Top 10 Festivals Of Light: Around The World
Ever wondered what goes on in the other parts of the world, if anything comes close to the festivities of Diwali?
Here is a list of 10 festivals of light around the world.
1. Hanukkah: A Jewish festival with historical meaning, where eight lamps are lit to signify the eight lamps were lit with the oil that was enough for one lamp in the temple that was reclaimed by the Jews from the Greek invaders. But American Jews have taken it to a new level, with gifts and lighting candles on eight nights, food that symbolizes the festival. A family celebration of light, food, gifts and time together.
2. Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year: Celebrated after the Winter Solstice this lunar new year is huge in the East. Not just in China, but the Vietnamese, Indonesian Chinese, Malaysian Chinese all celebrate with much aplomb. The festival is about family, lanterns, food shaped like the moon and general feeling of wellbeing , that comes with new beginnings.
3. St Martin’s Day in Holland (Sint Maarten): In this children’s festival in most part of Holland, one can see kids walking up and down the street with lanterns and singing hymns and reciting songs. They are given sweets as treats in return, much alike American Halloween traditions. The festival is celebrated in early winter, second week of November. St Martins is also an old harvest festival celebrated in many parts of Europe, prior to the period of fasting in advent.
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4. Loi Krathong in Thailand: ‘Loi’ means to float and ‘Krathong’ is a lotus shaped object which is made of banana leaves and contains a candle, three joss sticks and some flowers and coins. It takes place on a new moon night in early November , when people carry their Krathongs to the nearest lake and float it in the water, washing away bad luck and hoping that their prayers are carried forth.
5. Kwanzaa in America: A relatively new holiday celebrated amongst the ethnically aware African Americans, where the traditions are quite similar to Hanukkah. Like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is a one-week celebration that features light (candles) and gifts, and the harvest foods of Africa. It is an inherent attempt to revive morals, and heritage of the African American way of life. It is also a celebration of light, family life and hope.
6. Pingxi Lantern Festival: Taiwan
Celebrated originally to let people know that people in the district of Pingxi were safe. The lanterns are inscribed with messages of well being and good wishes from the owner and when they are let out in the sky, its like it carries the message forth. The sky is lit up with these lanterns and it illuminates the whole city.
7. Noche de Brujas/ Night of the witches: Mexico
Celebrated in the Mexican town of Catemaco is originated when in 1970, a local shaman was struck with an idea to host a witchcraft convention. Now every year hundreds of shamans, witches and healers from all over Mexico travel to Catemaco to perform a mass cleansing ceremony designed to rid them of previous year’s negative energies. The town is filled with vendors selling trinkets and magic potions and tourists throng the streets looking for some magic in their own lives.
8. Day of the dead: Mexico/ Dia de los Muertos
A traditional festival held on the 1st and 2nd of November in Mexico, it is the day to remember the dead. This festival celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died while also reminding people about their own mortality. Skull is used as a symbol of the holiday. People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing foods and beverages, as well as photos of the dead. In other parts of the world All souls day is celebrated with the same thought.
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9. The Venice Carnival:
Certainly one of the most colorful festivals around the world, the Venice Carnival is all about drama. Masquerades, masks, parties on the go, gondola masquerades, colorful boats on the canals, jugglers, bands entertainers are just about everywhere and on this day you can do as you please, as all the revelers have the cover of the mask. During this time, the city is abuzz with tourists and the nights come alive with masked balls and parties, the city sees a fairytale come to life.
10. Keene Pumpkin festival: New Hampshire, USA
The Keene Pumpkin Festival is an annual Halloween celebration held in late October in the Central Square of the small New Hampshire town, Keene,It's an extension of the Halloween celebrations and there are competition of Pumpkin pyramid making which sees the largest number of Pumpkins, large enough to go on to the Guinness Book of World Records. Apart from the pumpkin hysteria, you also get fireworks, contests, games, live music, fresh food and plenty of beer (and a beer garden, no kidding!)
This list is exclusive of the fabulous Christmas celebrations all around the world, or the Halloween, the Carnival of Rio. If you think we missed out some super fun festivals of lights, please feel free to add on.
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