You’ve heard of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Marti Gras in New Orleans, the Queen’s Birthday in London, and the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco.
You might have even heard of the Water Splashing Festival in Bangkok, the Dragon Boat Races in Hong Kong, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kyoto.
But there are hundreds upon hundreds of other festivals that take place every year that you have probably never even heard of.
Here is a list of 12 of the world’s lesser known holidays and festivals – one for each month of the year.
World Expeditions has packaged tours for each of these events.
January – Vietnam.
Vietnamese New Year 23 January 2012. The biggest and most important festival of the year. Celebrated with dragon dancing and street gambling.
February – Laos.
Elephant Festival 17 – 19 February 2012. Colourful processions of elephants, night markets, ancient ceremonies, and cultural demonstrations.
March – India.
Festival of Colours 8 March 2012. One of the most exciting festivals of the year. Commemorates the arrival of spring with public bonfires and the spraying of friends and family with coloured powder and water.
April – Holland.
Queen’s Day 30 April 2012. Europe’s biggest street party with 2 million people taking to the streets of Amsterdam.
May United Kingdom.
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling 28 May 2012. Residents of Brockworth roll 7 and 8 pound rounds of cheese down a slope, with competitors then hurling themselves after them. The winner takes the cheese.
June – Peru.
Festival of the Sun 24 June 2012. Street fairs, dancing in the streets, and live music. The second largest festival in South America.
July – Mongolia.
Three Games of Men 11 – 13 July 2012. Naadam (pictured above) is a test of manhood with horse racing, archery, and wrestling.
August – France.
Lavender Festival 3 – 7 August 2012. A celebration of the lavender harvest in Provence. Parades with floats and a grand ball
September – Ethiopia.
Finding of the True Cross 27 September 2012. Commemorates the recovery of of the cross on which Jesus was crucified 17 centuries ago.
October – Bhutan.
Jambay Lhakhang Festival 29 October – 2 November 2012. A fire blessing ceremony and a dance of treasure where masked dancers perform naked.
November – Argentina.
Fiesta de la Tradicion 10 November 2012. Dancing, horseback riding, folk music, and barbecues. A celebration of Gaucho culture.
November – Chile.
New Year’s Festival 29 0 31 December 2012. Live bands and local culture with a massive fireworks display.