Special Report

The Most Popular Carnivals in the World

Source: DeluXe-PiX / Getty Images

26. Oktoberfest
> Location: Germany
> Dates: September 21 – October 6, 2019

Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world, with about 6 million attendants yearly. The largest beer tent holds 10,000 people and tourists are encouraged to download the Oktoberfest App to navigate the fairgrounds and keep track of their entourage. In addition to colorful parades of floats and carriages, the festival features a Riflemen’s Procession, old-style fair rides, Bavarian folk music in every tent, and thousands of sausages, pretzels, and gingerbread.

Source: isitsharp / Getty Images

27. Crop Over Festival
> Location: Barbados
> Dates: May 4 – August 5, 2019

Crop Over is festival in Barbados that was traditionally held to celebrate the end of sugar cane season, but since the ’70s has become the largest music and cultural festival on the island. Highlights are the Foreday Morning Jam, where participants paint their bodies and dance until dawn, and Grand Kadooment Day, the final celebration parade of masquerade bands, decked-out dancers, and music trucks.

Source: andreakirkby / Flickr

28. Binche Carnival
> Location: Belgium
> Dates: March 3 – 5, 2019

This pre-Lent carnival in Belgium is perhaps the most unique carnival on our list, featuring folkloric traditions including a children’s confetti battle, a ritualistic throwing of oranges, and some very quirky straw-filled costumes. More than a thousand inhabitants of Binche dress up as one of the four traditional festival characters: The Peasants, the Harlequins, the Pierrots and the Gilles. Gilles can only walk with a drum beat, and are the stars of the Shrove Tuesday celebration when they must dance through the town drinking champagne at numerous stops along the way.

Source: olli0815 / Getty Images

29. Basel Carnival
> Location: Switzerland
> Dates: March 11 – 13, 2019

Basel Carnival is the largest in Switzerland, drawing 200,000 spectators and featuring up to 20,000 local masked and costumed participants in the parade of floats, carriages, and fife and drum bands. The carnival’s spirit is one of satire, where people of all ages and political persuasions participate in parodizing cultural and political blunders.

Source: ake1150sb / Getty Images

30. Yi Peng Festival
> Location: Thailand
> Dates: November 13, 2019

The Yi Peng (also seen as Yee Ping) Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is usually held in mid-November on the full moon of the last month on the Thai calendar. On this night, thousands of people gather to release candle-lit paper lanterns into the sky and into the Ping River as a symbol of letting go of the previous year and inviting good fortune in the new year.

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