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Late Summer Festivals Around The World
Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean all fun has to come to an end. Here’s a list of the world’s most exciting summer festivals that go until early autumn.
Where: Hindu regions (India, Nepal, Bangladesh) When: Indian lunar month of Bhadrapad (August/September) When this year: August 25th, 2016
No one throws a party like Hindus do! This spectacular religious festival is celebrated on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha, or “dark fortnight” when the moon is waning. It’s basically a massive birthday party for Lord Krishna, the blue-skinned incarnation of Vishnu. A popular tradition includes building a human pyramid and then breaking a dangling pot filled with curd, called the dahi handi, from up high. Some of the most extravagant festivities take place in Maharashtra, Puri, Udupi, and Mumbai. (REUTERS: Ajay Verma)
Where: Venice, Italy When: first Sunday in September When this year: September 4th, 2016
Seeing the famous canals of Venice is one thing, but seeing them during this festival takes the city to an entirely new level! Meaning “historical boat race”, the Regata Storica is a series of rowing races that commemorate Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, who renounced her throne in favor of Venice in 1489. The races begin with a spectacular parade of colorful 16-century-styled boats carrying the Doge (Duke) down the Grand Canal. Spectators can watch the event from floating stalls set up in front of the Ca’ Foscari palace.
Where: Braemar, Scotland When: first Saturday in September When this year: September 3rd, 2016
This festival is part of the Highland Games that are held in spring and summer in Scottland to celebrate Scottish, Celtic, and Gaelic cultures. You’ll catch lots of kilts, bagpipes, and traditional dancing, but the highlight of the festival is the athletic competitions that include the caber toss, stone put, Scottish hammer throw, sheaf toss, and other traditional Scottish sports. You might even get a glimpse of the Queen, who attends the Braemar event every year.
Toronto Film Festival
Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada When: beginning of September When this year: September 8-18th 2016
Movie buffs, unite! Founded in 1976, The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has become one of the world’s most widely regarded festivals for both critics and everyday film fans. Unlike Cannes, TIFF is open to the public, with over 400,000 attendees and around 400 screenings. For many films, TIFF is the crucial launching pad that can generate momentum around a film right before Oscar awards season. This means good news for attendees, who get a sneak peek at the most buzz-worthy and cutting-edge films in the industry.
Where: Bohinj, Slovenia When: third weekend in September When this year: September 17-18th, 2016
It all started as a celebration for the return of the cattle – and not the farmers – after a summer spent in the pastures. The festival begins with flower-adorned cows, lead by the men who rear them, getting somewhat of a red carpet treatment: locals and tourists alike cheer on the procession as they pass by the beautiful Lake Bohinj and its Govin Waterfall. Throughout the festival, stands sell all things cows and country, and there’s loads of activities like cheese-making, log-sawing, traditional Slovenian dancing, and accordion playing.
World Tango Festival
Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina When: end of August When this year: August 18-31st, 2016
If there’s one this Argentina is known for, it’s tango. This annual dance extravaganza is 18 days long with over 400,000 attendees from countries all over the world. The festival consists of two parts: it begins with La Festival, where festival-goers can attend tango classes, recitals, and film screenings across the city. After this casual 9-day celebration, the festival morphs into Mundial de Tango, or the Tango World Championship, where the world’s best tango dancers from every nation compete for the top spot. (AFP PHOTO: DANIEL GARCIA)
Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA When: last Sunday in August to first Sunday in September When this year: August 28th-September 5th, 2016
It’s not a festival, it’s a lifestyle! So says many who attend this enormous and one-of-a-kind event. For a few days, a temporary metropolis is constructed in the expansive, boundary-less desert that is a perfect metaphor for the festival’s mission: creativity, self-expression, and thinking outside the box. In attendance are painters, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, musicians, performance artists, and just about every type of creative person you can think of. While the scope of the event can be daunting, keep in mind that you can always attend as an observer (like Mark Zuckerberg does!). (Reuters: Jim Urquhart)
Where: Buñol, Valencia, Spain When: Last Wednesday in August When this year: August 31st, 2016
Introducing the biggest, messiest, and most entertaining food fight you’ll ever see. Every year, up to 20,000 people pelt 150 tons of tomatoes at each other. After about an hour of tomato-slinging madness, the square along with the participants are covered in tomato paste. No one is really sure how the festival began, but some suspect it was inspired by a food fight between schoolchildren in this tomato-producing region. (photo credits: Nathan Orme, Tribune)
Umhlanga (Reed Dance)
Where: Lobamba, Swaziland When: end of August/beginning of September When this year: August 23rd-August 29th 2016 (last day is main celebration)
This annual Swazi cultural festival is a centuries-old tradition and one of the most spectacular in all of Africa. Up to 40,000 unmarried girls and women from different chiefdoms participate in the week-long event. The festivities begin with the girls cutting tall reeds that they use to dance with, choosing the tallest and sturdiest they can find. Day seven is the must-see day, with nonstop dancing, singing, and celebrating. The final dance is for the king, whose own unmarried daughters participate in and often lead the event.
Where: China When: 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar When this year: September 15th, 2016
Also referred to as the Harvest Moon Festival, this ancient holiday is the celebration of the full moon, for giving thanks to the harvest, and to celebrate close relationships with family and friends. Popular traditions include eating moon cakes and drinking cassia wine, and, well, gazing at the moon. It’s also custom to make chinese mid-autumn lanterns and release them into the sky. The best celebrations are held in Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, and NYC Chinatown. (Getty: ChinaFotoPress)