Carnivals & Festivals

(Last update May 2021)



World Expos

Milano 2015
Shangai 2010
Aichi 2005
Hanover 2000
Lisboa 1998
Sevilla 1992
Spokane 1974
Montréal 1967

Other events

Waterloo : Bicentennial Waterloo Battle : reenactment of the battle (June 2015)

Argenteuil : Exceptional exhibit of Christ’s Holy Tunic (March 2016)
Golfe-Juan : Bicentennial Napoleon landing from Elba at Golfe-Juan (start of 'les 100 jours') : reenactment of the landing (March 2015)

North Korea
Pyongyang : Kim Il Sung 100th birthday celebration (Pyongyang & other cities) (April 2015)

Iena (Cospeda) : Bicentennial Iena Battle : reenactment of the battle (October 2006)

Czech Republic
Slavkov : Bicentennial Austerlitz Battle : reenactment of the battle (December 2005)

Former USSR
Moscow : May 1st, 1990 celebrations on Red Square ; last May 1st celebration of the  Soviet October Revolution of the communist regime ... (1990)




(Only the year is specified, except for carnivals held at a different time than the days around Fat Tuesday)

Up to now, I have attended 63 carnivals.

My top 15

Binche (Belgium) 
Ebensee (Austria)
Jacmel (Haiti)
La Vega (Dominican Republic)
Liestal (Switzerland)
Mindelo (Cabo Verde)
Mohacs (Hungary)
Oruro (Bolivia)
Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago)
Ptuj (Slovenia)
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Rottweil (Germany)
Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Tramin (Italy) 
Venice (Italy)




Oruro : all carnival (a fascinating carnival with Aymara and Quechua influences) (2003)

Rio de Janeiro (2nd time) : all carnival (2006)
Rio de Janeiro (1st time) : all carnival (1988)

Quebec : main parade (1974)

Barranquilla : Batalla de Flores, Gran Parada de Tradición, Gran Parada de Fantasia, Desfile Joselito, Danzas de Relación (2010)

New Orleans : all carnival (2009)


Atlantic Ocean

Cabo Verde
Mindelo (São Vicente) : all carnival (a carnival with a strong brazilian flavor) (2016)

Canary Islands
Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife) : all carnival (Cabalgata Anunciadora, its main event  'Corso Apoteosis del Carnaval'  & Entiero de la Sardina) (2011)



Aruba (The Netherlands)
Oranjestad & Sint Nicholaas : all carnival (2015)

Dominican Republic
La Vega : main parade (best carnival in Dominican Republic ; its main character is the 'Diablo Cojuelo'  =  Limping Devil) (2012)
Santiago : main parade (2012)

Jacmel : main parade (best carnival in Haiti, famous for its masks) (2017)
Port-au-Prince : a very noisy carnival featuring 'rara' bands' (2017)

St Kitts & Nevis
Basseterre (St Kitts) : a small carnival (January 2014)

Trinidad & Tobago
Port of Spain (Trinidad) : all carnival (1998)



Nassereith (Tyrol) : carnival held once every 3 years, 'Schellerlaufen' (February 2001) 
Telfs (Tyrol) : carnival held once every 5 years, 'Schleicherlaufen' (February 2000)
Ebensee (Salzkammergut) : "Fetzenfasching" (carnival of rags) ("Fetzenzug" - parade of rags - & "Brieftaschlwaschen" - washing wallets -) (February 2018)

Alost (Flanders): main parade (2000)
Eupen (Wallonia) : main parade (2000)
Binche (Wallonia) : main parades (with the 'Gilles') (1999)
Stavelot (Wallonia) : 'Blancs-Moussis' parade (1999)
Malmédy (Wallonia) : Danse des Haguettes (1997)
La Louvière (Wallonia) : 'les Gilles' parade & 'Brûlage des Bosses' (March 1997)

Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) : last part of carnival  (Lou Queernaval & 'Corso carnavalesque illuminé') (2015) 
Limoux (Aude) : main parade (2002)
Cournonterral (Hérault) : a very wild carnival ('fête des Pailhasses', from 14th century, people rub up in wine lees against each other) (2002)
Pézenas (Hérault) : main parade (2001)
Hazebrouk (Nord) : main parade (April 2000)
Dunkerque (Malo-les-Bains) (Nord) : 'Grand Rigodon' (2000)
Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire) : main parade (approx 1960)

Köln (North Rhine-Westphalia) : Rosenmontag (2008)
Laufenburg (Baden-Württemberg) : Narren Umzug, Narrenlaufen & night parade (2008)
Offenburg (Baden-Württemberg) : Narren Umzug (2001)
Wolfach (Baden-Württemberg) : Elfemess & Narren Umzug (2000)
Villingen (Baden-Württemberg) : Narros Umzug & 'Strohverbrennen' (2000)
Elzach (Baden-Württemberg) : 'Bengelreiten' parade, held once every 7 years (1999)
Rottweil (Baden-Württemberg) : Narren Umzug (perhaps the most traditional carnival in Germany) (1997) 

Mohacs : Busojaras ('Busos' parade) & Jankele (very traditional carnival with extraordinary 'Busos' & 'Jankele' masks) (2007)

Ivrea (Alps) : nearly all carnival (very specific due to its links with the French Revolution and its oranges battles) (2014)
Schignano (Alps) : main parade (2014)
Bagolino (Alps) : main parade (2014)
St Oyen (Alps) : main parade (2001)
Oristano (Sardinia) : Sartiglia d'Oristano (equestrian carnival from the Middle Ages) (2004)
Mamoiada (Sardinia) : Sartiglia de Mamoiada (equestrian carnival from the Middle Ages) (2004)
Tramin (Termezzo) (Alps - Alto Adige) : Egetman Parade (main parade) (2019)
Viareggio (Tuscany) : main parade (2001)
Venice : Volo dell’Angelo ('flight of the angel') & masks show (2006)

Ptuj :" Kurentovanje" (2018) 

Lanz (Navarra): main parade (2002)
Cadiz (Cadiz) : 'Los Carnavales', a carnival climaxing the week after Fat Tuesday & famous for its 'comparsas' (satiric groups) (March 2002)

Basel (Basel) : all carnival ('Morgenstreich', parades) (February 1997)
Liestal (Basel) : Kienbesen Umzug (fire wagons parade : spectacular !) (February 1997)
Luzern (Luzern) : main parade (2001)
Monthey (Valais) : main parade (2019)
Schwytz (Schwytz) : 'brulage de Blätz' (2013), main parade (2001)
Solothurn (Solothurn) : Fasnachtsumzug & Zapfenstreich (2007)
Altstätten (St Gallen) : 'Röllelibutzen' parade (2013)
Bellinzona (Tessin) : main parade (March 2014)
Altdorf (Uri) : 'Drapoling' parade (2013)
Wiler (Valais) : tiny carnival with absolutely stunning masks ('Roitschäggättä' : frightful figures) (2000)
Zug (Zug) : 'Greth-Schell' parade (2013)

The Netherlands
Maastricht (Limburg) : opening parade & main parade (2008)

United Kingdom
London : Notting Hill carnival (a Caribbean carnival) (August 2008)




Up to now I have attended 110 festivals (excluding carnivals) (traditional festivals mainly)

My top 15

Esala Perahera (Sri Lanka) : at Kandy, huge night procession with adorned elephants, honoring the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha.
Fallas (Spain) : held in Valencia ;  huge elaborate constructions, often as high as 5 storeys, composed of fanciful figures, often caricatures, are produced. They are burnt during the last night.
Festa dei Serpari (Italy) : amazing procession of the snake-catchers celebrating San Domenico.
Guerewol (Niger) : a yearly fascinating and enigmatic courtship ritual competition made by young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting.
Holy week in Sicily (Italy) : Good Friday processions with hooded penitents carrying the Christ & the Virgin ; Easter Sunday processions …
Hornbill festival (India) : yearly gathering of Nagaland tribes, held in Kohima.
Indra Jatra (Nepal) : most important festival in Nepal ; processions of chariots carrying god images (Ganesh ..) & the living goddess Kumari for her only yearly outing.
Joshi (Pakistan) : spring festival of the Kalash (a colorful ethny practising a form of animism) : 'Milk Day' & chanting and dancing 
Pasola (Indonesia) : in Sumba Island, this is a fearsome reenactment of fights between local tribes ; all  riders throwing spears. Quite wild !
Qoyllur Ri'ti (Peru) : the largest pilgrimage in Latin America ; up a sanctuary and glaciers, with strong Quechua & Aymara influences (dances, adoration of the sun ..).

Sing Sing (Papua Niugini) : at Goroka ; a yearly gathering of some 100 tribes, a riot of colour, singing, dancing, and feathers  ... 
Thousand Camels festival (Mongolia) : at Bulgan ; a winter festival celebrating the lunar new year with camel races, dances ...
Timkat (Ethiopia) : at Lalibela ; Coptic Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebration of Epiphany and reenactment of Baptism.
Tsechus (Bhutan) : at Thimphu & other places ; 'tsechu' is a buddhist festival with masked dances (autumn & spring).



Lalibela : Timkat (Coptic Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebration of Epiphany and reenactment of Baptism) (January 2005)

Between Ouadane & Chingetti : Yearly camel races festival (March 2003)

Iferouane : Yearly Touareg festival (camel races …) (October 2004)
Agadez region : 'Guerewol',  Wodaabe Fula (Peuls Bororo) annual courtship ritual competition (magic & exceptional) (October 2004)



Tilcara (Jujuy) : Pachamama Festival (July 2010)

Calgary (Alberta) : Calgary Stampede (rodeo, greatest outdoor show in the world) (July 1974)

Costa Rica
San Jose : El Tope (equestrian & carts parade) (December 2000)

Cuzco & Sacsayhuaman : Inti Raymi (Sun festival) (June 24, 2017)
Cuzco : Desfile Civico (a huge parade with Quechua dances and traditional costumes (June 2017)
Cuzco : Corpus Christi (2nd most important day of this 10 days Catholic celebration ; procession of statues of Saints carried on men shoulders) (June 2017)
Sinakra high valley & Cruz'Qasa (Ausangate region) : Qoyllur R'iti (largest pilgrimage in Latin America), largely influenced by Quechua & Aymara traditions (June 2017)
Yearly reconstruction of Q'eswachaca inca bridge : 4 days to rebuild this bridge using vegetal fibers (a ritual unchanged and observed since the Inca empire) (June 2017)
Sihuas : Fiesta de la Virgen de las Nieves (Aug. 2013)                                                                                                                                           Paucartambo : Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen (July 1979)



Dhaka : Ashoura (Shiite muslims mourning procession) (January 2009)

Wangdu Phodrang : Tsechu (buddhist festival with masked dances) (September 2015)
Thimphu : Tsechu (buddhist festival with masked dances) (September 2015)
Paro : Tsechu (buddhist festival with masked dances) (April 1987)

Tarboche (near Mt Kailash) (Tibet) : Sakadawa (Tibetan Buddhism most important festival, 4th month full moon of Tibetan calendar) (May 2002)

Ahmedabad (Gujrat) : Makar Sankranti (traditional kite festival) (January 2013)
Udupi (Karnataka) : Paryarya Festival (January 2008)
Kohima (Nagaland) : Hornbill festival (December 2015)
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) : Adivasi Mela (Odisha tribes festival) (January February 2014)

Madura (Java) : Karapan sapi (traditional bull racing festival) (October 1982) 
Bumi Siliwangi (Java) : Ram fighting (1982)
Pelabuhan Ratu (Java) : Pesta Nelayan (Sea Festival) (1982)
Prambanan (Java) : Ramayana ballet (4 nights at full moon mid year in javanese) (1983)
Ponorogo (Java) : Reyog (dance drama) (approx 1982)
Borobodur Temple (Java) : Waiçak Day (approx 1982)
Rantepao region (Sulawesi) : 2 death rituals festivals (August 2004), 1 death ritual festival (August 1976)
Sumba Island : Pasola (At dawn 'marapu' collect sea worms, then 2 opposed teams of horse riders play a bloody 'game' by throwing spears) (February 1984)  
Kabupaten Sumedang : Kuda Renggong (Dancing Horses Festival) (October 1983)

Furano (Hokkaidō) : Hokkai Heso Matsuri (July 2008)
Osaka (Honshu) : Tenjin Matsuri (July 2008)
Yamaguchi (Honshu) : Gion Matsuri (July 2008)
Aomori (Honshu) : Aomori Neputa Matsuri (August 2008)
Hirosaki (Honshu) : Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (August 2008)
Goshogawera (Honshu) : Tachineputa Matsuri (August 2008)
Akita (Honshu) : Kanto Matsuri (August 2008)
Sendai (Honshu) : Tanabata Matsuri (August 2008)
Shimoda (Honshu) : Taiko Matsuri (August 2008)
Kyoto (Honshu) : Daimonji Matsuri (August 2008)
Takayama (Honshu) :  Yamatsuri (Lantern festival) (April 2005)
Aso (Kyushu) : Hifuri Matsuri (March 2011)
Miyazaki (Kyushu) : Yabusame Festival (traditional horseback archery) (April 2011)
Ooki (Kyushu) : Juhachiya Matsuri (August 2008)
Kochi (Shikoku) : Yasakoi Matsuri (August 2008)
Tokushima (Shikoku) : Awa Odori Matsuri (August 2008)

Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) : Kaamatan (or Pesta Menuai) ; a harvest festival, ending by a traditional beauty pageant (Unduk Ngadau) (May 1983)

Bulgan : 1000 camels festival (Tsagaan Sar - White Moon Festival) in winter close to Gobi desert (camel races …) ; an excellent festival (February 2006)
Tsetserleg : Naadam (National festival held everywhere in Mongolia, including horse races, wrestling …) (July 1998)

Kathmandu : Chhath Festival (Teraï festival) (October 2011)
Kathmandu : Indrajatra (biggest Nepalese religious festival including chariot procession of the living goddess Kumari) (September 2005)

Kalash Valleys : Joshi Festival (spring festival of Kalash people) (Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, near Afghanistan) (May 2018)

Marinduque Island. Holy week in Marinduque : 'Moriones' festival (reenactment of the Passion of the Christ) (April 1982)
San Fernando (Luzon) : Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival) (December 1981)

Russia (Asia)
Topolinoe, Sakha Republic (Iakutia) : Even Reindeer herders Festival (reindeer races, …) (April 2014)
Yar Sale (Yamalo-Nenets Okrug) : Nenets Reindeer Herding Festival  (April 2008)

Sri Lanka
Kandy : Esala Perahera (elephant parade, carrying a Buddha sacred tooth) (one of the oldest Buddhist festivals)  (August 1981)

Taipeh : National day ("Double Ten") (Military march & other) (October 1983)


Atlantic Ocean

Angra do Heroismo, Porto Judeu (Terceira Island) : San Joaninas (Desfile de Aberdura, 'Tourada a corda', Desfile de Marchas) (June 2016)

Nassau (New Providence Island) : Junkanoo (a kind of carnival with parades) (December 2013)



Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo : Dia de la Bandeira (February 2012)



Bad Mitterndorf (Tyrol) : Nikolospiel (a very traditional masked parade) (December 2001)

Ieper (Ypres) (Flanders) : 'Kattenstoet' (Cat parade, culminating with throwing cats from the belfry -nowadays just mock cats!-) (every 3 years)  (May 2000)
Ghent (Gand) (Flanders) : Procession of the Holy Blood ('Procession du St Sang' on Ascension day) (June 2000)
Mons (Wallonia) : Lumeçon (May 2005)
Thuin (Wallonia) : St Roch Procession (June 2001)
Holy week (Easter) in Lessines (Wallonia) : 'Procession des Pénitents' (procession of penitents) (Good Friday) (April 1998)

Czech Republic
Plzen : Liberation Festival (a kind of reenactment of the liberation of Plzen by the US in 1944) (March 2016)

Holy week (Easter) in Corte (Corsica) : 'Procession du Christ Mort' (Holy Thursday) (March 2013)
Holy week (Easter) in Erbalunga (Corsica) : 'Procession La Cerca' (Good Friday) (March 2013)
Holy week (Easter) in Sartène (Corsica) : 'Procession du Catenacciu' (Good Friday night) (March 2013)
Lyon : 'Fête des Lumières' (Lights Festival) (December 2013)
Paris : Fête de Ganesh (a tamoul festival : procession with Ganesh)
Paris : 'Défilé du 14 Juillet' (French Bastille Day) (many times)
Perpignan : 'La Sanch' (Good Friday) (April 2019)
Concarneau (Finistère) : 'Fête des Filets Bleus' (a typically Breton-flavoured costumed parade) (August 1962)

Schwäbisch Hall (Baden-Württemberg): Pentecost festival ( dance 'Tanz des Großen Siedershofes' & sharing an enormous cake, on Pentecost) (May 1999)
Oberammergau (Bayern) : Passion of Christ reenactment (held every 10 years only since 1634) (July 2010)
Holy week (Easter) in Bautzen (Saxony) : Easter riding procession (Easter Sunday) (April 1998)

Festa dei Serpari in Cocullo (L'Aquila) :  procession of the snake-catchers celebrating San Domenico (May 2017)
Holy week (Easter) in Sulmona (L'Aquila) : Fiesta della Madonna che Scappa (reenactment of 'running Madonna' ) (Easter Sunday) (April 2000) 
Holy week (Easter) in Caltanissetta (Sicily) : Processione della Real Maestranza & Processione delle 'Variceddre' (Holy Wednesday) : Processione dei Grandi Gruppi Sacri 'Vare' (Holy Thursday) (April 2017)
Holy week (Easter) in Trapani (Sicily) : Processione dei Misteri (Procession of the Mysteries) (Good Friday) (April 2017)
Festa di li Schietti (an Easter festival) in Terrasini (Sicily) : 'Mangiata' & parade of Sicilian carts (Holy Saturday) (2017)
Holy week (Easter) in Prizzi (Sicily) : 'U Ballu di Diavolu' (Dance of he Devils) & 'Ncontri' (the Virgin meets Jesus) (Easter Sunday) (April 2017)
Festa di Primavera in San Martino delle Scale (Sicily) : Parade of Sicilian carts & folk dances (April 2017)
Holy week (Easter) in Enna (Sicily) : Good Friday Procession, Festa della Resurrezione (Easter Sunday afternoon & night) (March 2016)
Holy week (Easter) in Aidone (Sicily) : Giunta di Pasqua (Easter Sunday morning) (March 2016)
Easter festival in San Biagio dei Platani (Sicily) : Archi di Pasqua (March 2016)
Holy week (Easter) in Taranto (Taranto) : Processione dell’Addolorata (Holy Thursday) & Processione dei Sacri Misteri (Good Friday) (April 2000)

Vilnius : Saint Jonas's festival (midsummer folk festival) (2004) 

Chisinau : Wine festival (October 2008)

Holy week (Easter) in Braga : Processions (April 2014)

Valencia : 'Fallas' (one of the best -if not the best- festival in Spain) (March 2012)
Holy Week (Easter) in Murcia : Processions (Holy Thursday, Easter Sunday afternoon & night) (March 2002)
Holy Week (Easter) in  Lorca : Processions (Holy Thursday night, Good Friday night, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday morning) (March 2002)
Holy Week (Easter) in Cartagena : Processions (Good Friday night) (March 2002)
Holy Week (Easter) in Sevilla : All processions (April 1990)
Holy Week (Easter) in Zamora : Processions (Holy Thursday, day & night ; Good Friday, morning) (February 2018)
Holy Week (Easter) in Bercianos de Aliste : "Descendimiento del Cristo" (February 2018) 
Tarragona (Catalunya) : Castells (Human towers) (August 2019)

Charmey (Fribourg) : Benichon ( 'Fête des Charrettes', barrow race) ( (October 2001)
Beromünster (Luzern) : Auffahrtsumritt (Horse procession on Ascension Day) (May 2001)
Urnasch (close to St Gallen) (St. Gallen) : Klausgruppen ('Klaus' wearing strange hats wander around & visit homes) (December 1998)


Pacific Ocean

Suva (Viti Levu Island) : Hibiscus Festival (April 2015)

French Polynesia
Raivavae (Raivavae) : 'Heiva' (14th July : French National Day) (July 2006)
Papeete (Tahiti) : 5th edition of FOPA (Festival of Pacific Arts ; held every 4 years) (dances & traditional shows of all Pacific states) (July 1985)
Papeete (Tahiti) : 'Heiva' (July 14th celebrations) (Bastille Day in France) (July 1985)

Papua Niugini
Goroka : Sing Sing (huge annual gathering of tribes) (fantastic !, held every year either in Goroka or Mt Hagen) (August 1982)



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