5 Fun-Filled Festivals to go to in 2016
Published 30 March 2016
Festivals are a great tool for helping you plan when to travel to your holiday destination. After all, they are usually a once a year (or in some cases one-off) chance to gain an insight into local culture and traditions, and are usually bags of fun too. To help you plan, here are five of our favourite festivals coming up in 2016.
Pride Festival March, New York City
On 25th June 2016, New York's month-long Gay Pride festival culminates in the loud and proud Pride March. This vibrant parade of rainbow flags, multicoloured costumes and smiling participants celebrates the resilience and unity of the city's LGBT community. Although an up-tempo festival of carnivals, AIDs awareness events and fundraising, the march started off far more seriously as a commemoration of the 1969 police raid on New York's Stonewall Inn, which caused widespread outrage at the treatment of gay people by the police.
Summer Solstice, Northern Hemisphere
In the northern hemisphere, 20th June 2016 is the longest day of the year. According to legend, vampires and werewolves are confused by the ongoing sunlight and so the day is celebrated all over the world for its mystical powers. Each country and region does it slightly differently, some focusing on Mother Nature or our long-dead ancestors, others on the midnight sun. However you do it though, it's sure to be a memorable day - try Stonehenge's all-night Druid party or Reykjavik's Secret Solstice Festival, or perhaps head to Egypt where you can watch the sun sink down between the Great Pyramid and its neighbour.
Havana Carnival, Cuba
Havana's Latin beats and rum-fuelled bars offer parties aplenty pretty much any day of the year, but come at the weekend throughout July and August to experience one of Cuba's oldest celebrations, the 400-year-old Havana Carnival. Watch out for glittering costumes, opulent floats and wild street parties that last until the small hours. Fireworks light up the sky and the rum (almost) runs dry at this exuberant fiesta.
Gion Matsuri, Kyoto
One of Japan's most famous celebrations, Gion Matsuri (the festival of the Yasaka Shrine) takes place in Kyoto in July. Originally held as a purification ritual to appease the gods and prevent earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, the festival has evolved into a month-long collection of parades, parties and street food during which local families also show off their heirlooms. The procession, known as the Yamaboko Jonko, is the stand-out highlight, with 32 intricately designed floats, some over 25 metres tall.
Burning Man Festival, Nevada, USA
According to their website, Burning Man is not a festival but a ‘catalyst for creative culture in the world’. Lasting from the final Monday in August to the first Monday in September (Labor Day), this week of merrymaking is held at a purpose-built settlement known as Black Rock City. In 2015 over 70,000 people descended upon this desert town to celebrate art, creativity and expression, often involving giant (and rather scary-looking) sculptures and art installations. On the Saturday of the event, a giant wooden effigy ('The Man'), which can reach up to 30 metres in height, is burnt and at the end of the week Black Rock City is completely deconstructed and the desert returned to its natural state.