The World's Biggest Cultural Festivals In 2017

The World's Biggest Cultural Festivals in 2017

Are you a firework fan? Can't wait for New Year's Day for your fix of whoosh, boom, or whistle? Indoor fireworks and sparklers are not doing it for you? Worry no more – the new graphic from is full of rockets, fountains, and wheels from across the globe. Fireworks may have been around from as far back as the 7th Century, but these modern festivals are from origins national and spiritual throughout history.

Twelfth Night, Iceland

Date: January 6

January 6 in Iceland is celebrated as the last day of Christmas. The occasion is marked by various fireworks displays and bonfires. In Iceland, Twelfth Night is the Hidden People holiday, it belongs to the elves. Most families get together and have a big dinner, followed by going to big bonfires, in honor of the elves, singing elf songs. 

Australia Day

Date: January 26

This is a national holiday in Australia, celebrating the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. It's a day to reflect on what people have achieved and what they can be proud of. Many people spend the public holiday relaxing with family and friends.

Chinese New Year

Date: January 28

The date changes every year; it's celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. The new year is the Year of the Rooster and it will last until Feb. 15, 2018. The holiday is also known as the Spring Festival. Some traditions include pasting red couplets, hanging red lanterns, having a reunion dinner, setting off firecrackers, and giving red envelopes to kids.

Taiwan Lantern Festival

Date: February 11-19

The 15th day of the Chinese New Year is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, a day of lighted lamps. The whole Chinese New Year celebration ends after the Lantern Festival. Held in Yunlin, it celebrates the Year of the Rooster with more eco-friendly, multicultural and local elements. Specials include glove puppetry, mascot ChiMengZi, Xiluo Bridge, Gukeng coffee and Agricultural Expo.

Rouketopolemos, Vrontados, Greece

Date: April 15

The name means "rocket war" and this is what two rival Orthodox parishes perform to celebrate Easter.  The game requires thousands of homemade fireworks and the goal is to hit the bell of the opposite church. Around 60,000 "rockets" are fired between two churches on the idyllic Greek island.


Date: May 10 in India

This is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists on the day of the full moon in May. Celebration in Laos, for example, feature fireworks made by monks out of hollow bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder. Vesak Day, the most sacred holy day of Theravada Buddhism, honors the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. In Japan, Buddha's Birthday is observed every year on April 8.

Malta International Fireworks Festival

Date: End of April

The annual event takes place at the end of April to commemorate Malta's accession into the European Union on May 1, 2004. The festival is held in Valletta's Grand Harbor and other locations. Fireworks displays designed by foreign pyrotechnic companies as well as some of the best local fireworks factories are the highlight of the celebrations.

Independence Day, U.S.

Fourth of July is one of America's biggest holidays. Everyone and everywhere – villages to mega cities – celebrate the country's founding. Fireworks, parades, games, and contests are organized all over the U.S. Celebrating the country's declaration of independence from Great Britain has also traditionally become a day to spend with friends and family by having picnics and barbecues.

Bastille Day, France

Date: July 14

This is the French Independence Day. It commemorates the 1789 Storming of the Bastille in which seven inmates were released from a political prison, and a fortress, in Paris that was known as the Bastille. This marked the flashpoint of the French Revolution. Shortly thereafter, King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette took refuge in Versailles.

Hanabi Taikai, Japan

Date: In July and August

Japanese firework events (hanabi) have an electric atmosphere and summer is the season for the magnificent shows. People dress in yukata and layout mats in the grass for a party. One of the major fireworks displays of Tokyo on the last Saturday of July. The annual event is said to have originated in the custom of the common people of Edo viewing fireworks while enjoying the cool of the summer evening.

Swiss National Day

Date: August 1

Since 1891, the first of August has been celebrated as Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden. This alliance was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years. Men from these three cantons swore eternal allegiance to one another, promising mutual help and assistance.

Singapore National Day

Date: August 9

Last year marked the first of Singapore's 50 years of independence. This is the most important holiday in the city state as the island starts turning a particular shade of red and white – largely from the flags fluttering from buildings, houses, and cars. The highlight of the day is the National Day Parade which includes military processions, multi-cultural song-and-dance performances and a mighty firework extravaganza.

Eid al-Adha

Date: September 1

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is the second of two major holidays in Islam. Muslims mark the occasion when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, to demonstrate his devotion. Celebrations include morning prayers, visits to friends and family, exchange of gifts and feasts, and slaughtering an animal, like a cow or sheep, to share the meat with the less fortunate.


Date: October 30

The date changes every year. The Festival of Lights is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus and it goes on for five days. People light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. Diwali is also a lot about exchanging gifts. Diwali is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia.

Guy Fawkes Night, U.K.

Date: November 5

This is a commemoration of the failed Gunpowder Plot against King James I in 1605. The plan was masterminded by several provincial Catholics, including Guy Fawkes. He actually planned to blow up the House of Lords. The British remember his capture with bonfires and fireworks, and by burning an effigy of Guy.