 2nd - 11th
Where: South Dakota, USA
The riding season goes full throttle when more than 500,000 bikers from across the globe descend on the Black Hills of Dakota. Rock bands entertain riders and local food vendors take part in the ‘street food throw down’.
September: Rugby World Cup
When: 20th September - 2nd November
For the first time in its 32-year history, the Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan. And with the country home to some awesome sporting stadiums, it’s bound to raise the bar for Rugby World Cup celebrations. Expect plenty of local traditions incorporated into the festivities, creating a wonderfully memorable once-in-a-lifetime event. The icing on the cake? Rugby crowds are said to be the friendliest and most sociable of all sports!
October: Day of the Dead
When: 31st October - 2nd November
Honour the dead and guide them through the spiritual realm at this vivid, vibrant festival – now world-famous thanks to its strong visual identity. The whole nation joins in the revelry, the streets fill with music and colour, and thousands pay their respects at specially constructed public altars.
November: Formula 1 Grand Prix
When: 28th November - 1st December
Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE
A mammoth venue, the uber-modern Yas Marina Circuit attracts some of the world’s most famous faces. Join the crowd and watch Formula 1’s elite drivers battle for the top spot on the podium.
December: Christmas City
When: until early January
Where: Gothenburg, Sweden
Here, the snow-covered streets come straight out of a festive fairy tale. Add row upon row of fairy lights, traditional wooden stalls and one of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets, and you’re in Yuletide heaven. Tuck into local treats, from cinnamon buns to pickled herring.