Bucket List These Festivals
Its doesn’t matter where you go in the world, there is one thing that brings all kinds of people together, and that’s a good party. Whether it’s music, magic, beer or self-expression, there is an event happening somewhere that will put a sparkle in your eye, capture your soul and exceed your expectations. As a someone who loves to meet new people and have new experiences, I have compiled a “bucket list” of my top 5 events that I hope to attend in the near future.
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
2015 marks the 205th year of the world’s largest festival. Oktoberfest (or die Wieser) is a 16-18 day party that attracts over 6 million people from all over the world. Historically, it was a one day event that began when Crowne Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. The prince invited all the citizens of Munich to attend the wedding and everyone had such a great time that they decided to make it a yearly event. Over the decades it transformed into a two week festival and shifted its focus from horse races to carnival rides, live music and, of course, drinking beer. The beer at Oktoberfest can be slightly dangerous to even the most seasoned drinker. It is brewed by Munich’s finest breweries specifically for the event and is about 1.3% stronger than your average beer. But it’s not all about the suds, there are over 100 restaurants and stands serving authentic Bavarian food. Mouth watering rotisserie chicken, schnitzel, fish on a stick and warm pretzels are always within arms reach. The mixture of large rowdy tents and smaller tents with a more relaxed vibe make it easy for you to find the Oktoberfest experience you are looking for. It’s quite a sight to see so many people dressed up in traditional garb and you don’t want to feel left out, so make sure you don your drinndls and lederhusen and make your way to Munich for the best time of your life. Prost!
Glastonbury – Pilton, England
1200 acres at Worthy Farm in Pilton, England is host to the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Every year, 175 000 people, some in silly outfits, make their way to this huge pop-up tented city under the British sky. The five-day festival was inspired in 1970 by the spirit of the hippie, counter culture and free festival movement. The first festival was attended by 1500 people and today it sells out in a matter of minutes. In its 24 years, the festival has seen a plethora of talent including Elvis Costello, The Who, Van Morrison, Flamming Lips, Neil Younge, Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths and even the English National Opera. There are approximately 20 stages that highlight the different attractions so you are guaranteed to find an area that will provide you with the experience you desire. Your time spent at Glatonbury will undoubtedly be the muddiest time of your life. Keeping with British stereotypes, it is most certainly going to rain, so make sure you and your mates grab your wellies and appropriate gear because queuing for the showers is not how you want to spend your precious festival time.
Holi Festival – Nepal, India
At the end of winter, on the last full moon day of the lunar month, Hindu’s all across the world celebrate the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. The festival is primarily observed in Nepal, India and is kicked-off with a Holika bonfire where evil spirits and demons are burned. The legend from which the tradition of playing with colours started goes, that the Indian god Lord Krishna was jealous of his soul mate Radha’s fair complexion and in an effort to change this he applied colour to her face. To this day all application of colours has, in a way, been an expression of love. The day after the bonfire is a party of pure enjoyment. People go all out playing, chasing, and colouring each other with dry powder and couloured water. Anyone is fair game, man or woman, friend or stranger, rich or poor. There is no distinction between caste, class, age or gender and that is why I think the Holi festival is such a magical experience. The playful romp and fight with colours takes place in parks, streets, outside temples and building. The cheerful mood of all participants is intoxicating and the tradition of consuming bhang (an ingredient made from cannabis leaves) escalates the level of enthusiasm. People gather, sing songs at a high pitch, dance and play practical jokes on one another. The rule of the day is, “Bura na mano Holi hai” which means “please don’t take any offence for it is Holi!”
Significance of the different colours:
- Red- Purity
- Green – Vitality
- Blue – Calm and Sedateness
- Yellow – Pious Feeling
Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest and most famous festival in the world. Celebrations take place in every corner of Brazil and are guaranteed to overwhelm your senses with a wild brilliance. The first festival dates back to 1723 and started with the idea of everyone getting soaking wet. People would go out in to the streets with buckets of water and limes looking for potential victims. The festival has developed over the centuries and now consists of vibrancy and excess. Rio Carnival officially starts on Friday and finishes on Fat Tuesday with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday after which you are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures. The 5-day celebration could be explained as an act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh before the six-week religious observance where Christian denominations focus on reflection, prayer and fasting. Every aspect of Carnival is meant to provide entertainment and show the world the true culture of Brazil. It is a euphoric event that attracts over 2 million people to the streets of Rio every day where you can have an overdose of fun, singing, dancing, partying, enjoying parades and watching people in elaborate and scantily clad costumes gyrate to the Samba bands. Magic, culture and passion will take over your body and soul in the brilliant Brazilian capital of Carnival.
Burning Man – Nevada, USA
An event described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance, Burning Man is a week-long annual event that began in Bakers Beach, San Francisco in 1986, migrating to the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada when it currently resides. The event got its name when a 9-foot wooden man and his wooden dog were burned as a spontaneous act of self-expression by founders Larry Harvey and Jerry James during summer solstice. Today, over 67 000 people come together in a utopian experiment that challenges conformity and encourages self-expression initiated by the festival founders. If you want to feel apart of a community than this is most certainly the place for you. The Burning Man event is guided by 10 principals that have shaped its past, present and future; radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-expression, radical self-reliance, communal efforts, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediancy. It is the kind of place where anything and everything is possible and you are expected to step outside social norms and access your independent spirit. Burning man is a place to fly free which is a huge draw to the wonderlust spirit inside of me.
Everyone is looking for that once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers something unique. What makes it or breaks it is you. Too much planning and over-analyzing can make for a strict schedule that doesn’t allow for the organic components of the culture and people to wash over you. My advise is to let go and ignore the ordinary.
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