What better way to share in the world's unique and vibrant cultures than by partaking in different countries' biggest festivities? From world-famous music performances to outrunning raging bulls, mark your diary and time your travel around some of these iconic, long-standing and must-see events around the globe.
Dubai Shopping Festival, January 1-February 1
Running throughout the month of January, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival is well known as a fashionista's paradise, showcasing the best new retail products, as well as the culture and unique style of Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.
Carnival, February 13-18
Rio's true colours shine during the vibrant annual Carnival, so if the timing works for your travel plans, jump at the chance to head to the Carnival Capital of the World, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, during February.
Las Fallas, March 15-19
Every year in Valencia the streets come alive during Spain’s festival of fire. Las Fallas (The Fires) is a tribute to St Joseph, Patron Saint of Carpenters, and every year the whole city fires up for an explosive and action-packed festival showcasing the Cabalgata del Fuego (Celebration of Fire), the Crema (Burning), and spectacular daily fireworks displays.
Coachella, April 10-11 (weekend 1) and April 17-19 (weekend 2)
Coachella’s star-studded following has propelled it on to the international music festival scene as one of the must-dos. The weekend-long music festival in the United States' Colorado Desert is held twice to cater to the crowds and features a line-up of some of the world’s biggest music acts.
Chelsea Flower Show, May 19-23
The Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious flower show in the world and showcases the benchmark in inspired garden design. Fun fact – the show has been held on the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital in London, England, every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars.
Glastonbury, June 24-28
This five-day music festival held in Somerset, England, is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Along with headlining contemporary music acts, the festival also hosts dance, comedy theatre, circus and cabaret, and retains a hippie feel thanks to its founding during the 1970s.
Running of the Bulls, July 6-14
Pamplona's Fiesta de San Fermin, of which the encierro or running of the bulls is part, is held in honour of Saint Fermin, patron saint of Navarre. These days, the fiesta sees masses of people from around the world congregate to see – and run ahead of – the bulls as they are moved from outside the city into the bullring.
La Tomatina, August 26
In the world's biggest food fight, more than 100 tonnes of overripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets just for the fun of it. Held annually on the last Wednesday in August, the festival takes place in the Valencian town of Bunol, in Spain.
Oktoberfest September 19-October 4
Held annually in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture and has been running since 1810. It celebrates all things German, such as brezen (pretzel), sauerkraut and wurst (sausage) ... all of which go down well with some cold, fresh biers (self-explanatory?).
Day of the Dead, October 31-November 2
This holiday in Mexico is all about the gathering of family and friends to remember those who have died. Special altars are set up in preparation and families buy skulls, plastic skeletons, paper lanterns and other spooky things. Upbeat street festivals and parades also mark the occasion, all as a way to affectionately remember those who have passed.
Thanksgiving, November 26, and Black Friday Sales, November 27
Thanksgiving is a magical time to travel to the US, particularly New York, and the icing on the cake is the world-famous Black Friday Sales. If you thought Aussies were hardcore on Boxing Day, Black Friday is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Most major retailers open very early and offer great-value sales to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
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European Christmas Markets
Germany, for one, sparkles during the festive season and is well known for its very merry Christmas markets. There are more than 60 markets on offer, selling everything from Christmas ornaments to hand-knitted scarves and festive treats such as mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.