From rolling cheese to oozing mud, traditional festivals around the world have something for everyone. Adding one of these four fabulous festivals to your overseas agenda can make your trip so much more meaningful, exciting, and colorful.
Holi Festival in India
Every March, date varies
Also called the Festival of Colors, the celebration of Holi extends through India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The main aim is to revel in the end of winter and beginning of spring, which is kicked off with singing and dancing around a Holika bonfire on the evening before the big day.
The next morning on Holi proper, the festival lives up to its nickname by becoming a color-smattering free-for-all. People chase each other, armed with colored water in squirt guns, colored water in balloons, and colored dry powder.
While many Indians adhere to a caste system, Holi is an equal-opportunity time for color-pelting fun for everyone, regardless of age, status, or station.
Running of the Bulls in Spain
July 6 to 14
Head to the Spanish city of Pamplona during its famous San Fermin festival, and you’ll be treated to the even more famous Running of the Bulls. The event features hundreds of people running in front of about a dozen bulls in a section of street that has been cordoned off for that purpose. The festival initially started as a way to get the bulls from the outskirts of the city into the city’s bullring.
Four different rockets are set off during the bull run, and an extended silence is customary before the first rocket sounds at 8 a.m. The silence is only broken by a series of chants from the runners asking the patron saint of San Fermin to guide them and give them his blessing during the run.
Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea
Every July, dates vary
South Korea’s Daecheon Beach is known for its skin-soothing mud, and thousands of folks frolic in it every summer during the Boryeong Mud Festival. The festival was created by a cosmetics company that used the mud in its products as a way to give people a firsthand feel of the mud’s beneficial effects.
The idea took off, exploding into one of the country’s most popular summertime celebrations. The festival stretches for several days, featuring mud pools, mud slides, mud skiing, and a lineup of mud-themed games. Live music, acupuncture, and a fireworks finale are also part of the fun.
Just make sure you fight the urge to wipe mud off anyone but your pals, as South Koreans put a high emphasis on personal space and frown upon being touched by people they don’t know.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival in England
Every May, date varies
What do you get when you mix a tall hill with dozens of runners and a 9-pound wheel of cheese? The annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival, of course. While it may not be as well-known as other traditional festivals around the world, the event’s origins have been traced back to the early 1800s.
Once the cheese wheel is released from the top of the hill, runners take off after it. Since the cheese wheel has been known to reach speeds of up to 70 mph, the feat may not be as easy as it sounds.
Now that you have the lowdown on four of the most fantastic traditional festivals around the world, all you need to do is renew your passport, secure any required documentation, and let the fun begin. Contact Swift with any questions – we’re always happy to help!