By Divya Kamboj
Below I have provided a list of top 4 festivals of the world- How & when they are celebrated:
• Mardi Gras, USA
While Mardi Gras in the United States is not observed nationally across the country, a number of cities and regions in the U.S. have notable Carnival celebrations, because of the French, Spanish, and other colonial influences over their history. This festival is celebrated early January in New Orleans, Louisiana, Northern U.S.A. This famous two-week festival features parades headed by ‘Kings’ and ‘Queens’. Thousands of tourists annually flood the occasion, which is considered as “the biggest free party on earth”.
When people actually gather in such an event & become a part of it, they realize that how much fun it is to mingle with other cultures, especially when you have some U.S. based friends or colleagues. It seems to be more fascinating for people who love to dance & wish to enjoy endlessly.
The entire city loosens its reins, and douses itself with endless strings of beads, colorful floats and costumes to celebrate the naughtiest time of year that too coupled with wintery snow. Floats of all sizes roll through the streets in spectacular parades for two weeks prior to Mardi Gras. Endymion (Saturday), Bacchus (Sunday), Orpheus (Monday), Zulu (Tuesday morning) and Rex (Tuesday night) are the most famous of the parades, drawing rowdy attendees to partake in song and dance free of inhibition.
So the real purpose to join Mardi Gras would be to experience a different culture which is also worth experiencing.
• II PALIO, ITALY
The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. The people crazy of watching horse races must try to be a part of this occasion. In the Palio the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo.
Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen city wards.
• The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena.
• The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.
A pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.
The race is run (3 laps) in a clockwise direction around the piazza on the clay “track” that is layed down in the campo for the race. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the dicey turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is usual to see some horses finishing the race without their jock.
Originally, there were about fifty-nine “Contrade”, now only seventeenare left, ten of which take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots).
• LA TOMATINA, SPAIN
La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ purely for fun where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Almost all of us must be familiar with this festival after its appearance in our Bollywood movie “Zindagi Na Melegi Dobara”…Am I right??
At around 10 AM, festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the “palo jabón”, similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham(back of the thigh) on top. As this happens, the crowd works into a frenzy of singing and dancing and gets showered in water. Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given by firing the water shot in the air and trucks make their entry. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins. Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste. After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely.
• DIWALI, INDIA.
Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya – the 15th day of the dark fortnight of October/November every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even to-day in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of India. This five-day festival (also known as Deepavaali or Festival of Lights), which unites all creeds and religions, sees homes all over India lit with lamps and candles.
This festival commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. The myths around Rama and Ravana are told during another holiday, known as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
If you’re visiting India during Diwali, you may be wondering how to celebrate it. Sure, there are a lot of fireworks and crackers, but there’s actually so much more to Diwali than what meets the eye! You might be surprised to learn that Diwali is more of a family festival than a public one.
DIWALI IN JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN
Much of the beauty of Diwali comes from the warm glow of lights and lamps which adorn streets, homes, and shops. One of the best places to experience this is in the “pink city” of Jaipur, in Rajasthan, where not just buildings but whole markets are illuminated. Each year, there’s a competition for the best decorated and most brilliantly lit up market, and the government foots the electricity bill. It’s a dazzling display that attracts visitors from all over India.
DIWALI IN GOA
In Goa, the focus of Diwali celebrations is on the destruction of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. Competitions are held in every village and city to see who can make the biggest and scariest effigy of the demon. Some are really huge! They’re burned at dawn on Narakasura Chaturdashi, the day before the main day of Diwali. As gambling is also a popular activity during Diwali, you might want to try your luck at one of Goa’s top casinos as well.
DIWALI IN VARANASI
Varanasi is a crazy place at any time of year, but it becomes even more so during Diwali with a constant stream of firecrackers and fireworks going off all night long. For the best experience, make sure you stay at one of the riverside hotels in Varanasi, so you have a fabulous view of the fireworks over the Ganges. Other highlights are the special Ganga Aarti, ghats illuminated with candles, diyas (earthen lamps) that are floated down the river, and procession of Hindu deities through the streets.
DIWALI IN AMRITSAR, PUNJAB
You may be surprised to learn that although Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple, is predominated by Sikhs, Diwali is celebrated in a grand way there too. The occasion has been incorporated into the Sikh religion and is particularly significant because it also marks the return from prison of the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib, in 1619.