10 Wildest Festivals Around the World

As a world traveler and entrepreneur, I have thousands of goals for what I’d like to do in my lifetime. My MANY bucket lists consist of traditional goals, travel goals, adventure goals, business venture goals, relationship goals, and creative goals. I separate them into a bunch of different lists so I can keep track of my goals/achievements in a tangible way. I like saying “I’ve accomplished 3 of 10 goals on my adventures bucket list,” rather than “I’ve accomplished 3 of my 1,200 goals!” It just sounds more impressive *shrugs*. Any who, one bucket list includes all of the wildest, most amazing festivals around the world which I plan to attend. Let me know if you wanna go together 😉

up helly aa1. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival

Where: Lerwick, Scotland
When: Last Tuesday in January
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival is one of the largest fire festivals in the world. It began after the Napoleonic Wars, when soldiers and sailors came home, guns blazing, to drink and party. As the town grew, the celebration continued and became more elaborate. Today, there’s a torchlight procession, traditional guizing (playing dress-up), and burning of a full-scale Viking ship. If the movie “Carrie” took place on Halloween in a town full of violent drunks, you’d have the Up Helly Aa Festival. This sounds pretty terrifying, but if I survived it, I’d have one hell of a story to tell!

2. Carnevale

Where: Venice, Italy
When: Between February 14th & March 4th
“Carnevale” is a tradition that dates back to the 13th century. Much like Brazil’s “Carnival” and New Orleans’ “Mardi Gras,” Carnevale is the day of feasting right before Lent. Venice holds a European version of the celebration, complete with a masquerade ball!

3. Mardi Gras

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
When: Between February 3rd & March 9th
Most of you probably guessed Mardi Gras – also referred to as “Fat Tuesday” – would be next on this list. It’s the last day of celebration before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday – the day to “get all your demons out” before Easter season. Mardi Gras is a day of boob flashing, overeating, heavy drinking, and massive overcrowding. Sounds fun.

4. Coachella

Where: Indio, California
When: April
Coachella is one of the largest and most publicized music festivals in the world. It hosts over 90,000 youngsters, the biggest names in music, and an impressive celebrity guest list. Imagine a bunch of partially clothed college kids camping out in the desert – a modern Woodstock.

5. Festival of the Sun

Where: Cusco, Peru
When: June 24th
Festival of the Sun, or “Inti Raymi” is a celebration at the start of the New Year in the Inca calendar. Before 1944, children under 10 were sacrificed to the Sun God, but nowadays people just dress in traditional garment, chanting ancient songs and giving blessings to the sun. Interesting.

6. Gay Pride Parade

Where: San Francisco, California
When: June


The Gay Pride parade is the second largest LGBT gathering in the world, second to Gay Pride Rio. It’s hosted artists like Lady Gaga, the Backstreet Boys, and Solange Knowles. The Gay Pride Parade is one of the rare occasions where people feel completely comfortable in their skin…body paint, or a rainbow colored sock over their peter weeter. Any who, its an amazing festival to witness whether you’re LGBTQ or not.

7. Carnival

Where: Rio de Janiero, Brazil
When: Late February to early March
Carnival is arguably the largest party in the entire world. It hosts 2 million people a day for the week leading up to Lent. Much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and Carnevale in Venice, Carnival is a nonstop party, but with a Brazilian twist. It’s filled with samba music, colorful costumes, and giant parade floats that trump anything we’ve seen in the US.

8. Aboriginal Garma Festival

Where: Gulkula, Arnhem Land in northern Australia
When: August
If I can get an invitation to this festival celebrating 40,000 years of culture, I can expect to partake in traditional bunggul (dance), manikay (song) , and cultural Wangga (ceremonies), art, and storytelling. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate and observe traditional Aboriginal culture in it’s authenticity. The only downside is I’d have to sleep in a camping tent in the rural Australian outback.

9. Oktoberfest

Where: Munich, Germany
When: October
The Oktoberfest is 16 days of drinking, music, and Bavarian culture that has been held between late September and early October since 1810. 6 million attendees consume roughly 7.5 million liters of beer, witness various attractions, and sample traditional German food like Hendl, Schweinebraten, Schweinshaxe,Steckerlfisch, Würstl, Brezen, Knödel, Käsespätzle, Reiberdatschi, Sauerkraut, Obatzda, Weisswurst, Schnitzel, and a bunch of other stuff I have no idea how to pronounce. I like beer.

10. Day of the Dead

Where: Oaxaca, Mexico
When: November 1st & 2nd
Dia de Los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead,” celebrates All Saint’s Day, which acknowledges all those who have passed away. Coincidentally it is held the day after Halloween, but all they’ve got in common is their proximity on the calendar and passion for skeletons. Day of the Dead is a colorful & creative display of culture – that reminds me of a Tim Burton movie.