Fascinating Cultural Events Across the Globe
Experience different cultures around the world at these festivals
Nomad team, Marketing Team
Feb 09 · 5 min read
We hope our travel guide for Celebrating Lunar New Year helped you with your next holiday adventure in Asia! In this blog, we take you on a journey to explore some of the most fascinating cultural events from across the globe. From the Busójárás in Hungary to the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri in Japan, we will delve into the history and significance of each event, as well as the unique customs and traditions associated with them.
These events are not just a celebration of culture, but also a reflection of the rich heritage and diversity of the world we live in. Get ready to be amazed and inspired as Nomad takes you on a cultural journey that will leave you wanting more!
In this blog, we’ll be highlighting:
- Busójárás - Hungary
- Mas Dominik - Dominica
- Phi Ta Khon - Thailand
- Aomori Nebuta Matsuri - Japan
Location: Mohács, Hungary
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Busójárás is a tradition of Mohacs for chasing away winter. The Busojaras lasts about a week and takes place during the last week before Lent starts. This year, the Busojaras will take place from 16 February to 21 February.
It is said that the festival originated from the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, where villagers dressed up as monsters to drive away the invading Turkish army. Today, this tradition is more about chasing away the winter and welcoming spring.
During the festivities, villagers in the town of Mohacs will dress up as Busos, making as much noise as they possibly can while they wander the streets. The male Busos will wear a traditional sheepskin cloak and a carved mask that is individually created and said to be able to transform the person wearing it.
There are traditional music performances, folk dancing, parades, events, and plenty of alcohol involved in the festival. All rules are dropped during the festival, which could get pretty crazy. The celebrations last about a week and will end with a huge bonfire, where a straw man is burned.
💡Nomad Tip: If you were hoping to visit Mohacs during the Busojaras, you should also be prepared to be part of the festivities - there’s almost no chance that you can remain a passive spectator!
Location: Dominican Republic
Experience the vibrant culture and traditions of Dominica during Mas Dominik, also known as Dominica's Carnival. This month-long celebration features calypso competitions, pageantry, folklore characters, and bouyon music.
The Dominican carnival, a month-long celebration in February, is a complex tradition with roots in the Roman Catholic religion brought over by European colonizers. However, today's celebrations are a fusion of European, Indigenous, and African cultures, showcasing the diverse heritage and spirit of the Dominican people. Carnival season is a time for Dominicans to showcase their folklore and cultural identity.
Parades take place every Sunday throughout the month of February and will end with two days of parades on Carnival Monday (Feb 20, 2023) and Carnival Tuesday (Feb 21, 2023). At Mas Dominik, you can really find reasonably priced costumes to join in the fun.
The main character of the carnival is Diablo Cojuelo, a limping devil. There are many different theories as to why the devil is limping - some say the devil was too mischievous it got banished to Earth and injured his leg; while others say it is an imitation of the pain and torture the devil causes people.
The characters of the carnival will usually be carrying a whip or hard balloon of some sort, hitting anyone in their way. It is said that being hit brings about good luck - and of course, a high possibility of bruising.
The main parades are held in Roseau, but many other villages also have small parades.
💡Nomad Tip: Don’t miss a chance to discover the hidden gems of Dominica while celebrating Carnival by exploring the island's diverse offerings. From outdoor adventures such as Trafalgar Falls and Emerald Pool to relaxation at one of the many outdoor sulphur pools, there is something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the culture by visiting historical sites and taking a dip in some of the Caribbean's best rivers.
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Location: Dan Sai, Thailand
The Phi Ta Khon Festival, also known as the Ghost Festival of Thailand, is a festival that is unique to the Dan Sai district in the Loei Province. Large, colourful ghost masks would take centre stage at this three-day festival.
The Phi Ta Khon Festival originates from the legend of Prince Vessantara, who is believed to be the last reincarnation of Buddha. The legend had it that the Prince went on a really long journey, and his eventual return to the city was such a joyous occasion that the celebrations awakened the village spirits.
During the festival's first day, the community will dress up as spirits, putting on their hand-made masks and colourful costumes as they parade and party through the streets. The masks are made from dried rice husks, with a bamboo-woven receptacle used to steam sticky rice - a common food staple in Northeastern Thailand - attached on top.
There are two types of ‘spirits’ featured in the Phi Ta Khon - the supreme Phi Ta Khon Yai and the more common Phi Ta Khon Lek. A ritual to seek blessings from the supreme powers would be required before a Phi Ta Khon Yai mask can be made, and it is a task reserved exclusively for descendants of families that have been practicing the making of Phi Ta Khon masks for generations.
On the second day of the festival, a procession will take place with a holy Buddhist statue representing the arrival of Prince Vessantara. On the final day, locals will gather at the temple to listen to Buddhist sermons.
💡Nomad Tip: The festival takes place annually between June and July, typically during the first weekend after the sixth full moon of the year. This year, it takes place from 23 June to 25 June.
Location: Aomori city, Japan
Experience the vibrant energy of Aomori's Nebuta Matsuri, a summer festival celebrating the Tanabata holiday. Taking place from August 2nd to 7th, the festival features giant lantern floats, taiko drums, and lively performances.
Nebuta means sleepiness in the local dialect, and the Nebula Matsuri is said to have originated as a ritual to drive away the sleep demon prior to the harvest season. It is one of the Tohoku Region's three main festivals, alongside Akita's Kanto Matsuri and Sendai's Tanabata.
Local teams work year-round to create the festival's unique floats, which can reach up to 9 meters wide and 5 meters tall. These floats often feature gods, historical figures, and characters from Japanese and Chinese culture, as well as the popular NHK Taiga Drama series.
The exhilarating spectacle of the Nebuta Matsuri parade takes place every night during the festival in the streets of downtown Aomori. Except for the last day of the festival, August 7th, when the parade is held in the afternoon. The specially crafted floats are pushed through the streets by human power, with taiko drummers, flute and hand cymbal players, and hundreds of haneto dancers accompanying the procession.
The haneto dancers, dressed in colorful traditional costumes, perform an energetic dance while chanting "Rassera, Rassera" as the floats weave and spin through the parade route. The parade route, spanning nearly 3 kilometres, offers both free seating on the ground and reserved seating options available through Ticket Pia and local convenience stores.
💡Nomad Tip: You can join in on the festivity and become a part of the parade at Nebuta Matsuri. Participation is open to all, with the only requirement being to wear the traditional haneto dancing costume. These costumes can easily be obtained, with options to purchase for around 7000 yen at local grocery stores and shops throughout the prefecture or to rent for around 4000 yen at rental shops in the city. People from all over come to participate in the parade, adding to the vibrant energy of the festival!
Don't let high data roaming charges ruin your experience at these incredible cultural events. With our data plans, you can stay connected and fully immerse yourself in the traditions and customs without any worries.
And for those traveling to multiple countries in the Southeast Asia and Oceania regions, our new regional plan is the perfect solution to keep you connected throughout your journey. Don't miss out on capturing and sharing your experiences with Nomad!