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Lights, rangoli, crackers, yummy mithai, gifts, shopping, family get-together, and card parties makes this a festival to look forward to. While, I was preparing for Diwali in full swing I was staggered by a question – Do people celebrate such kind of light festival in other parts of the world?
Needless to say, I halted my Diwali preparations midway and started researching till I got the answer. You know how restless bloggers like me are 🙂
Interestingly, I found not one or two but 13 festivals of light quite similar to Diwali in format celebrated across the world. And, most of them like Diwali are held in winter.Some, even spooky!
This makes me think how different yet similar we are. Ok, not getting too philosophical I present to you the list of 13 Diwali like festivals of lights from across the world. Take a cue and plan your winter holidays around them.
1.Lantern Festival of China
Also called ‘Shangyuan Festival’, Lantern Festival is celebrated on January 15 of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is also regarded as the last day of Spring Festival—the new festival of China. On this day, beautiful lanterns, mainly in red, can be seen hanging around everywhere. Acrobats, clowns, parades, music, and of course the Chinese Lion and Dragon Dances make this festival a must-attend.
2.Loy Krathong Festival, Thailand
One of the most picturesque festivals in Thailand is the festival of Loy Krathong, when people gathered around river to release their beautifully lotus shaped rafts (Krathong) in water. They adorn their raft with a candle, three-joss sticks, some flowers and coins. It is believed that Krathong carry away bad luck and evil powers. The festival is celebrated in November on a full moon light in. The breathtaking sight of thousands of Krathongs and their flickering candles floating on the water glimmering under a full moon night, is truly magical.
3.Las Fellas, Spain
Like its name, this unique fire festival showcases yet another fun-filled aspect of Spain’s amazing culture. It is commemorated as a feast day which is celebrated in the honor of St. Jospeh. The festival marks the end of evil powers, called ninots, which are made up of wood and cardboard. Later these are put into fire symbolically marking the end of evil. Sounds like our Dussehra, isn’t it?
4.Festivals of Lights, Berlin
Celebrated in October, this festival transforms Berlin into multihued illuminated artifacts which are always known for their spellbound beauty. This along with a series of cultural events and a great spread of sumptuous dishes make it a complete festival.
5.Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Japan
Japanese love to celebrate their festivals with pomp and lights in myriad of hues. However, if I have to pick one of them, it would surely be this festival-Aomori Nebuta Matsuri. On this festival, beautiful parades are held across the Aomori city where huge colorful floats are illuminated while the background reverberates with traditional Japanese music. The ambience and grandeur of the festival is instilled with patriotic feelings.
6.The Venice Carnival, Italy
Undeniably, it is one of the most colorful festivals throughout the world. The Venice Carnival, Italy is all about drama. Unique masks, parties on the go, live band, colorful boats, massive light decorations, and music and dance are the highlights of this event. This is one party you should definitely plan to go.
7.Festival of Lights, East Peoria
East Peoria kicks off the holiday season in great fun and mirth. This two-month long festival has made Thanksgiving Day so much fun. Colorful parades, amazing laser shows, illuminated floats and hundreds of cultural events jazz up the spirits of people who throng from different parts of the world to witness its grande.
8.Day of the Dead, Mexico
It is a day when dead relatives are allowed to return to their loved ones for two days. Living people welcome the spirits of their family members with yummy food and beverages. Graveyards are decorated with lights and flowers. The entire family gathers in the graveyard to take their family members (of course dead ones!). Spooky, isn’t it? Celebrating in the graveyard!
9.Bala Chaturdashi, Nepal
Every year in late November or early December, this festival is celebrated in Nepal at Pashupatinath Temple near Kathmandu. An all night vigil by the light of small wick lamps marks the onset of celebrations.
The last day of each year is celebrated in Scotland as Hogmanay. From traditional fireworks and torchlight procession to street parties with live band, this festival is quite popular among people. It is believed that the blazing fire burns the spirits of previous year while inviting new spirits for the next year. A new-year party that you shouldn’t miss!
11.Keene Pumpkin Festival, Greece
Held in late October, it is an extension of the Halloween celebrations wherein competition of pumpkin pyramid making is organized. The highlight of the event is pumpkin pyramid lightning. There are games, live music, delectable food, and the (most important) beer garden. Due to the last year’s riot, in 2015, this festival was celebrated in Laconia.
12.Festival of Lights, France
Now this is one such festival that shares quite resembles Indian Diwali celebration. In France, people celebrate Lyon’s Heritage with lots of lights. People illuminate their windows with candles and creatively decorate the entire city.
If Lakshmi Puja, crackers and sweets mark the beginning of Diwali, then Hanukkah does the same but in a “tasty” manner. Jewish celebrated the festival to commemorate the redirection of their pious temple in Jerusalem. It is eight-day long celebration which is more like homecoming of people. Candelabrum with nine branched Hanukkah is kept lighted for these days. Along with this, a table full of yummy delicious is set to tickle the taste buds.
A very happy and prosperous Diwali to all my readers!
Did I miss any festival that deserves to be here? Do tell me in the comment section below.
Picture Credit: Photopin, Creative Commons