Summer is an excellent time for travel. With the warm weather, destinations around the globe host all kinds of traditions and festivals that lure people from abroad. Some of these are very popular celebrations while others not so much. If you are looking to grow your bucket list, then participating in these festivals is a great option. Here are the top summer traditions and festivals that you need to know about.
Dragon Boat Festival, China, June
Also known as Duanwu, the Dragon Boat Festival is an annual celebration that occurs in June. It is a national holiday in the country and the festival is celebrated by all its citizens. There are many reasons why this festival is celebrated. However, the most enduring and prolific origin is the death of minister and poet Qu Yuan in c. 278 B.C.E. Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in a number of different ways across the world. Some common elements of the festival include dragon boat racing, eating the Zong zi, and hanging wormwood or calamus.
Bastille Day, France, 14 July
July 14 marks the day of the national French festival. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille (1789) as well as the Festival of the Federation (1790). Celebrations for the festival are held all over the country. The largest and the oldest military parade in Europe takes place on July 14 in the morning on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Many fireworks are let off in all cities on this day. The most popular fireworks display is in Paris where many people gather on the balcony of the Eiffel Tower as well as around the Champ-de-Mars.
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, Tokyo, Last Saturday of July
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is the biggest summer fireworks festival of Tokyo. It dates back to 1733 of the Edo period and draws a massive crowd. It starts in the Saturday evening and continues for 90 minutes. Every year, thousands of people visit the festivals so be sure to go early so you can find a good place to enjoy the display. The best place to watch the show is in the neighborhood of Asakusa. Taking a boat cruise on the Sumida River is another great option as it offers excellent view of the fireworks.
Hajj Pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia, July to August
The Hajj Pilgrimage is held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and it is the largest gathering of Muslims from around the globe. Mecca is one of the holiest cities for the Muslims and they gather here from every country. The tradition of Hajj Pilgrimage dates back centuries to the time of Ibrahim. It is one of the key pillars of Islam and participating at least once is a religious duty for any Muslim who can afford it. The pilgrimage is a sign of Muslims’ submission to the will of Allah and the harmony among themselves.
Not only are festivals very fun, but they are also an excellent way to do something different than the regular sightseeing we do when we travel. The next time you are looking for something festive, plan your trip around the above-listed celebrations of life.
Photos by: Ling Jin, Samuel Wong, Marin Tulard, iStock/Toraakarin, Ekrem Osmanoglu