These 10 traditional night-time festivals are representative of cultures around the world, and each city or country are well worth a visit – from celebrations of life and rebirth to sacred rituals of cleansing and purification. The Finest Magazine will bring you some favorite international nocturnal festivals across the globe.
New Year’s Eve, Brazil
New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro
Beaches are popular places to celebrate New Year’s Eve as it is the place that can accommodate millions of people. Therein, Copacabana Beach in the city of Rio de Janeiro has the most famous New Year celebrations. On New Year’s Eve, over two million people head to Copacabana Beach to enjoy the fireworks display and dance the samba. Later, the locals will dress mostly in white and cast out offerings to Iemanjá, the Goddess of the Sea. There are paper boats floating with perfume, flowers, rice and loads of floating candles lighting up the beautiful night.
Chichibu Yomatsuri, Japan
Winter festival Chichibu Yomatsuri in Japan
Held annually on December 2nd and 3th, this is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. Six floats are ornately decorated with lanterns, tapestries, and carvings; each represents one of Chichibu’s protective gods. During the festival, hundreds of chanting devotees will pull these floats towards the city hall on ropes. There will also be snacks and rice wine to be sold by several stalls on the streets and fireworks to be set off to the winter black sky.
New Year’s Eve in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam is one of the countries in the world that celebrate Lunar New Year. In the last days of a lunar year, people in Vietnam clean and decorate their houses with colorful items, making a festive atmosphere. A traditional sticky rice cake called banh chung will be prepared in the northern area white banh tet will be cooked in the southern provinces. On New Year’s Eve, family members gather together waiting for midnight with all the expectation of a happy and successful new year to come and let go of all the troubles of the past year. Some people go out to enjoy the celebratory fireworks displays in parks and public places while others stay at home beginning ancestor worship ceremonies.
White Nights Festival, Russia
Fireworks celebrate White Nights Festival
The White Nights Festival is a famous annual festival of Russia held in the St. Petersburg, the world’s famous city of culture and arts. It consists of several international art events such as classic ballet, opera and music performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors along with famous international guest stars. The peak of this festival season is the Scarlet Sails celebration which is the largest public event in Russia with approximately one million people attended including local and international students.
People wear oak leaves in Jani festival
Jani festival held to mark the beginning of midsummer and people across Latvia celebrate it in the most joyous way they can with a lot of fun activities. In the Latvian town of Kuldiga, people run naked through the streets while in other places, they wear crowns of flowers or oak leaves and celebrate with medicinal Jani-herbs and bonfires. Moreover, they also use straw torches to drive away evil spirits.
Noche de Brujas, Mexico
Witches and healers gather to perform cleansing rituals as part of the Night of the Witches festival
The festival of Noche de Brujas, also known as the Night of the Witches, is Catamaco’s annual celebration. During the night, witches, wizards, fortune-tellers, and healers gathering in town spread in various stalls. With some money, you can cast a spell, bestow a curse or cure your ills with herbs.
San Juan, Spain
People are dancing around bonfire in the Festival of San Juan
Spain is lightened up with fire and music fills the streets during the festival of San Juan. Bonfires which are blazed at night to celebrate the start of summer it is believed to burn all your troubles away when you jump over them for three times during the night.
Summer Solstice, United Kingdom
A full moon rises behind Glastonbury Tor as people gather to celebrate the summer solstice
Glastonbury Tor’s legend has been existed from the Arthurian times. This mystical hill has been rising strangely above its flat surroundings, making a remarkable point for the Druid community and their solstice ceremony. On Midsummer’s Eve, people make a circle on the Tor where children throw petals, holy water is spread and the activity is blessed with fire.
Day of the Dead, Mexico
Day of the Dead festival 2015
The belief behind this festival is that the souls of people who have passed to the underworld can come back to visit. Masks, painted faces and brightly coloured decorations make up the celebration. In details, sugar skulls represent the fact that in death people are all the same no matter what. Mexican people also believe that birth and death are a continuum and so the dead would rather be celebrated either for whom they loved in life.
Lantern Festival, China
Floating lanterns in the festival
On the 15th January of a new Chinese year, lanterns can be seen all over the place across China. There are various types of lanterns from traditional red-paper globes to illuminated butterflies, dragons and birds with a riddle on each of those. A wide range of prizes are prepared for those who can solve these puzzles.