Festima Mask Festival 2020

Festima

Eccentric wild dancing of antelopes, hares, alligators, ducks, monkeys, snakes, turtles. Hypnotizing, beguiling rhythms. Exuberant, vivid colors. Blazing sun and scorching air. A world of transcendence or another dimension.

This is the International Festival of Masks and Arts (Festival International des Masques et des Arts), more known as Festima.

Probably when you hear the word “mask”, you automatically think of the Carnevale di Venezia, but it is not right to compare these equally unique events. Festima has its own charm and wild vibes. It is the biggest one-of-a-kind celebration of old-century African traditions and culture.

 If in Venice, you can imagine yourself a princess at a fancy ball, at Festima you are a part of a mysterious and astonishing ritual to honor spirits in the form of performance of bizarre dancing masks.

History of Festima Festival and African Masks

To understand what Festima is, first of all, you should learn about the history of the festival. The mask is an eternal part of fAfrican culture. For countless years mask making and dancing have been part of funerals, wedding ceremonies, crop harvesting and a host of other rituals.

Dancing in masks,  people ask spirits for rain, for health, rich harvest, they ask for a blessing. Locals do believe that spirits of ancestors guide and protect people and control nature. Festima appeared as the result of people’s desire to preserve the ancient mask-making tradition as opposed to the rapidly developing world that dictates its rules.

While surfing the Internet, chatting on Facebook and posting zillions of meaningless photos, people forget about something essential – our culture and traditions. That is why in 1996 students in Burkino Faso were inspired to create Festima, as a way for artisans and dancers to get together and revitalize African traditions that were jeopardized and are still in danger of disappearing.

They also formed the Association for the Protection of Masks. Therefore Festima grew significantly and began to attract myriads of people. At the beginning this event was mostly visited by people from Western Afrika, now it is swarmed by thousands of tourists.

Highlights of Festima Festival

The International Festival of Masks and Arts is held every two years, in 2020 it takes place in Dédougou, Burkina Faso from the 27th of February to the 6rd of  March.

Traditionally festival starts with the frantic parade of dancing masks. Numerous troupes from Burkina Faso, The Ivory Coast, Benin, Gambia, Togo, Senegal, and Mali come to participate in this event.

During this procession  the city becomes an epicenter of rhythmic, indigenous afrobeats and dancers clad in huge wooden masks and elaborate costumes, made of feathers, straw, and bark. It looks like the mask controls the mind of a dancer and moves his body as it wishes.

Some spectators say that participants are in trance, others claim that during the parade dancers are just the vessels for spirits. What is going on during that time, can’t be compared to any other event in the world.

The energy of the festival will send a chill up your spine and from the very first minute till the last, you will not take your eyes off this magnetic show of masks. When the parade is finished, and the participants leave the stage, it doesn’t mean that it is the end of the festival. Troupes continue drumming and dancing through the streets of  Dédougou.

Festima

Festima

Festima

Also, Festima includes  “cabaret nights” during which the eloquence of various “griots” (storytellers) is tested in front of the vigorous audience.

Another highlight of the International Festival of Masks and Arts is the “market of the communities”, where you can find an excellent authentic souvenir. Craftsmen sell woven baskets, beaded jewelry, traditional clothes, and of course colorful wooden masks.

Then, how without tasting some local cuisine? It is a must for every self-respecting traveler. Take a bite of some lush dishes like “kedjenou” ( piquant slowly-cooked stewed chicken with tomatoes and peppers).

But first of all you should try “poulet on the bicyclette”, which means chicken on the bicycle. It is a grilled wild chicken and one of the most popular dishes in the region. Speaking of drinks, you can quench your thirst with ginger juice or a sweet cold drink, called “bissap”.

To continue the dancing festivity, you should join a night party. Just follow the crowd and bust a groove to the beat. However, naturally you can carouse and party whole night, but it is recommended not to abuse alcohol too much if you want to get home safe and meet the new day without a hangover.

Important Things To Know Before Visiting Festima

In the end, not very pleasant, but important information for you. Please, keep in mind that the festival is held not in the country from the top 10 of the safest countries. Check the news about West Africa, if you don’t want to appear in the hotbed of epidemy.

Going to the festival, make sure to take preventative measures against such mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever in order to elude unexpected problems, relish the exquisite African traditions to the fullest and get only good memories.

But despite some not inspiring facts mentioned above, it is not fair to avoid one of the most fascinating mask festivals in the world. If there are some circumstances that don’t contribute to a safe vacation in West Africa in 2018, visit the International Festival of Masks and Arts festival next time, but visit, as it is WORTH visiting!

People in Dédougou are always happy to welcome new visitors, to share their culture with other people. This festival is made to get you out from your laptop, to remind you that you are a part of Real world with Real people, its culture, and traditions.

Juhannus (Midsummer) 2020

Juhannus

What is the biggest holiday in Finland? Christmass, Easter?…Nah.
Juhannus or Midsummer is the most anticipated holiday in Finland. It is very probable that you also celebrate Midsummer in your country or something similar to it. However, in Finland, the celebration goes way different from what you may expect. Officially Juhannus can be called Midsummer, Nightless Night, White Night, unofficially it is known as the Finnish Madness, the Sauna-And-Beer-Day or Cottage Party Day.

FINNISH MIDSUMMER: TRUTH OR FALSE. RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY OR BOOZE-UP?

TRUTH. Juhannus has pagan roots. This holiday goes back to the days when ancient Finns believed in the god Ukko, the god of weather, harvest, and fertility. Before Christianity came to Finland, the holiday was called Ukon juhla, and people lit huge kokko (bonfire) not only to warm up and dance around the fire but to honor Ukko and ask for the bountiful harvest. When the Christian came, the holiday was renamed to Juhannus in order to commemorate the birth of John the Baptist (called Johannes Kastaja in Finish). However, despite the advent of Christianity in Scandinavia, some pagan traditions remained.

FALSE. Nowadays it is mistaken to consider Juhannus a religious holiday. Although it can be considered as a mix of Christianity and ancient pagan traditions, in fact, this is the time when all the families and friends unite to celebrate, to escape from daily routine and simply enjoy the humble nordic summer.

TRUTH. Finns drink a lot on Midsummer. This is the period when beer and vodka flow infinitely. For many people, the synonym to the Juhannus is a combo of endless midsummer drinking and inevitable hangover. If you do not know how to drink, better do not experiment.

RURAL OR URBAN MIDSUMMER?

TO THE COUNTRYSIDE!

On Juhannus most of the locals head to their cottages by a lake. They change the hustle and bustle of the city for nature, barbecue, drinking and chatting with dear people. Locals usually invite their relatives and friends to go to their summer cottage. If you are not that lucky person,  but you still want to celebrate Juhannus the way Finns do it, there is another option. To avoid staying in the ghost town, you may rent the cottage, there are plenty of them. But to be honest, a weekend in the Finnish summer cottage might cost you an arm and a leg. That is definitely not an option for a solo traveler. Obviously, if to rent a cottage, it is better to do it with friends, and way in advance.

Midsummer/Juhannus

If the luck is on your side and you are about to celebrate Juhannus in the countryside, here is a short list of things to do. The first thing you should experience is Finnish sauna. Sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture and Juhannus festivities. Usually, cottages have traditional saunas where you follow the standard process: warming up the sauna, relaxing and socializing with a couple of drinks or more, whipping yourself with ‘vihta’ (a bundle of fresh birch twigs) and skinny dipping in the nearby waters.

Midsummer/Juhannus

Besides melting in the sauna, you may look around and explore the abundance of nature around you. Picking berries, going boating and fishing are very common midsummer activities in the countryside.

And of course, Juhannus is impossible without making a bonfire. Bonfires served to protect people and domestic animals from evil powers, bad fortune and to enhance the harvest and fertility. The tradition remained, but despite the beliefs of ancestors in the energy of magic of bonfires, nowadays the main reason why people lit the bonfires is simply to sit around the fire, tell stories, sing songs and cook sausages or fish you have just caught.

NON-COUNTRYSIDE WAY OF CELEBRATING MIDSUMMER

Spending Juhannus in the cottage near the lake is definitely a very Finish way of celebrating Juhannus. But if you do not want to splurge on a lovely cottage, you may go to a small island with an open-air museum, called Seurasaari, which is just five kilometers from downtown Helsinki. First of all, it is a cheaper option for both children and adults to enjoy the Nightless Night. Children under the age of 15 can enter the celebration free of charge, as for adults, the ticket will cost about 20-30 (note, that to rent the cottage on the weekend will cost  300+).

Midsummer/Juhannus

In Seurasaari you will experience a traditional midsummer event in the cozy and relaxed atmosphere of rural buildings, farmsteads, and cottages. There as well as in the countryside you will have an opportunity to gain a few kilos with the help of pancakes, hot potatoes, smoked fish, grilled meat, and beer. However, you may easily get rid of that recently gained weight by dancing with locals to the lively folk music. The highlight of the event is the charming Midsummer wedding in the old church of Seurasaari. The wedding waltz of the newlywed couple is probably the most romantic part of the celebration. The apogee of the Juhannus is lighting up a giant bonfire, which makes people start dancing with renewed vigor.

Another way to celebrate the Juhannus for those who are not interested in relaxing in the mosquito-infested area is going to one of the numerous parties and music festivals. Tantalising Music Festivals for every taste and pocket are held during and after Midsummer. Some of the music festivals you would like to visit are the  Gergiev Festival MikkeliMusic in Ruovesi or the Haapavesi Folk Music Festival. The most popular one remains being the midsummer festival Kalajoen Juhannus that gathers thousands of people to welcome summer in a huge party with various genres of music, from techno, pop to classic Finnish rock.

ONLY FOR WOMEN. MIDSUMMER MAGIC TRICKS

Midsummer is considered to be a time for magic tricks and rituals. Even nowadays it is popular among young girls to do some tasks and tricks on Midsummer Eve to meet or at least to find out something about their love. One of the far-reaching traditions is bending naked over the well in order to see the reflection of your future husband.  Also, it is said that if the girl rolls around naked on a dewy field, she will meet her true love very soon.

But you may avoid these nudity rituals and try something more simple and safe.  It is common among young ladies to pick seven or nine different flowers and then put them under that pillow with the hope to see their betrothed and beloved in a dream. Another method to see the future husband in a dream is to eat salty food before sleep. The girl is supposed to get thirsty and the one who brings her water in a dream is her future husband.

There are some other tricks, but they do not guarantee the reliable information, and definitely, no magic in the world will attract somebody you like. We are all people, so naive and vulnerable sometimes, nevertheless, let’s do not rely much on the so-called “midsummer magic”.

WELL PLANED IS HALF DONE

1. Find some time for small, yet necessary preparations for your trip to Finland on Midsummer. First of all, decide which kind of Juhannus celebration you like more, partying at the music festival or relaxing in the cottage with a lakeside sauna.

2. Whether you go to the countryside or stay in Helsinki, make sure to find the accommodation beforehand. That will help you to avoid stress, headache, and fully enjoy Juhannus instead.

3. As far as Juhannus is the national holiday, many shops and some small pharmacies will be closed. Therefore, do not forget to check out the schedule of the local shops and pharmacies, and buy everything you need beforehand as well. Also, in order to get successfully to your midsummer destination, it is important to check the schedule of buses and trains. Agree, that it would be extremely frustrating to stay in Helsinki when your friends are waiting for you with beer and food, but you have missed your bus due to your laziness to check the schedule of public transport in advance.

4. Of course, Juhannus as any holiday will be not a holiday without a plenty of alcohol. However, too much alcohol and calm lakes of Finland may play a bad trick on you. Annually several instances of drowning on Midsummer are reported, which should motivate you to find a balance between fun and drinking yourself to death literally.

5. The weather in Finland is unpredictable. If it is summer, it does not really mean hot and sunny in Finland. Though, Finns do not mind much and continue partying despite all the obstacles, because it is Juhannus, and it is a must to party! So, we wish you a good weather and only positive vibes. Onnea! Good Luck!

In 2020 Juhannus takes place on the 20th of June. It is high time to pack your luggage and off to Finland!

Hyvää Juhannusta! Happy Midsummer!

Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi 2020

Diablos Danzantes

Devils parade through the streets, shake maracas and beat drums. It looks like all the evil came out from Inferno to mischief and have fun among people. But no, in fact, it is Venezuela’s one of the biggest catholic holidays – Corpus Christi, renowned all over the world for devil masked frantic dancing.

The idea of the festival is to celebrate the victory of good over evil. However, the festival’s old-century tradition, Diablos Danzantes, makes an impression as if dark forces defeated good, but not vice versa. Nowhere in the world, you will find an analog to this holiday and for a good reason, Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi became recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

THE HISTORY OF DANCING DEVILS

There are different stories of how this festival emerged. Some people believe in the myth about the San Francisco de Yare brotherhood. According to that myth, hundreds of years ago there was a priest without a penny to hold the procession of Corpus Christi who said: “If there is no means nor believers to carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession, then the devils come!”. After a storm, several devils show up in front of the church. Since then in San Francisco de Yare, the tradition of dressing up as devils and dancing through the streets has appeared.

Another version, which tells about the roots of the holiday is probably a more realistic one. Historians claim that devil dancing procession originates from the combination of a Spanish religious ritual and some traditions of African slaves, that were brought from their native land, to sweat on cocoa and sugar plantations for Spanish masters. Indeed, if to analyze Diablos Danzantes with its hypnotizing drumbeats, flashy costumes and wild dancing in huge masks, it reminds a bit Festima (The International Festival of Masks and Arts) in West Africa, world-known for its eccentric mask performance.

Diablos Danzantes

Nowadays old-century tradition evolved into a huge celebration that takes place through the eleven neighborhoods in central coastal regions of Venezuela on the 9th Thursday after Holy Thursday. The traditions of celebrating Corpus Christi differ in every region.  For example, in Naiguatá, a town in Vargas, the dancers don multi-colored costumes with masks usually representing marine animals. The main specialty of the celebration in this town is the right of women to dance with men on equals, while in other regions it is strictly prohibited. No doubts that the town  Naiguatá hosts a breathtaking celebration. Other towns, like Cata, Cuyagua, Turiamo, Chuao, Patanemo, San Rafael de Orituco, Tinaquillo, San Millán can boast about not less exciting, and eye-catching festivities too. However, the biggest celebration, the most impressive and annually swarmed by myriads of tourists, takes place in San Francisco de Yare, in the state of Miranda. This event is definitely worth visiting.

Diablos Danzantes

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DANCING DEVILS OF CORPUS CHRISTI

The celebration commences on Wednesday the day before Corpus Christi with a meeting of the Devil Dancer’s Confraternity. Dancing devils gather for dancing and blessing ceremonies and prayers to protect the men and young boys who will take a part in the procession from bad lack, evil powers or any spiritual harm. Dancers are also known as “promeseros” (from Spanish “pledgers”) because they make a pledge to dance on Corpus Christi for a certain number of years or for the whole life. By dancing, people ask God for a favor, for instance, to cure their family member of long or rare disease or the one that put at risk the life of a person. When the sun comes up, the streets are filled with the dancers in red extravagant robes with accessories such as scapulars, crosses,  rosaries and of course elaborately made handcraft masks depicting devil. They parade through the city, playing mischief and dancing around to the tunes of Venezuelan cuatro (small guitar which has four strings and resembles a ukelele), maracas and drums. Closer to the midday, the masked prankish devils congregate in front of the church. There you will see the spectacular performance. In front of excited crowds, devil dancers pretend to attack the church and fight with guardians. Again and again, devils attack, but each time they are repelled. Finally, after a row of unsuccessful attacks, the devils accept defeat and kneel in front of the Eucharist to show obedience and respect. Such an ending shows the main meaning of the holiday  – the Triumph of Good over Evil.

Diablos Danzantes

Diablos Danzantes

DOS AND DON’TS AT CORPUS CHRISTI

DON’TS. Do not stop yourself from visiting Corpus Christi because of the stereotypes about Venezuela imposed on society by social media. Yes, Venezuela is not the safest place in the world, however, it does not mean that you will become a victim of a crime as soon as you cross the border of Venezuela. Just follow the simple rules: do not walk late at night through the dark street and do not abuse alcohol partying in local bars and clubs.

DOS. Do contemplate the performance of Diablos Danzantes. Do celebrate with locals and get acquainted with their unique culture and traditions.

REMEMBER, that every country can be dangerous, we are not protected from some twists and turns of our life. You never know what will happen to you next minute. However, there is no a bad country or a bad city. Every country, every city and every festival is a separate chapter in the book known under the name “Planet Earth”. “Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi” is another chapter in this book and can be another chapter in the story of your adventurous life.

On Thursday, 11th of June 2020, you are welcome to visit the Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi, which is not simply a religious holiday, but an embodiment of strong cultural identity, reverence to ancestors, traditions, and history of Venezuelan people.

Thaipusam Festival 2020

Thaipusam Festival

Do you search for something astonishing, something you have never seen? Something more than just sightseeing or booze-up at a party? Do you want to explore exotic authentic traditions that for most of the people on the entire planet will be bizarre and insane? Yes? Then be crazy enough and go to Thaipusam Festival. It’s not a festival for the weak-nerved, but for those who are able to perceive and respect, weird, yet important for locals traditions that pass from generation to generation. This stunning event will make your jaw drop and everything in your head will be upside down, but you will gain a unique experience.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THAIPUSAM FESTIVAL

Thaipusam is a tremendous and colorful Hindu festival primarily celebrated by the Tamil-speaking community to honor Lord Murugan( also known as Subramaniam), the son of Shiva and Parvati. According to the legend, this event is considered to be the birthday of Lord Murugan and the day when he defeated the demon Soorapadman, the embodiment of the evil. In general, this celebration is a time for fulfilling vows and seeking blessings, but it is definitely not an ordinary religious holiday.

In 2020 the Thaipusam festival will be held on the 8th of February in Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, and Mauritius, but the largest celebration will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Annually the thousands of tourists invade Batu Caves, where most of the festivities take place.

The Thaipusam festival lasts for three days. On the first day, early in the morning, devotees start procession from  Sri Mahamariamman Temple (in Chinatown) through the streets of Kuala Lumpur, bearing a golden chariot with a statue of Lord Subramanian. The second day participants spend walking barefoot 15 kilometers to the Batu Caves. The whole location is overcrowded, without a one-meter free place to take a breath. If you happened to be at the Thaipusam festival with family, you’d better stay away from crowds. Also as soon as you arrive at Batu Caves, you will understand why at the very beginning I described this event as the most shocking and weird and simply insane. Many people are in trance, some of them are carried by their relatives. But it is not the most flabbergasting part of this festival. The cherry on the top of this procession is the way worshipers pay penance to Lord Murugan. People pierce their skin, cheeks or tongue with vel skewers. What is more, some people even have small hooks in their backs with some fruits or any other small decorations. The bravest and the most devoted to Lord Subramaniam can be seen hung on multiple hooks while being pushed forward. Speaking about your safety: don’t make a haphazard decision to pierce your yourself with hooks. Such a ritual is definitely not for amateurs.

Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam Festival

Then devotees, their family, friends, and tourists are going upstairs to the Batu Caves, where more prayers are performed. The worshipers also bear the giant constructions called kavadis, which in Tamil literally means  ‘sacrifice at every step’. They usually carry flowers and milk. Kavadis are very heavy, sometimes the weight of kavadis can reach nearly 100 kilos. Also, it should be mentioned that before worshipers carry kavadis, they, first of all, prepare themselves spiritually, practicing celibacy, following a strict vegetarian diet and fasting for last two days before the celebration.

Thaipusam Festival

When prayers are finished, all the devotees have the screwers removed from their bodies and wounds are treated immediately. After two days of celebration at Batu Caves, all the participants go back to Sri Mahamariamman Temple accompanied by lots of performers with drums, beating out a groovy rhythm.

To GO or Not to Go?

You might have doubts whether to visit this festival or better choose another destination. We say: “GO!”. Experiencing such an astounding celebration cannot be compared to any other event on the globe. If you seek adventure and new impressions, you should come and feel the frenetic and electrifying atmosphere of the Thaipusam festival.

MARDI GRAS 2020

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, baby. Mardi Gras.
Time when all manner of weird shit
cuts loose and parties down.

— Sherrilyn Kenyon

You feel like you are trapped in the chaos, everything is upside down, you are losing your mind, surrounded by thousands of revelers throwing beads at you. You are at Mardi Gras, my friend!

However, for different people, Mardi Gras means different things. For natives, it is a lifestyle, it is in their veins, for some people it is just a day, for others it is a state holiday or an infinite series of parades. Definitely, it is mistaken to think, that it is all about booze and beads.

SO, WHAT IS MARDI GRAS AND HOW DID IT START?

As most holidays and festivals, Mardi Gras is the result of years, if not centuries of creation and evolution. It is said, that Mardi Gras traces its roots to medieval Europe. Historians say that it expanded from Rome and Venice in the 17th – 18th centuries to France. Later, that Carnival celebration appeared in the French colonies. In 1718 the French established the city of New Orleans, and by 1730, Mardi Gras had become an integral part of city’s culture. However, the earliest celebrations of Mardi Gras in New Orleans looked much different, comparing to today’s one.

Nowadays, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, if to translate from French, is known as one of the biggest, mind-blowing events in the United States. Technically, Mardi Gras is the final feasting before Lent and despite all the craziness of the event, it has been a legal holiday in Louisiana since Governor Warmoth signed the “Mardi Gras Act” in 1875.

In 2020, Mardi Gras takes place on Tuesday, February 25. First, you should understand that it is not a one-day celebration. Fat Tuesday is the final day of Carnival season, which begins on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. So, when you hear that people are going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, it means they go to see many parades and usually they start partying 2 weeks before Mardi Gras itself.

PARADES ARE INSEPARABLE PART OF MARDI GRAS, BUT NOT THE ONLY THING TO ENJOY DURING THE FESTIVAL

Walk around the city, there are lots of highlights to see. The French Quarter is not the best place to walk with children during Carnival season and it might get a bit dangerous after midnight, but you shouldn’t avoid this area. Being in New Orleans and not going to French Quarter to check the most fascinating attractions is a sin. Jackson Square, which is a heart of French Quarter, is a must-see. Here you can take a break from catching beads, take a lot of photos as a memory about New Orleans. You can also visit Ogden Museum of Southern Art with its impressive collections of photography, paintings, and ceramics. There are many walking tours you can take or you can tour the city in an open-top, double-decker bus. One more thing you will like about New Orleans during Mardi Gras is the improvised jazz performances, on the streets of the French Quarter. You can also explore Frenchmen Street, which is one of the favorite locals’ spots, full of top-notch restaurants, jazz bars and plenty more.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

DON’T MISS A CHANCE TO HAVE A TRY OF LOCAL POPULAR DISHES AND DRINKS

The first place you should go to is Café Du Monde, where you will discover one-of-a-kind New Orleans cuisine. Note, that this café is open 24 hours a day. The city’s most famous treat, that locals and visitors just can’t resist, is the beignet. You can eat it as a breakfast, snack or as dessert, it’s perfect for any time of the day. Not far from Café Du Monde is the French Market, where you can find some excellent souvenirs to bring home.

Speaking more about food attractions of the Carnival season, the real symbol and must-try of Mardi Gras was, is, and will always be King Cake. Cakes may have different fillings, but all of them have a toy baby inside. According to the tradition, the person who is given the piece with the baby inside must buy the next cake or throw the next party. Another delight of local cuisine that will make your tummy happy and will make you fall in love with Mardi Gras is the traditional Louisiana sandwich, called Po-Boy.

To wash down all the dishes, some good Sazerac will be essential. It is considered to be a strong drink, so don’t abuse unless you want to have a crawling hangover next morning.

Mardi Gras
Café Du Monde
Mardi Gras
French Market               
Mardi Gras
King Cake         
Mardi Gras
Po-Boy
Mardi Gras
Sazerac

TOP 5 TIPS FOR MARDI GRAS BEGINNER

TIP 1.  If you are planning to go for Mardi Gras, you should definitely come at least 5 days before Fat Tuesday, in order to catch parades of the most popular krewes (organizations that put on a parade or ball for the Carnival season), like Bacchus, Endymion, Zulu, Rex and many others.

TIP 2. Mind, that the parades travel across  New Orleans on different routes. They are all astonishing and indescribably impressive but remember to check times and locations so that you don’t miss the ones you have in your top list to visit. Before you go for Carnival, do a little research about such simple things as proximity to the bathroom and where to rest in order to fully enjoy every single moment of the festival.

TIP 3. Start your preparation for Mardi Gras with getting a costume to blend in with revelers. You can create your unique look at Fifi Mahony’s wig shop in the French Quarter.

TIP 4. Also, you probably heard about beads throwing or doubloons, which is a common feature of every parade. If you are Mardi Gras beginner, here is an advice for you: please, step on doubloons and wait for a moment to pick it up, if you don’t want to have your finger smashed.

TIP 5. Don’t follow stereotypes. Contrary to what many people believe, Mardi Gras Parades are not only for drunken revelers. The city and its parades are for families too (with the exception of French Quarter). Most New Orleans families come there early, bringing blankets and picnic baskets. It is common to see family picnics and BBQs on St. Charles Avenue somewhere between Napoleon Avenue and Lee Circle. If you go into this area, you will find family picnics and barbecues all along the parade route.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is probably one of the GREATEST FREE SHOWS IN THE WORLD! If not the number one. Don’t believe me? Then, come and check. Don’t procrastinate and start planning your trip right now. Time is fast, this massive, bustling, dancing, singing, non-stop celebration is just around the corner. Go and get your own impressions and unforgettable memories from New Orleans’ most joyous and fascinating festival.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

Las Fallas 2020

Las Fallas

The smell of gunpowder, the earsplitting explosions of firecrackers, enormously huge effigies burning in flickering and dancing inferno flames. What is that? The revolution? The apocalypse?  This is the most quirky, glowing and roaring festival in Valencia, Spain – Las Fallas!

THE ROOTS OF LAS FALLAS

The origin of Las Fallas is a bit vague. Some people say that the origin of Las Fallas ( ‘the fires’ from Valencian) originated from pagan rituals and tradition to burn everything old and bad from the past year in order to celebrate the equinox of spring as the symbol of revival and beginning of a new life. Others suggest that the Fallas started in the Middle Ages when Valencian artisans and carpenters used wooden structures called parots, to hang their candles on, in order to illuminate their talleres (workshops) in winter. But with the advent of the spring, parots were no longer needed, so they were burned.

Under the influences of the Church, the date of the burning of parots merged with the festival of San José, the patron saint of carpenters, and that is how las Fallas de San José appeared.

TRADITIONS OF LAS FALLAS

Since those times, the traditions have developed greatly. The parots began to obtain human forms. Therefore nowadays you can see jaw-dropping huge dummies: large puppets called fallas, and smaller puppets, called ninots, which can be found in every neighborhood of Valencia. You will be amazed by the paper-machè and polystyrene towering figures of up to 30 meters. The best carpenters spend the whole year creating the unique statues, depicting satirical scenes, Spanish celebrities, and caricatures of corrupted politicians. Such constructions remind a bit “carri allegorici”, satirical floats at Carnavale di Viareggio, Italy. Both festivals allow people to convey their emotions through art, to be free in expressing yourself and laughing at problems that you face in nowadays world. But there is a significant difference that lies in the culmination of processions. While in Italy they wrap up the celebration with dazzling fireworks, in Valencia the apogee of the festival is the burning of effigies. Although some people say that it is a waste of money to blaze such fabulous and extravagant puppets, don’t you think that there is something very stress-relieving in this burning to ashes of dolls? Nevertheless, before everything is set on fire, there is much to do and see for every visitor.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE ON LAS FALLAS

In 2020 Las Fallas is held from the 15th to 19th of March. Every day you have no choice but to wake up early in the morning at 8 am, thanks to la Despertà, local wake-up-call. Brass bands start to march down the streets playing exhilarating music. In addition, fallers throw firecrackers near people’s windows in order to wake up every one without exception. Another highlight is Mascletá, which takes place in the Plaza Ayuntamiento at 2 pm. It is a boisterous show of simultaneously exploding fireworks, that will give you a feeling of being in the very heart of earthquake.

Las Fallas
La Despertà

However, besides all the festivities that are going on, clearly that all people are looking forward to the Plantà, which occurs traditionally on the night of the 15th of March. It is a time when carpenters gather to complete to the end of the day all the installations, every single ninot, and falla. So, next day, don’t waste your time, get up with the first firecracker of la Despertà and go to explore marvelous creations of carpenters. To see some of the more intricate ones, we advise you to visit the neighborhoods of El Carmen, Ruzafa and Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

Las Fallas

Las Fallas

In addition every night from 15th to 19th of the March you can witness the spectacular, colorful fireworks show.  The night on the 18th of March, which draws most of the attention, is called the Nit de Foc (literally “The Night of Fire”). Come to the Paseo de la Alameda and relish the astonishing display of color and light.

Las Fallas
Nit de Foc

Also, having come to Las Fallas, the beautiful city of Valencia, it is a crime not to sample local paella, which is considered to be a Royal dish of Valencianos. If you are born with a sweet tooth, try popular Spanish goodies, like churros and buñuelos with chocolate. Then, if you are not faint-hearted, visit one of the bullfights, but remember that ticket should be bought in advance. In case you do like animals and see nothing fun in teasing poor bull, instead, we advise you to walk around the ancient city with its far-reaching history, socialize with locals and make some new friends.

Besides, Las Fallas is not only about eating, dancing, burning and destroying. This festival contains a religious element. On the 18th of March, you can contemplate  L’Ofrena de flors, an offering of flowers to the Virgin of the Helpless. It is a grandiose parade of falleros (male) and falleras (female) in the fanciest, elegant silk and lace dresses, bringing you somewhere to the period of Renaissance. They march slowly and solemnly to the huge wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, offering bouquets of flowers, which are then properly attached to the effigy.

Las Fallas
L’Ofrena de flors
Las Fallas
The Virgin of the Helpless

Finally, it is the 19th of March on the calendar, which means that the most anticipated day of Las Fallas has come. The climax of the festival is la Cremá. It is the fieriest event of the festival when the giant sculptures are set ablaze. Approximately at 10 pm, they set on fire smaller statues, and at midnight they mercilessly burn larger statues. You will be simply astonished by the scenery. Crowds are chanting, firemen are trying to protect the buildings, while doll-like ninots are ‘dying’ in the hellish fire. But, one ninot is saved from the destruction. This ninot is called the ninot indultat, which means the pardoned puppet. All the statues that ‘survived’, are now exhibited in Museo Fallero, which is a must-go for every tourist.

Las Fallas
La Cremá

Now different thoughts pop up in your mind. Probably, you think that Las Fallas is just a waste of the thousands of euros, and first of all, it is a waste of precious time and efforts of carpenters who poured their heart and soul in those puppets. But Valencianos take everything positively. No sad faces can be found, as this festival is a chance to burn the bridge with the past, to get rid of everything that bothered you through the year. And the approach of the spring, isn’t it a high time to write a new page in your book?

Immerse in the crazy atmosphere of smoky air, crackling firecrackers and night sky filled with infinite fireworks. Experience the freedom of life at one of the hottest and inspiring festivals! Welcome to Las Fallas!

Holi Festival 2020

Holi

Colors speak all languages.

Joseph Addison

India is known to be one of the most fascinating, colourful and bizarre countries around the globe. It is a hub of astonishing traditions, crazy cultural rituals and fabulous religious holidays that have been celebrated through centuries. This country is a country of contrasts, where bright colours, smiles, and happiness merge with dark colours, sorrow, and poverty. Nevertheless, India remains a unique and beautiful country, drawing the attention of many travelers who search for adventures and unforgettable memories.

You can come to India at any time of the year and you will be not disappointed. But in spring, the number one destination in India is Mathura and Vrindavan. There you will have an opportunity to witness one of the most colourful festivals on the globe, called Holi. First of all, Holi is a symbol of the victory of good over evil and the celebration of the advent of spring. But in fact, Holi is widely renowned as the Festival of Colours and Love, as it is a time when people can meet each other, laugh, enjoy the abundance of colours and finally it is a time when people learn to forget and forgive, to begin a new life with the arrival of spring.

As most of Hindu festivals, Holi didn’t start a few years ago, but centuries ago. It is an ancient holiday with a long history. There are numerous mythological stories and legends, revealing the origin of the festival. However, there is one, probably the most reliable legend found in the Sanskrit Manuscript of the 7th century. It tells the story of young Krishna who was very jealous about the fair skin of Radha since he has dark skin. Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda, who advised him to paint Radha’s face in various colours. Therefore, Lord Krishna and his friends decided to go to the Barsana, the village where Radha lived, and to colour Radha’s face as well as the other Gopis ( cow-herding girls) from the village. That is how the Festival of Colour started.

But going back to the story of Krishna and Radha, we should mention one more fact, the Gopis in response to Krishna’s joke, beat them with Lathis (sticks). The tradition passed the test of time and is still celebrated as Lathmar Holi at Barsana.  Lathmar Holi is probably the only chance for women to beat men, even just in a playful manner. In any case, men come prepared and usually protect themselves with shields, so nobody gets hurt. This is a very spirited and animated event, which we highly recommend to visit as a part of Holi celebration. Traditionally Lathmar Holi is held seven days before the Holi officially starts. Barsana is situated 115 kilometers from Delhi and only 50 kilometers from Mathura. The easiest way to get to the village is to hire a cab.

Holi

Another event, you shouldn’t miss is Phoolon wali holi, which is celebrated on the Ekadashi before Holi at the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan. Phoolon means flower, therefore the main peculiarity of the event is that instead of dry and wet colours, people use flowers. The temple gates are open around 4 pm after which for 15-20 minutes priests throw various colourful flowers on the devotees. This is a charming, yet short event, so in order not to miss it and capture beautiful pictures of ‘flower rain’, you should come early, just when the gates open.

Holi

To continue the parade of events that take place before and during Holi Festival, if you arrive at Vrindavan early, visit Widow’s Holi. You probably heard many horrible stories about the life of women in India. In the 21st century, it is hard to even imagine, how little rights Indian women have. Speaking of widows, for years they lived a difficult life without earthly pleasures, chained by some preposterous rules, traditions, and superstitions. Widows were isolated and forced to live in Ashrams in Varanasi and Vrindavan during the Holi Festival. Participation in celebration of colours was strictly prohibited for them. But all the rules are made to be broken. So, a few years ago women managed to break this rule and to play with colours as equals. This kind of a new tradition nowadays slowly but confidently gains popularity. More and more travelers come to Pagal Baba Widow Ashram, Vrindavan, to witness this unique celebration of colours, as the embodiment of freedom of expression of Indian Women.

Holi

Next must-go is Holi at Banke Bihari Temple, which is held on the day before the main Holi Festival. It starts in the morning and finishes in the afternoon, around 1.30 pm. The Banke Bihari Temple gates open and welcome every visitor without exception to play colours with Lord himself. The priests throw colours and holy water at people. Crowds are singing, falling in the euphoric and exhilarating atmosphere of colours. Although it is a very bright event, that may seem the friendliest event ever, be aware that celebration may become a bit uncontrolled and even a bit dangerous for women.

Holi

Around 2 pm, the Holi festivities in Vrindavan come to the end. We recommend you not to lose time and move straight to Mathura, to relish splendid Holi procession. You will see myriads of children dressed up as Radha Krishna and about ten vehicles decorated with flowers. The location looks like the battlefield of colours, all the people around play dry and wet Holi with each other and we advise you not to stand aside, but join the crowds, become a part of festivity and colour yourself completely. Let yourself be free, paint your memories in a variety of colours, make your white t-shirt a colourful masterpiece.

On the 9th of March, the evening after the Holi procession is the time for Holika Dahan, the burning of the huge effigy of Holika at the Holi Gate. People gather around the fire, sing, and dance, celebrating the victory of good over evil.

Holi

Finally, the day of the largest Holi Festival comes. In 2020 it takes place on the 10th of March at the majestic Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura. As soon as gates open, hundreds of local men and tourists, armored with dry colours, water balloons filled with colour water, water guns (pichkaris), swarm the Temple and began the “Colourful fight”. Also, people simply chill out, dancing and singing to the drumbeats. While playing colours with people, you can also try some traditional dishes, like gujiya (sweet dumpling), mathri (traditional  Indian crispy cracker), malpuas (rich, soft pancakes, soaked in saffron flavored syrup) and other delicacies. The men usually drink some beverages based on local intoxicating herbs. Bhang is known as the most popular cannabis drink in India. That is actually the reason why you will not see a lot of women at the festival. You can also try bhang, but of course, we advise not to abuse. There is much more fun, being sober and conscious sometimes. Do not experiment with your body.

HOLI TIPS

  •  Be ready for the colour attack, as you are going to go to the epicenter of “a colourful downpour”;
  •  If you want to take beautiful shots of Holi Festival  and save your camera, waterproof plastic covers will come in handy;
  •  Wear old clothes, as it will be destroyed after festival anyway;
  •  Being the woman you need to be extremely careful, in order not to get into trouble ( remember that most of the men take bhang);
  • Wear a cap in order to protect your hair from complete damage.
  • If you are allergic, be careful, as nowadays many water and powder colours are made from chemicals, not from plants, like it used to be. Consult a doctor as soon as you see some skin irritation.

If you don’t mind literally becoming a walking canvas, go to Holi, and bring colours into your life!

Welcome to the Festival of Infinite Colours!

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake 2020

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

There are so many hilarious stereotypes about British people, some of them true, but most of them are false. And when the whole world sees British as reserved, tight-lipped and calm, I can argue about it. I will prove the British are not emotionally dead, they can be upset, excited and even crazy. Don’t believe me? Then check out one of the weirdest events in Great Britain — Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. When normal people eat cheese, British roll it down from the cliff-like hill, running to catch it as if it is made from gold. The coolest fact about this festival, that this cheese insanity is contagious, as people from all over the world annually come not only to watch but to take a part in this competition.

The origins of this event are not clear. Most of the people believe that it originates from pagan rituals of celebrating the arrival of spring. However, nowadays, people are more focused on the very event, than its roots. In 2020, it will be held on 25th of May, traditionally in Brockworth, United Kingdom.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM COOPER’S HILL CHEESE-ROLLING AND WAKE

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

The cheese madness starts at 12 pm, but we recommend to come much earlier, in order to get a nice spot where you can contemplate this event. The center of the whole festivity is a 9 pounds of round Double Gloucester cheese.

As soon as the cheese is sent rolling down the hill, contestants start running down Cooper’s Hill in the chase after round Double Gloucester cheese. The aim of participants is to survive and to catch the cheese. We say “to survive” because this round cheese may reach the speed up to 110 kilometers per hour. Trying to get it, people fall, stumble or fall head over heels through the uneven rough ground, with very often numerous injuries in the result. That is why there were attempts to prohibit the event, but locals protected their old-century tradition, and instead of disappearing, this event gained even more popularity. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake has been held for many years and the only thing that has changed, for the reasons of safety, is the cheese which since 2013 is replaced by a foam replica. At the end of the competition, the lucky man crosses the finish line and wins the cheese, but a real one, not its replica.

As far as you understood from our vivid description above, this race in pursuit of cheese is definitely not for the faint of heart, but only for brave or who is out of his mind. Though, if you want you can easily participate, without any registrations and preparations, all you need to do is to show up and say that you came to get that cheese. And, by the way, not only men can take a part in cheese race. Usually, there are five downhill races( four for men, one for women), and also one uphill race, but the number of races and the timetable varies from year to year. Anyway, before taking part in this insanity, think three times, don’t overestimate yourself and don’t underestimate the tricky steep hill. We will remind you one more time that this traditional British competition never goes alone, but with a host of bruises and scratches, if you are lucky, and if you are not, then with the dislocated shoulders, twisted ankles and a number of broken bones. The whole day during the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake can be perfectly summarised as ” twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital”. That is how the author of The Sydney Morning Herald described the renowned cheese race in his article “Return to edam”. Nevertheless, we don’t have an intention to keep you away from participating in Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. We just want to tell, that watching this astonishing event is not less thrilling experience than participating in it.

Instead, we suggest you come and see everything with your own eyes and understand what people risk their lives for. We suppose some people do it for fun, others in order to have what to say to grandchildren or simply to brag, of course in case they won. For locals, it is a legacy from their ancestors, which they cherish and protect for years. And what do you think about Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake? Don’t hesitate and go for your next adventure in the picturesque village of  Brockworth.

Snowbombing Festival 2018

Snowbombing-Festival

Austria is a stunning country with endless possibilities. You can go to the ball in Vienna, or explore the picturesque countryside and enjoy the fascinating mountain landscape. This country is in the top list of best countries for unforgettable vacation. However, if you want to enrich your mundane life with the incredible fusion of top-notch world-known DJs and bands, in the idyllic alpine setting of one of Europe’s finest ski resorts, you are to visit Snowbombing, an incredible one-of-a-kind five-day snowy music festival, which in 2018 takes place from the 9th to 14th April.

The festival is relatively young. It was first held at the Risoul Ski Resort, but in 2005, the festival changed its location and moved to the Tyrolean resort of Mayrhofen in Austria, its current location. Since then the festival has evolved into Europe’s largest snow and music festival that is annually crammed by thousands of party-goers and ski lovers.

THE HUB OF NON-STOP PARTIES

Numerous exquisite parties create the uplifting atmosphere of the Snowbombing Festival. Wherever you go, you will find a party to your liking. The parties are usually held in various venues, therefore you can jam with your friends at real igloo party, mind-bending forest raves and amusing pool parties.

The Racket Club, an underground tennis center transforms into a night-club that hosts the headliners of the festival.

It is already revealed, that in 2018 Liam Gallagher and Pendulum will headline Austrian event. Other artists that are going to charge the people with electrifying music vibes are  Dizzee Rascal, Anna Wall, Jax Jones, Disciples, Bicep, Hak Baker, Peggy Gou and Craig David’s legendary TS5 set and plenty more. It is a sin to miss this musical madness.

Also, you can join other revelers at the Arctic Disco at the top of the mountain. It is literally one of the coolest parties on the globe with stars so close that you can almost touch them. You can dance off in the igloo to the burning beats of famous DJs, sip hot mulled wine and cocktails in the ice bar, or simply chill out in fur rugs near the bonfire.

Next highlight of the Snowbombing is the Waldfestplatz or Forest Party, is an amazing outdoor venue in the middle of the woods, surrounded by tall pines and taking place on the old wooden stage on the edge of the hill. There you can enjoy the spirited atmosphere with DJs spinning tunes to make all the people unite in hot dancing. Also there you will find old traditional Austrian snacks turned into food stalls and bars where you can fuel yourself with some delicacies. Speaking of food, you can also go to the Podcast Pyramid, which is an excellent restaurant and superb party venue at 2225 m. It is constructed in the form of a pyramid with a staggering view over Penken ski area. The main specialty of this restaurant is that it serves delectable dishes made only from organic ingredients that are brought from the owners’ own farm down in the valley.  It will be not an exaggeration to say that Mayrhofen is a place where you can feel foodgasm.

Next, must-go for you is the Snowbombing Street Party, which is considered to be the largest fancy dress party in Europe. To blend in with Snowbombers in the anything-goes wild atmosphere you should don your brightest carnival costume and let loose. But before going to the festival, don’t forget to check the lineup again, to find out the theme of the dress party.

Snowbombing-Festival

Snowbombing-Festival

SNOWBOMBING IS NOT ONLY ABOUT PARTIES!

For those who want to relax after rowdy parties, there is no better place than one of the numerous pools, luxurious saunas and Spa, rooftop Jacuzzi offering breathtaking views of the majestic Alps.

Another way to find a piece and harmony is Alpine Yoga. This is a great opportunity to learn to feel your body,  to merge with nature and fill yourself with positive energy.

When you got tired of lying in Spa, you can take part in a host of wacky and extremely amusing games. The truly courageous Snowbombers are welcome to compete in Snowlympics. It is a series of games that require persistence, strength and being ready to fall all the time on your butt in the snow. You may participate in different games from the snowball fight to sumo wrestling. Snowlympics is a really fun, entertaining both for competitors and spectators.

Also during the Snowbombings, traditionally takes place a three-day snowboarding and ski competition known as the Ride & Seek, where pro riders compete, showing their best flips and tricks, to win the Snowbombing title and monetary prize. You have to see it, it is an astonishing competition that will catch your attention from the first second to the last.

Snowbombing-Festival

Although there are a lot of competitions to watch and take part, you can simply go with your friends to ski or ride a snowboard, enjoying show-powdered perfectly groomed pistes. And if you are not scared of heights and search for adrenaline, you can try Paragliding over fabulous views of the Austrian Alps.

In Mayrhofen, there is also an option of Snow Limo, which is an accessible way of exploring mountains for everyone. You don’t need to be a snowboarder or skier all you need to do is to sit back, relax, and rely on your guide.

Snowbombing-Festival

While enjoying the beauties of the Tyrolean resort, don’t miss the opportunity to meet your love at Chairlift Speed Dating. And being at the Snowbombing Festival, it is a must to attend the daily warm-up sessions of fitness guru Mr. Motivator.

Snowbombing-Festival

Now when you know what to expect from the festival, don’t procrastinate, the tickets sell like hotcakes. Book your ticket right now! Prices start from £299, but this ticket is not just your pass for the festival, this is a package which comprises accommodation and a festival ticket. Detailed information about how to get to the Mayrhofen is given on the official website of the Snowbombing Festival, check it to find the best, most suitable transportation mode for you. Think beforehand of what you would like to visit firsthand, to enjoy to the fullest the Snowbombing’s combination of copious parties, games, gourmet restaurants, flawless pistes, and infinite music, which attracts thousands of people each year to escape from daily routine to the fragrant pine forests of the magnificent Austrian Alps.

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival 2020

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival

Are you ready for the biggest, the wettest water festival ever? Bring water balloons, squirt guns, any kind of spray bottle, or simply a bucket. Fill all you have with water, and let the Water Fight begin!!!!!

In April Thailand is transformed into the battlefield, where people ruthlessly attack each other with water. This wacky event is known as the Songkran Festival. However this festival can be observed from two sides, and in fact, carries a deeper meaning than water mischief.

TRADITIONAL SONGKRAN

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival

Songkran is the Traditional Buddhist New Year, celebrated from 13 to 15 April. It is considered to be introduced by Brahmins ( priests, scholars of Vedic literature) from India and its name, “Songkran”, can be translated from Sanskrit as change or transformation. That is why on the Songkran people try to get rid of old possessions, sorrows, and problems of past year and move forward. Also in the New Year, Thais go home, to pay respect to monks, family, friends, neighbors. Celebrating Buddhist New Year, people may also go to pray to the temples and wats. They also clean the images of Buddha on house shrines and local temples, carefully pouring them with scented water, as they believe that cleansing can bring good luck and prosperity. In addition, in Chiang Mai, you can see brightly adorned floats with Buddha, which people also shower with water. And, of course, people spill water on each other,  giving the blessing, purifying from bad luck and protecting from evil spirits. Eventually, due to this ritual, the Traditional Buddhist New Year evolved into the tremendous Water Fight.

MODERN SIDE OF THE SONGKRAN

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival

Nowadays, the spiritual aspect remains, but the first association with word ‘Songkran’ is not anymore the Traditional Buddhist New Year, but a three-day water fight. Generally, The Songkran is celebrated in every corner of Thailand and in some other countries. If you are in Thailand on the Songkran, we can recommend you the best cities to celebrate the New Year and to take a part in the water-battle.

Bangkok is definitely in the Top 5. It can boast of its numerous party and crazy atmosphere with flying water. You can also go to  Pattaya City, where usually the Beach Road is cut off to traffic and live music stages are set up to entertain the revelers. For those who want to lie in the sun, feel the breeze coming off the sea, Phuket is number one beach destination. Bangla Road and  Patong Beach are the main hotspots of Phuket during Songkran, however, at night this area is not for an audience under 18, so don’t bring kids. In case you want to enjoy less wild parties, you might like to go to Koh Samui. This is a perfect place to celebrate Thailand’s New Year if you travel with kids.

All the cities we mentioned above have their charm and can compete for the title of the city with the best water parties, but still, the city that can be considered the synonym to the Water Fight Festival is Chiang Mai. We strongly advise this city for those who go to celebrate the New Year in Thailand for the first time.

Chiang Mai is a combination of old spiritual traditions and beliefs with water frenzy. During Songkran, in Chiang Mai, you can be drenched in any part of the city, when you go to the restaurant, or get out of the taxi. Don’t get angry, people do it with good intentions, instead get your water weapon and attack in return. And actually, there is no way you or your friends will get angry. April is one of the hottest months in Thailand and being showered with water is a blessing indeed. You don’t want anything so much as water. In such scorching days, water is the best medicine to be taken both orally and externally.  To soak in water and refresh yourself most of the people go the Old City near Tha Pae Gate, gathering at the moat, used as a water refill station. People fill up with water the weapons of purification and shoot, saying “Suk san wan Songkran!”, which means “Happy New Year!”

Except, for the water fights, don’t miss the painted elephants’ parade and the Miss Songkran beauty contest.  Simply walk around the moat, and have a bite of some local delicacies. To party to the fullest, you can head to  Huaykaew Road, where usually a few stages are set up, that can brag about Thailand’s most popular DJs, pop, and rock bands. The epicenter of nightlife in Chiang Mai, which people swarm when the sun goes down is Nimmanhaemin Road. This area is famous for its numerous clubs and mind-boggling parties. In general, wherever you go in the New Year, Chiang Mai will have smth for you, you will enjoy these three days and probably will have a desire to come back again the next year.

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival

   HOW TO SURVIVE ON THE SONGKRAN FESTIVAL

  1. First of all, don’t go on the street without your water gun. If you don’t have it, don’t worry, as there are myriads of vendors who will help you to solve this problem.
  2. Don’t wear your best clothes, no flamboyant fancy costumes are needed. Wear simple clothes that will get dry quickly.
  3. The water is everywhere so bring a waterproof camera or a waterproof case for your cell phone.
  4. Streets may get flooded, so we recommend you to wear waterproof shoes instead of sandals, that may get broken easily.
  5. People don’t throw the pure water from a mountain spring, so to complete your outfit, you can wear swimming goggles, to protect your eyes from possible eyes infection. However, word “possible” doesn’t mean it will really happen to you. In addition, avoid swallowing the water, in order to avoid any stomach problems.

Experience the cocktail of unique Thai traditions with the craziest Water Fight.  The Songkran guaranties only good mood and exhilarating, spirited atmosphere.

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