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Must See Festivals around the World

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From the Highlands to the Sepik River... this is where I had the fortunate experience of seeing a country & culture that rarely is seen by Western eyes. It took about 2 years in the planning to ensure my safety as this is not one of the most...
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Shiwar, Rajasthan 322704, India
The Holi Festival is also known as the festival of colors and is celebrated on a full moon at the end of February or beginning of March, which marks the end of winter. On the morning of the full moon people take to the streets ‘throwing paint’,...
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La Paz, Bolivia, Genaro Sanjines, La Paz Zona 10, Bolivia
Carnaval will be here soon, and Bolivian Carnaval has a slightly different flavor than what you'll find in Rio, Venice, or New Orleans. Each year schools of dancers take to the streets wearing the traditional costumes of the different departments...
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Lotificacion San Jose, Nejapa, El Salvador
Once a year on August 31st, the little town of Nejapa, just outside of San Salvador hosts the Fireball Festival (Bolas de Fuego). Started 90 years ago to commemerate the eruption of a nearby volcano, balls of cloth wrapped with wire are soaked in...
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Av. Domínguez Ruiz 300, San Jacinto, 29160 Chiapa de Corzo, Chis., Mexico
Chiapa de Corzo’s Fiesta de Los Parachicos is held every January, and is part of a month-long celebration known as Fiesta Grande. The Parachicos celebration has been named by UNESCO as an item of intangible cultural heritage and is often described...
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Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 226
If you’re logical, you might not make the trek to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. Depending upon where you live, this is a long way to go for just a few hours of visual splendor in the sky. The fact is that the highlight lasts no more than about...
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Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
My ideal habitat is a warm day on a tropical beach. I'm also a sucker for beauty in all its most unusual forms (part of the reason I'm on the Board of Burning Man). So, when I heard about the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival in northeast...
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Kampung Selayang Permai, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Landing in heat-soaked Kuala Lumpur after being on the road for 24 hours can be disorienting. Incessant chanting (“vei vel shakti vel”), monkeys screeching, wafting incense, a glorious moon, and a million people. Thaipusam falls on a full moon and...
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Konya, Turkey
Spiritual and sensual, ascetic and ecstatic, Rumi’s poetry has provided me an island of tranquility since my college years. Two of his quatrains, in particular, had a profound influence on my development as a young adult: For years, copying other...
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Sycamore Building, Sycamore Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland
A fanciful three-week celebration of the arts, Fringe has been an annual asylum for artistic oddballs since 1994. Nearly 650 productions— theater, dance, poetry, magic, outdoor installations—enliven venues all over Dublin. 353/(0) 1-670-6106....
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Nong Han, San Sai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of my favorite festivals in the world is the Loi Krathong / Yi Peng ‘festival of light’ in Thailand. Both occur at the same time and although differing slightly, both represent the cleansing of sins. Yi Peng takes place mainly in Chiang Mai in...
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Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
An annual event that sees over 40 of the city's notable landmarks dressed up with elaborate light displays. Brandenburger Tor, the Dom and more. This year the event runs from Oct 10 - 21, 2012.