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Famous Religious Festivals around the World

A good party attracts a large crowd. That is unquestionably true of some of the most important religious festivals around the world. Several countries and cities host festivals that bring together thousands, if not millions, of people for spiritual enlightenment and communal prayer. Add in colorful parades, immaculate feasts, and nonstop excitement, and it’s easy to see why so many religious groups travel from all over the world to witness these holy events. Spiritual events commemorate a significant period in a particular religion. These annual celebrations are usually centered on a significant event in the history of a faith. Almost every religious sect has a significant time in the calendar or lunar year that they commemorate with a special festival. While religious commemorations tend to bring together worshipers of that religion, members of several other groups attend, curious to learn how people of different faiths show respect for their religious heritage. Here, we have gathered some most famous religious festivals around the world.

Hajj / Eid-Al-Adha

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

The most important festival in the Muslim brotherhood is Hajj or Eid-al-Adha. Every year, millions of Muslims perform the holy Islamic pilgrimage and gather in Mecca to celebrate this festival, which honors humans’ willingness to make sacrifices in the name of their faith. This festival also serves as a reminder of the Muslim people’s unity and submission to God.

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

The origins of Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, can be traced back to Catholicism. It is a time when the living can communicate with the spirits of deceased family members. Families create beautiful altars in their homes to offer food and flowers to their relatives. However, the celebrations are no longer limited to private homes and cemeteries; they have spread to the streets and city centers. Dia de los Muertos, which is officially recognized every year on November 2, has grown into a week-long event in Mexico City. Nearly every day, parades are held, with participants painting their faces with the symbolic skeletal designs that have become synonymous with the holiday.

Semana Santa, Spain

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated in almost every city in Spain, with the most boisterous celebrations taking place in the southern region of Andaluca, particularly in Seville, Granada, and Málaga. This seven-day celebration occurs during the final week of Lent, the week preceding Easter. Massive crowds gather throughout the streets dressed in their Sunday best every day of the week from around noon until around 3 a.m. to gaze upon the beautifully designed and detailed penance processions. Semana Santa is celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities as a tribute to the Passion of Christ, and its processions include local Spanish volunteers ranging in age from children to adults who dress uniformly in traditional nazarenos, or penitential robes. Millions of people from all over the world visit Spain each year to experience and celebrate Semana Santa, which is arguably the world’s largest Catholic celebration.

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Diwali, India

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Diwali also known as Festival of Lights, considered as largest festival in India, is a five-day Hindu celebration. Diwali, which occurs between mid-October and mid-November each year, is celebrated by millions of people all over the world. While it is primarily a Hindu festival, it is also recognized by Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, despite each having a slightly different historical significance. Regardless of religious affiliation, the festival’s main message is universal: the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Diwali is celebrated all over the world, but India throws the most elaborate parties every year. In most cities, the Festival of Lights includes delectable feasts, joyous community gatherings, and spectacular fireworks displays. Groups can watch as artists create impressive rangoli sand designs and thousands of oil lamps and candles are lit. a symbolic prayer to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity.

Christmas

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Religious festivals around the world: Christmas, the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, is, unsurprisingly, the world’s most celebrated festival. The festival, which takes place on December 25th, is arguably every child’s favorite religious event. It is famous for the Christmas tree, the exchange of gifts, the sharing of the family dinner, and other cultural adaptations, such as Santa Claus and Frosty the snowman.

Holi, India & Nepal

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Holi in India and Nepal is the first major Hindu celebration of the year, falling on the day after the March full moon. It is a beautiful celebration filled with colors of every shade and tone imaginable. If you go to India or Nepal during Holi, make sure to wear old, damaged clothes and be prepared for pure chaos and mayhem as locals blast each other with colored dye powder for an entire day and night. Holi, also known as the “festival of colors,” involves street dancing to popular Bollywood music, religious rituals in front of a massive bonfire, and praying that all internal evil be destroyed. Holi is a truly unique religious festival that commemorates the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil.

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Obon Festival, Japan

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Religious festivals around the world: Obon, also known as the Festival of Souls, is a Buddhist festival. Obon, which is usually held in July or August, is believed to be the time when ancestors’ souls return to visit living relatives. The three-day festival includes a variety of traditions. Families place paper lanterns at their ancestors’ graves to guide the spirits home, leave food and gifts at the gravesites, and perform the Bon Odori dance. Families use the lanterns to guide the spirits back to the grave at the end of the festival.

Songkran festival, Thailand

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Songkran, Thailand’s most anticipated and exciting Buddhist celebration, takes place every year from April 13th to the 15th and is the Thai New Year’s national holiday. Songkran corresponds with the Buddhist solar calendar and the rising of Aries on the astrological chart, as well as the New Year of several Southeast Asian calendars. During Thailand’s hottest month, locals and tourists alike line the streets with water guns, buckets, balloons, and hoses to participate in the world’s largest water fight. Water hysteria has gripped the country, and while anyone is at risk of getting soaked, foreigners and law enforcement appear to be the preferred targets.

Rio Carnival, Brazil

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Carnival is one of the most important events in the Christian calendar, and it is celebrated all over the world. However, one of the largest parties can be found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The festival takes place in February or March and draws millions of visitors who want to commemorate the five days preceding Lent, including the most popular, Mardi Gras. Every day of the festival, groups attending Rio Carnival should expect unrivalled energy and entertainment. The electrifying Sambadrome Parades feature the best samba schools in Rio, dressed in sequined costumes and feathered headdresses. Intricately designed floats march down the street, blasting samba music and energising the crowd and parade participants.

Kandy Esala Perahera, Sri Lanka

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

Religious festivals around the world: Sri Lanka’s Kandy Esala Perahera festival, held to honor Lord Buddha’s Sacred Tooth Relic and the four guardian gods, features elegant costumes, fire-breathing dancers, musicians, jugglers, and extravagantly decorated elephant floats. Kandy Esala Perahera, held every year in August for ten days, gradually increases in lavishness, culminating in the traditional diya-kepeema ritual held at the Mahaweli River in Kandy’s Getambe village. Hundreds of elephants and thousands of performers take part in the spectacular closing ceremony. This unforgettable religious festival is a must-see for anyone visiting the Indian Subcontinent.

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St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

While St. Patrick’s Day may be an excuse to drink a lot of Guinness on March 17, it is also a Christian holiday honoring Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick spent his life preaching, baptising, and erecting churches to spread the word of Christianity throughout the island. It is a day set aside for spiritual renewal. Today, St. Patrick is celebrated with colorful parades in green, orange, and white. There are celebrations in almost every city in Ireland. Dublin hosts the largest of these celebrations, complete with a theatrical parade through the city. Visitors can also attend events ranging from Waterford to Belfast, each with its own set of festivities.

Ouidah International Voodoo Festival, Benin

Famous Religious Festivals around the World

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Religious festivals around the world: The Ouidah International Voodoo Festival in Benin, held annually on January 10, is truly unique, as voodoo originated in this region and nearly 80 percent of the population still practices it. While voodoo has been demonized by other cultures for centuries, it is still practiced in Benin and other western African countries as a foundation for morality, politics, and social order in surrounding villages. During the festival, practitioners and devotees gather to remember the estimated 60 million people who lost their freedom during the Atlantic slave trade, with activities and sights such as animal sacrifices, dances, colorful clothing, lively music, and fetish markets.

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