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world's best festivals

If you're looking to join some of the world's best parties, celebrations and cultural showcases, then look no further for ideas. We've put together a list of events grouped by month, with web links to tell you more. Where festivals span more than one month, they are shown under the month in which they begin. Festival dates may also vary from year to year, so they are shown under the month in which they usually occur. Some events you can just turn up to, others you may need to book tickets quite far in advance. For planning the rest of your trip, get help from our trip planning section.

January                April                 July                        October
February              May                  August                   November
March                   June                September           December


January
Rijeka Carnival, Croatia www.ri-karneval.com.hr
Winter Carnival, Quebec, Canada www.carnaval.qc.ca
Republic Day Parade, New Delhi, India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_Day_Parade
Festival in the Desert, Mali www.festival-au-desert.org
Festival on the Niger, Segou, Mali www.festivalsegou.org
 
February
New Orleans Mardi Gras, USA www.mardigrasneworleans.com
Rio Carnival, Brazil www.rio-carnival.net
Venice Carnival, Italy www.carnivalofvenice.com
Nice Carnival, France www.nicecarnaval.fr
Buenos Aires Tango Festival, Argentina www.festivaldetango.com.ar/home_e.php
Ottawa Winterlude, Canada www.canadascapital.gc.ca/winterlude/
Chinese New Year, China and SE Asia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year
Dijous Gras, Sitges, Spain www.sitgestour.com
Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy www.carnevalediivrea.com
Menton Lemon Festival, France www.menton.com/uk/lemons/
Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan www.snowfes.com/english/
Jazz Festival, Havana, Cuba www.cubatravel.cu
Flamenco Festival, New York, USA www.flamencofestival.org
 
March
Calle Ocho (Cuban Festival), Miami, USA www.calle8.com
Hanami Party (Flowering of Cherry Blossom), Japan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanami
Hong Kong Arts Festival www.hk.artsfestival.org/en/
St Patrick's Festival, Dublin, Ireland www.stpatricksday.ie
Budapest Spring Festival, Hungary www.festivalcity.hu/btf
Guadalajara International Film Festival, Mexico www.guadalajaracinemafest.com/english/
Geneva International Motor Show, Palexpo, Switzerland www.palexpo.ch
Semana Santa (Holy Week), San Miguel de Allende, Mexico www.mexconnect.com/mex%5F/travel/ganderson/gasemana.html
Moisture Festival (Comedy and Theatre), Seattle, USA www.moisturefestival.com
 
April
Songkran Water Festival, Thailand (Thai New Year) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songkran
Semana Santa (Holy Week), Seville, Spain www.exploreseville.com/events/semana-santa.htm
Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria www.snowbombing.com
Edinburgh International Harp Festival www.harpfestival.co.uk
Salzburg Easter Festival, Austria www.osterfestspiele-salzburg.at
Warbirds Over Wanaka, New Zealand www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com
Speyside Whisky Festival, Scotland, UK www.spiritofspeyside.com
Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Australia www.comedyfestival.com.au
Island Dance Festival, Rarotonga, Cook Islands www.cook-islands.com
 
May
Rocket Festival, Andalusia, Spain www.rocketfestival.com
Shetland Folk Festival www.shetlandfolkfestival.com
Cannes Film Festival, France www.festival-cannes.fr
Prague Spring International Music Festival, Czech Republic www.festival.cz/en/
Vienna Festival (Festwochen), Austria www.festwochen.at
Dresden Music Festival, Germany www.musikfestspiele.com/cms/en/home/
Copenhagen Distortion Clubbing Festival, Denmark www.cphdistortion.dk/
Stars of the White Nights Festival, St Petersburg, Russia www.mariinsky.ru/en
 
June
Boi Bumba (Jungle Carnival), Parintins, Brazil www.boibumba.com
Gnawa Music Festival, Essaouira, Morocco www.festival-gnaoua.co.ma
Glastonbury Music Festival, UK www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/
Holland Festival www.hollandfestival.nl
Sonar Music Festival, Barcelona, Spain www.sonar.es
Glasgow International Jazz Festival, Scotland, UK www.jazzfest.co.uk
Fez Sacred Music Festival, Morocco www.fesfestival.com
Zurich Festival (Theatre, Dance, Music), Switzerland www.zuercher-festspiele.ch/en/
Munich Opera Festival, Germany www.muenchner-opern-festspiele.de/c.php/index_mof.php?dom=dom4&l=en
Verona Opera Festival, Italy www.arena.it
Rath Yatra Hindu Festival, Puri, India www.swaminarayan.org/festivals/rathyatra/
Palio Horse Race, Siena, Italy (also in August) www.ilpalio.org/palioenglish.htm
Roskilde Rock Festival, Denmark www.roskilde-festival.dk
Bali Arts Festival, Indonesia www.baliartsfestival.com
White Nights Festival, St Petersburg, Russia www.petersburgcity.com
 
July
Calgary Stampede, Canada www.calgarystampede.com
Copehagen Jazz Festival, Denmark www.jazzfestival.dk
Gion Matsuri, Kyoto, Japan www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/history/traditionalevents/a34_fes_gion.html
Dance Valley Festival, Netherlands www.dancevalley.com
Int'l Festival of Open Air and Street (FETA), Gdansk, Poland www.feta.pl
Pazaislis Classical Music Festival, Kaunas, Lithuania www.pazaislis.lt
Summer Jam (Reggae Festival), Cologne, Germany www.summerjam.de
Jazz Juan (Europe"s Oldest Jazz Festival), Nice, France www.antibes-juanlespins.com
Toronto Fringe Festival (Theatre), Canada www.fringetoronto.com
Ollesummer Festival, Tallinn, Estonia www.ollesummer.ee
Ommegang, Brussels, Belgium www.ommegang.be/uk/index_uk.html
Forde Folk Music Festival, Norway www.fordefestival.no/Engelskesider/Engelskopningsside2005.html
Pamplona Bull Running, San Fermin Festival, Spain www.sanfermin.com
Tanabata (Star Festival), Japan (various locations) www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/history/traditionalevents/a69a_fes_tanabata.html
Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo, Malaysia www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com
North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands www.northseajazz.nl/index.en.asp
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Alaska, USA www.fsaf.org
International Festival of Street Art, Linz, Austria www.pflasterspektakel.at/eng/index_default.asp
Cheyenne Frontier Days (outdoor Rodeo), USA www.cfdrodeo.com
Verbier Festival (Classical Music), Switzerland www.verbierfestival.com
Farnborough International Air Show, England, UK www.farnborough.com
Celebration of Light Fireworks Competition, Vancouver, Canada www.hsbccelebrationoflight.com
Fuji Rock Festival, Niigata, Japan www.fujirockfestival.com
World Bodypainting Festival, Austria www.bodypainting-festival.com
 
August
La Tomatina Tomato Fight, Bunyol near Valencia, Spain www.latomatina.com
Barbados Crop Over (Sugar Cane Harvest) www.cropoverfestival.bb
Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK www.bbc.co.uk/london/features/events/carnival/
Sumfest Reggae Festival, Jamaica www.reggaesumfest.com
Cowal Highland Gathering, Scotland, UK www.cowalgathering.com
Sziget Music Festival, Budapest, Hungary www.sziget.hu/festival_english
International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, UK www.bristolfiesta.co.uk
Cowes Week (Sailing Regatta), Isle of Wight, UK www.skandiacowesweek.co.uk
Berlin Beer Festival, Germany www.bierfestival-berlin.de/index.php?idcat=24
Festival of Vancouver, Canada www.festivalvancouver.ca
New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), USA www.fringenyc.org
Chicago International Air and Water Show, USA www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents
Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA www.burningman.com
Onam, Kerala, India www.onamfestival.org
Dubrovnik Festival, Croatia www.dubrovnik-festival.hr
 
September
Galway Oyster Festival, Ireland www.galwayoysterfest.com
Oktoberfest Beer Festival, Munich, Germany www.oktoberfest.de/en/
International Puppet Festival, Zagreb, Croatia http://public.carnet.hr/pif-festival/
Aarhus Cultural Festival, Denmark www.aarhusfestuge.dk/aarhusfestuge/festuge2006.nsf/links/English
Braemar Gathering Highland Games, Scotland, UK www.braemargathering.org
Big Muddy Blues Festival on the Mississippi, St Louis, USA www.bigmuddyblues.com
Prague Autumn Festival, Czech Republic www.pragueautumn.cz/en/soubor1.php
New York Musical Theatre Festival, USA www.nymf.org
Lyon Dance Biennale, France www.biennale-de-lyon.org
Monaco Yacht Show www.monacoyachtshow.org
San Francisco Blues Festival, USA www.sfblues.com
 
October
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta www.balloonfiesta.com
Cheltenham Literature Festival, England, UK www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/whats_on/literature_festival.html
Canterbury Arts Festival, England, UK www.canterburyfestival.co.uk
Lake of Stars, International Music Festival, Malawi www.lakeofstars.co.uk
 
November
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City, USA www.macysparade.com
Bald Eagle Festival, Haines, Alaska, USA www.baldeaglefestival.org
San Miniato White Truffle Festival, Italy www.sanminiatotartufo.it
World's Largest Disco, New York City, USA www.worldslargestdisco.com
 
December
Lyons Festival of Lights & Ancient Music, France www.en.lyon-france.com
Natchitoches Christmas Festival, Louisiana, USA www.christmasfestival.com
New Year's Eve, Sydney, Australia www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/nye/
New Year's Eve, Times Square, New York City, USA www.timessquarenyc.org/nye/nye.html