From epic water fights in Thailand to ringing in the spring season with a storm of colour in India, some of the most unforgettable moments we can experience happen when you choose to travel the world. If you’re composing your bucket list, we’ve explored the most unique events and fests worldwide to help you select your must-dos. After all, there’s no better way to better understand a culture than taking part in one of their (awesome, life-changing) celebrations.
Boryeong Mud Festival
If you’re afraid of getting dirty, then you may want to avoid making the trip to South Korea to Boryeong (a town south of Seoul) take part in the Boryeong Mud Festival. At this two-week-long festival held in July, people cover themselves in mud that’s been taken from the Boryeong mud flats. Boryeong mud is famously mineral-rich, and the festival was originally conceived as a marketing stunt for Boryeong mud cosmetics. Throughout the event, there are fun things to participate in at Daecheon beach, including mud wrestling, mud king contest and mud sliding.
Locals and tourists alike gather on the last Wednesday of August annually in Bunol, Spain, with one very big food fight that uses up many bushels of overly ripe tomatoes. This is no grade school food fight, either; 40,000 or so people come together each year with the singular goal of throwing tomatoes at each other (and subsequently finding themselves drenched in tomato juice and flesh). Do not wear white. You have been warned.
In India, people say farewell to winter and welcome spring with a colourful and merry festival called Holi. If you’ve ever participated in or seen a colour run, then you’ll know where those technicolour 5ks stole their idea from. At the original colour festival, everyone is dancing and singing as they joyfully throw coloured liquid (or powder) at each other. Once again, wear white at your own risk.
Water fight! The Thai New Year is celebrated April 13 to 15 and if you’re in the area at that time, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of one big, happy water fight. It’s not just for the fun of it, though — the water is symbolic for purification and renewal. In some cities, locals and tourists douse each other with water for days. Don’t forget to bring a towel!
Dia de los Muertos
Ominous name notwithstanding, the Day of the Dead is a deeply spiritual holiday for Mexicans to honour and celebrate their ancestors. It takes place each year on November 1-2 (so it’s actually a couple of days, not just one), and the occasion is a joyous event marked by the exchanging of candles, poetry, the recitation of poems and the singing of songs. Specific gifts for the festival include marigolds, sweet breads, and the iconic sugar skulls.