Everywhere around the world people love to celebrate and let their hair down at a crazy party. Whether its culture or food, religion or art these festivals are the best celebration of the past and feeling connected in the present with thousands of strangers. If you are looking for your next bucket list festival check out the list.
1. Carnaval - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the world's largest party, this event attracts nearly 5 million people every year for lively music and dance. The festival takes place in February or March, over the 5 day period preceding the Catholic season of Lent. This crazy and colorful event sees over 70 samba schools compete in the carnival parade wearing elaborate, creative costumes for a cash prize and national fame.
2. La Tomatina- Valencia, Spain
Known as the worlds biggest food fight, La Tomatina is one of the oldest festivals and also one of the messiest. The food festival is held on the last Wednesday in August every year in the town of Bunol. Thousands of people gather together and over one hundred metric-tons of over ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
3. Holi Festival- India
Known as the 'Festival of Color', this Hindu festival celebrates the end of winter and takes place between late February and mid March and lasts for one night. People fill water balloons and water guns and cover each other in an array of colorful powder. The festival welcomes everyone and is filled with music, dance, marching bands, food and drink.
4. Burning Man- Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Taking place on the last Sunday in August, Burning Man attracts a tight-knit community of misfits and bohemians. Not your usual festival, Burning Man is created entirely by its participants and a temporary city is created within the Black Rock Desert. Described as an experiment in community and art this unique event is unlike any other.
5. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival- Harbin, China
This one month long festival starts in early January and displays the largest ice sculptures in the world taking over the entire city. The two main exhibition areas are home to giant sculptures and illuminating full sized buildings made of ice. Other activities include alpine skiing, ice lantern exhibitions and for the more adventurous, swimming in the freezing lake waters.
6. Oktober Fest- Munich, Germany
Every September Wiesn park is filled with over 6 million people across two weeks celebrating the world largest folk and beer festival. Guests from all around the world dress in lederhosen or dirndl and participate in drinking, eating, music and dance. Along with the beer tents visitors can enjoy an abundance of amusement park rides, parades and other shows.
7. Tomorrowland- Boom, Belgium
One of the biggest music festivals in the world, Tomorrowland displays an array of electronic music, art and performance across 20 stages. Taking place over the last 2 weekends in July, each year presents a new theme with the best electronic music DJs.
8. Carnival of Venice- Venice, Italy
This traditional carnival dates back 900 years and takes place in the days leading up to Lent. This is one of the biggest celebrations in Italy with around 3 million attendees taking part in masquerade balls and parties. Entertainers, jugglers and bands also fill the streets and the canals are full of colorful boats.
9. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta- New Mexico, USA
This yearly festival takes place in early October and is the worlds largest hot air balloon festival. The event takes place over 9 days and sees around 750 colorful balloons throughout the sky. The balloons float above the city over the Sandia Mountains as dawn breaks each morning.
10 . Salon du Chocolat- Paris, France
The largest chocolate festival in the world takes place during the first week in November. The French festival features 200 chefs taking part in pastry and chocolate workshops, chocolate sculptures and even a chocolate fashion show.
You may be surprised how many seven wonders of the world lists you can find out there, from man-made to natural wonders, and from the ancient world to the modern. The first Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was created with only 7 wonders because the Greeks believed it represented perfection and plenty. Since it's original creation many other lists have been created and the original wonders have been revised over the centuries. In 2001 an initiative was started by a Swiss corporation to choose 7 New Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments. This took place over several years and in 2007 on the 7th day of the 7th month the new winners were announced, with 1 honorable mention.
Great Wall of China
Built between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century, the Great Wall of China is a stone-and-earth fortification created to protect the borders of the Chinese Empire from invading Monogols. With it's succession of multiple walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles makes it's the world's longest man-made structure. Apart from defense the other purpose of the Great Wall was border control allowing goods to be transported along the silk road and the control of immigration.
Christ the Redeemer Statue
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Since the 1930s this awe-inspiring art deco-style statue of Christ the Redeemer has been looking over Rio from upon Corcovado mountain. It was first suggested to place a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado in the mid 1850s to honor Princess Isabel of Brazil, however this project died out due to lack of support and it wasn't until the 1920s when it was brought back to life. This 130-foot concrete and soapstone statue, now has become an icon for Rio and also for Brazil.
This ancient city for the Inca's was unknown to everyone expect locals until 1911. Now it's one of the most popular Bucket List destinations and it's a site that can only be reached by foot, train or helicopter making it more of a journey to reach, but well worth it to see the Incan city of sparkling granite perched between two towering Andean peaks.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
A powerful city from 800 to 1200 for it's trading of cloth, slaves, honey and salt and also acting as the political and economic hub of the Mayan civilization. The most iconic ruin at the site is El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, which served as a temple to god Kukulkan, the Yucatec Maya Feathered Serpent deity. During Autumn and Spring the late afternoon sun strikes off the northwest corner of the pyramid and casts a series of shadows creating the illusion of a feathered serpent 'crawling' down the pyramid. This event has now become popular for visitors but whether this was intentional design or not is still a mystery.
The Roman Colosseum
This iconic symbol of Rome and Italy sat nearly 50,000 spectators, who gathered to watch the gladiators, as well as public spectacles, including battle reenactments, animal hunts and executions. While it was used for some 500 years, earthquakes and stone-robbers have left the Colosseum in a state of ruins, but portions of the structure remain open to tourists. Though it was design some 2,000 years ago it architecture still influences the constructions of modern-day amphitheaters.
Considered the most perfect specimen of Muslim art in Indian, while the white marble structure actually represents a number of architectural styles including Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Indian. The Taj Mahal was commissioned to house the tomb of Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Tai Mahal includes a mosque and a guest house, and as well as being set in formal gardens. Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years.
Petra was the capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV, and likely existed in its prime from 9 B.C. to A.D. 40. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra's proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub. The trading business gained the Nabataeans considerable revenue and Petra became of the focus of their wealth, drawing the envy of its neighbors. Petra's importance declined as sea trade routes emerged and earthquakes destroyed many of the structures.
Great Pyramid of Giza
An honorable mention goes to the largest and the oldest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex, The Great Pyramid of Giza. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10-20 year period and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Originally, the great Pyramid was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface, what is seen today is the underlying core structure.
One of the absolutely musts of any visit to Japan is seeing the breathtaking temples and shrines. Many you will find tucked around every corner of Kyoto, but throughout Japan there are many beautiful temples, each one special in either housing sacred objects or a place of worship. Check out the list of the some of the most stunning temples across Japan.
1. Kiyomizu-dera "Pure Water Temple"
Located on a hillside overlooking a valley and the city of Kyoto, this temple was built in honour of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, without a single nail in 778. The temple was also built around the Otowa Waterfall, and it is said that visitors who drink from the waterfall can get their wishes granted.
2. Kinkakuji Temple
Kinkakuji was originally built in 1397 as the home of a shogun, or military chief. With its gold-leaf facade and mesmerizing reflecting pool, the temple fits it's title of the Golden Pavilion. The gardens surrounding is then meant to represent an earthly paradise in contrast to the golden temple to illustrate the "harmony between heaven and earth."
3. Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji Temple is another Temple built in honour of the goddess Kannon and dates back to 645 making it Tokyo's oldest temple. Legend has it that two brothers repeatedly tried to return a statue of the goddess to the Sumida River, but each time the statue returned the next day and a temple was built in that location. The temple is at it's most beautiful at nighttime when illumination highlights its intricate architecture.
4. Meji Jingu Shrine
Among Tokyo's bustling streets and lofty skyscrapers is one of the major tourist attractions of the city, a idyllic and serene temple located right at the heart of the city. The shrine is surrounded by lush forest of evergreen trees, blocking out the sounds of the city and creating a quiet ambiance. Meiji Jingu Shrine is also famous for its exquisite architecture as well as its collection of exhibits that are believed to be the personal belongings of Empress Shoken and Emperor Meiju.
5. Todai-ji Temple
In Nara you will find the Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world which also houses the largest Buddha Statue in Japan. Constructed in 752 on the order of Emperor Shomu the Temple's Great Buddha Hall, houses Rushana Butsu, the "Cosmic Buddha." Many visitors also enjoy the friendly herds of deer that roam the site.
6. Sanjusangendo Temple
Formerly called Rengeoin Temple, this temple is unique for the sheer number of religious statues it contains. The Great Hall houses 1,001 "life-sized" images of the goddess Kannon. The temple name literally means "Hall with thirty three spaces between columns," describing the architecture of the long main hall of the temple.
7. Kotoku-in Temple
The Kotoku-in Temple serves as a home to the world famous Kamakura Daibutsu, a towering bronze statue of Buddha. This monumental statue is more than 40 feet in height, and dates back to the year 1252. It was originally enshrined inside a temple hall, but the building was washed away by a tsunami in 1498. This cultural icon is now a national treasure and has been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Kotohiragu Shire
Perched on Mount Zozu, the Kotohiragu Shrine can be a challenging temple to reach with over 700 granite steps. Yet it still draws a cluster of tourists every day, who want to experience the tranquil setting as well as take pictures of its exquisite architectural that showcases a unique blend of Buddhist and Shinto elements.
9. Toshogu Shrine
Set in a verdant forest, the Toshogu Shrine is a lavish complex that is made up of over a dozen beautiful buildings. Here you get to feast your eyes on charming wood carvings and a collection of Buddhist and Shinto decorations.
10. Ninja Temple
Built during the Edo Period by the Maeda rulers and lords, the Myoryuji Temple is an intriguing and fascinating temple you cannot afford to miss during your trip to Japan. Although the temple is not associated with ninjas and assassins, it earned the moniker "Ninja Temple" due to its secret chambers, traps, trick doors, hidden stairways and other deceptive defenses.
Tokyo is known for it's unusual mix of historic and ultra modern but also they have a flare for the quirky and unique. Peppered across the streets of Tokyo you will find some of the most unique and unusual themed cafes & restaurants, from mega cutesy to somewhat more spooky options, check out this list of some of the most unique ones you can discover.
Kawaii Monster Cafe
This cafe is all about the 'kawaii' culture of Harajuku with girls dressed up in the most eccentric outfits you've ever seen, in a wild and colorful setting. With bright, intense colours everywhere as well as some of the dishes, there's no way anyone can be unhappy in a place as wild and fantastical as this.
Swallowtail Butler Cafe
You may of heard of the Maid Cafe's before but at this one you will find the opposite, a Butler Cafe. It's a Victorian-inspired Cafe complete with dapper butlers. Tucked away underneath a bookstore in Ikebukuro here you will receive the royal treatment but make sure to pre-reserve your seats so you won't be disappointed.
Alice in Fantasy Book
This cafe embodies the whole concept of the story, Alice in Wonderland, from the interior to the dishes and desserts, with the classic eat me tags, heart sharp plates, and flowers everywhere. A meal here will sure to feel like you have step right into the pages of the book.
One of the most popular attractions in Tokyo is the wild and wacky, sci-fi inspired, Robot Restaurant. Having a meal here is an out-of-this-world experience with live shows of crazy giant robots, beautiful girls in wild outfits and neon lights everywhere, complete with full-blown theatrics, this is the place to visit for a taste of Japan's unique pop culture.
Zauo Fishing Restaurant
This restaurant is completely unique as you literally have to fish from an indoor river for your dinner. Once you've caught your fish, or if you are lucky a lobster, you are then can hand off your meal to the chefs, say how you would like it and climb aboard one of the big wooden boats in the center to eat it.
If you are craving something more spooky for your dining experience then this haunted, prison-themed restaurant is the one. After navitaging the maze in the dark with all it’s jump scare you will find yourself in a waiting area where one person in your group will be handcuffed before being locked in your cell for 2 hours. You will also find the menu fits the theme and includes some of the wildest dishes and drinks you can think of.
This ninja-themed restaurant is exactly what you imagine with the waiters dressed up like ninjas popping out with menus and meals. The restaurant is set within a labyrinth of wooden corridors reminiscent of the interior of a primeval Japanese castle, complete with treasure chests and disintegrating bridges.
In a dark candlelit setting you will find this gothic, vampire-themed restaurant complete with menus shaped like caskets, waiters dressed like draculas, and even a coffin in the middle of the restaurant. While you sink your teeth into your vampire-themed meal soak in the eerie atmosphere of this vampire lair with it’s blood-stained floors, vampires, severed body parts, and blood-red velvet curtains
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory
Fans of My Neighbour Totoro will love this cozy bakery café that is specially dedicated to the Studio Ghibli animated fantasy film. Everything at that café is Totoro-themed with signs and rustic decorations to biscuits shaped like him as well as the famous cream puffs (see picture above).
Peter Rabbit Garden Café
This café would be more fitted for the English country side but it’s country-kitschy café is bound to wow you from the moment you arrive, with all their décor and food matching the Peter Rabbit theme. And if you are dining alone a plushy Peter Rabbit will be your dining companion while you nibble away on a delicious cheese bun.
In 2014 a new public holiday was added to Japan's calendar after lobbying from the Japanese Alpine Club and other mountain-related groups to create Mountain Day which was first celebrated in 2016. With over 73% of Japan's terrain being mountainous, Mountain Day comes as no surprise to Japan, as they have a chance to give thanks to the blessings of the mountains. The objective of the day is the opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate the beautiful nature that surrounds you.
Before Mountain Day was officially a National Holiday it was already celebrated on 11th August in various places across Japan. The date was apparently chosen because the eighth month is denoted by the kanji ‘八' which resembles a mountain, and '11' - which resembles two trees. It was also picked for August as there are no other public holidays which would break up the working year and give people time to enjoy the mountains.
Mountain Day may sound unique to Japan but there are two other Mountain Days worldwide, one is a Student celebration in the U.S. where lessons are cancelled without prior warning and students head to the mountains for the day, as well as the International Mountain Day on 11th December, which was created by the United Nationals General Assembly to encourage sustainable development in mountains. But Japan may be the only ones where Mountain Day has now become a Nation Wide Public Holiday.
With Mountain Day being so new to Japan, there isn't at yet any established customs to honour this day. Although it's obviously is meant for a time to appreciate and experience nature so many people will be taking time to explore their local mountains by hiking, walking or climbing. Still some will be more concerned with just taking a break as it is a public holidays and some time off work is always appreciated.
This newest public holiday has also expanded on Japan now 16 annual national holidays, with may sound like a lot but with Japan's workaholic culture they need it. They also has a problem with people working excessive hours and not claiming all the leave they are owed. A lot of Japanese become overworked and need to almost to be forced to take that much deserved break and public holidays encourage people to take longer vacations.