Top 10 World Festivals for 2022
Updated: 28th September 2021
From the colourful fun filled Rio Carnival in Brazil and Holi and Diwali in India, to the Cherry Blossoms in Japan, New Year's in Red Square and the Harbin Ice Festival, here are our top picks for 2022. It's going to be difficult choosing which ones to go to - we did warn you!
Rio Carnival in Brazil
The captivating city of Rio de Janeiro, home to exotic nightlife, lush mountains and beautiful beaches, hosts the world’s greatest street party. A destination known for its sexy atmosphere and energetic spirit explodes with colour, music and hip swaying for Rio Carnival the weekend before Lent. A spectacular event, across the five days the streets are lit up and filled with revellers in extravagant fancy dress. When you arrive, receive a warm welcome from the Brazilians who are proud to share with you the world’s best party. The highlight of the weekend is the Sambadrome, a spectacular parade of hundreds of marvellous floats travelling down the streets, flanked by dancers in glitter-covered costumes. If you are unable to get tickets to the Sambadrome, you will still have a wonderful time joining in with the street parties dancing to the infectious samba music from dusk till dawn.
Holi Festival of Colour in India
Holi is a celebration of good triumphing over evil, the importance of love, happiness and new beginnings with the end of winter. With imitation festivals cropping up all over the world, nothing beats the dazzling vibrancy and invigorating energy of the original. Festivities take place all over India on the day after the full moon in March, the streets transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour. The evening before, large bonfires are lit to burn away evil spirits in a ritual known as Holika Dahan. The following morning as soon as you step on to the streets you will be covered in a rainbow of purples, greens, pinks and blues, thrown by children and shopkeepers. A carefree festival, join the locals as they spread coloured powder over their faces, stand under showers of coloured water and dance around water sprinklers.
Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan
One of the most traditional and beautiful sights of Japan is the blooming of cherry blossom. Also known as Sakura, this iconic event is eagerly anticipated not just for its beauty but because it also signals the end of winter and is a symbol of hope and renewal. The blossoming of these delicate buds starts in early February in the southern islands of Okinawa, the opening of the delicate flowers spreading across Japan to reach the northern cape of Hokkaido by the end of May. Hanami is the traditional custom of enjoying the flower, with people spending time in parks, gardens and riversides to enjoy the picturesque settings covered in a gorgeous soft pink hue in the fresh spring weather. Travel to Kanazawa in April, the best time to see the flowers, to appreciate one of Japan’s most impressive gardens Kenroku-en covered in a light rose tint.
Inti Raymi in Cusco, Peru
Dating back to the Inca period and first taking place in 1412, Inti Raymi is a festival that celebrates the winter solstice with worship of the sun god. Inti Raymi means 'Sun Festival' in Quechua, an ancient Inca language which is still spoken by around 8 million people. The festival takes places in Cusco and involves colourful Incan rituals, parades and performances in front of a thousands strong crowd. Sapa Inca, the Sun God will also give a rousing speech!
Full Moon Festival in Vietnam
Travel to the charming and graceful Vietnamese town of Hoi An for the Full Moon Festival which takes place on the 14th day of each lunar month. Vietnamese people paying homage to their ancestors with alters full of flowers, candles and incense as offerings for good luck and prosperity. The old quarters switch off the electrical lights and close the roads to motorised traffic, plunging the streets into darkness and silence to experience the beauty of the flickering candlelight and glow of the multi-coloured lanterns. Stand side by side with the locals along the water’s edge or glide along the water on a sampan ride as hundreds of lanterns are released down the river and into the sky, the luminous lights making an already beautiful Hoi An absolutely extraordinary.
Jewel of the Nile Sun Festival in Egypt
Egypt is a utopia of outstanding archaeological monuments. In the village of Nubia you will find Abu Simbel, a colossal structure built into the side of a mountain flanked by six statues, four of these representing the pharaoh Ramses II. One of the world’s greatest examples of architectural precision and manic egotism, Ramses II had the Great Temple aligned so that the sun’s rays would line up twice a year on the dates of his ascension to the throne, 21 February, and his birthday, 21 October. The temple has since been re-located further up the shoreline of Lake Nasser meaning the sun now strikes a day later. However, watching the sunrise and illuminate the inner Hypostyle Hall and the Sanctuary is a spellbinding experience, all the more magical for only happening twice a year.
Diwali Festival of Lights in India
The largest and brightest celebration in the Hindu calendar, Diwali the Festival of Lights is observed all over the world. The most joyous festivities take place in India with homes decorated, gifts exchanged and thousands of lamps lit. Its origins date back thousands of years to when God Lord Rama came home after conquering the demon King Ravana, starting the tradition of jubilation and happiness across five days from the 15th day of the month of Kartika. Firecrackers are set off in the nights to signal the start of colourful revelry including firework displays and wearing garlands of flowers and jasmine. Take a trip to the Birla Temple in the pink city of Jaipur, the gardens lit up and decorated with bright garlands and flowers – a stunning contrast against the stark clean white walls of the temple.
Harbin Ice Festival in China
Sun Island Park is blanketed in the winter making it the perfect venue for a multitude of striking ice sculptures. The Harbin Ice Festival is spread out over December and January, the 70 days filled with many activities in this impressive winter wonderland. Visitors will see all manner of bizarre, beautiful and magical sculptures created out of eight metre high ice blocks, the diverse range of designs ranging from a dragon boat to a couple of cupids. The sculptures also include replicas of China’s most iconic attractions including the Great Wall of China and the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing. The frozen beauty of the creations is enhanced with dozens of traditional Chinese lanterns and neon lights illuminating the glistening ice creations.