One of the best things about going abroad is completely immersing yourself in the culture of another place. There are so many beautiful places and people to discover in the world, and every time I go somewhere new, I try to make sure I try to explore as much as possible to enrich my time there.
A really good way to learn more about a place you have travelled to is to go to a local festival, which could be cultural, food, music or anything in between where you can observe the local’s way of life and have a real experience.
Today I’ve rounded up some of the festivals I think sound really interesting that hopefully, I’ll get to visit one day.
La Tomatina, Spain
This festival is something I’ve seen on TV and adverts, but one that I wasn’t sure exactly what happened or what the point of it was. In short, participants throw tomatoes at each other, just for the fun of it and all the locals from all age groups join in.
The festival is held in August in the Valencian town of Buñol and lasts for around an hour, when fire trucks hose the tomato-splattered streets down. The tomatoes must be pressed down first in order not to cause damage to who it is thrown at. It started back in 1945 where some young boys raided a fruit and veg stand and has become a local tradition.
Bastille Day, France
Bastille Day is celebrated in France on the 14th July and is a national holiday for the country. The day symbolises the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789 which was a turning point for the French Revolution.
The day starts with a military parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris and is attended by French officials and foreign guests. This morning tradition dates back to 1878.
The whole country of France come together for this day to celebrate, but there are also worldwide ceremonies that take place from India through to Canada ranging from firework displays to two-day long celebrations.
Sarigerme Kite Festival, Turkey
There is something about seeing kites that reminds me of visiting my Grandparents when I was younger and flying our kite on the beach they lived close to. A traditional Turkish festival, Sarigerme, holds an annual kite festival on the beach that fills the sky with around 100 different kites of all sizes and all different kinds of different colours: The festival also holds a competition for the best handmade kite.
I’ve been to Turkey once before and the country fascinated me as somewhere unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been to and I’d love to go back and explore this vast country more.
Carnival, Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria may not be one of the places that you think would have a popular local festival, but the carnival of Las Palmas is one of the most popular Spanish festivals there are. The celebration is held in February every year and is full of life, music and colour.
The theme of the carnival is magic and fantastic creates and is celebrated in different parts of the island, ranging from north to south. Find out more about Gran Canaria holidays here.
One of the most fun weeks of my life was when I went to a Polish music festival the month after I finished university. Since then, I’ve always opted for a city break or a slightly longer holiday when it comes to my annual leave, but what could be better than seeing your favourite bands in the sunshine, on a beach?
Benicassim has always been a festival that I’ve heard great things about and its definitely high up on my list to visit in the next couple of years, especially as I loved Barcelona the last time I went: The lineup always seems to be really good too, which is just an added bonus to the overall experience.
I hope this post has inspired you to look into some traditional festivals the next time you go away.
This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Gems