Special events not to be missed by world travellers in 2024
For the curious and adventurous, the world offers a wealth of culture, traditions, and experiences waiting to be discovered. While some countries have similarities, no one country is the same and all have something unique to offer, whether it be a rich history, panoramic scenery as far as the eye can see, or full of rich aromas and flavour from delectable dishes tied into the roots of generations past.
Special events form part of this culture and tradition, with many events around the globe dating back decades and some even centuries. Take the Summer Olympic Games which started back in 1896 and still draw people from all around the world to bask in festivities and watch elite athletes compete for their country. Immersing yourself in special events creates memories that last a lifetime providing enriching experiences that make you reflect, laugh, love, watch or participate with enthusiasm.
If you find yourself taking to the skies in 2024 and seeking inspiration on what not to miss, here are just some of the most amazing events our global stage has ready for you, dive in and check out the special events around the world in 2024.
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Carnival in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Date: February 9-17
Turn up the music; we are going to Rio!
Carnival is an annual special event in Rio de Janeiro and is considered the biggest carnival in the world, so naturally, this should be on everyone’s bucket list. Being dubbed the “The Greatest Show on Earth” you know you’re going to be in for a good time.
Carnival is celebrated five days before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent in the Catholic calendar. At the heart of the Carnival is the samba, which is the perfect illustration of the Afro-European blend that defines Brazilian culture.
- Ask your travel agent to book all attractions online to avoid the queues.
- Bring a rain jacket. Even if it rains, the show must go on!
- Check google maps before you go out as road closures are common during Carnival.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Australia
Date: February 16th – 3rd March
The first Mardi Gras dates back to 1978 in Sydney when a small group of protestors formed to contribute to the international Gay Celebrations. This created a defining night not only for Sydney’s LGBTQI+ community, but also Australia’s cultural heritage.
Skip forward to 2024 and have your sequins and dancing shoes at the ready for this expansive festival program that celebrates the entire LGBTQIA+ community with events, dance parties, theatre and music and the globally renowned parade on the 2nd March. There is something for everyone and will leave you smiling from ear to ear. Make sure not to miss this special event.
Balloons over Waikato – New Zealand
Date: March 19th – 23rd
2024 will be a special one as the event marks 25 years. If you want to fully immerse yourself in this sky spectacular, you can book a hot air balloon experience. For those who prefer to take it all in by keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground, you will still be part of the magic where balloons and pilots from NZ and around the world take to the Waikato skies.
The special event commences each day from 7am and goes into the evening where the balloons glow and dance to music and ends with a fireworks display.
Cherry Blossom Festival – Japan
Date: March – May
If you are flexible and ready to join the ‘cherry blossom’ lottery so to speak, you can try your luck enjoying the cherry blossom festivals that take place in different regions of the country; most are held from March to May, however, there are some regions that host them during January, February and June. Festival dates are usually determined based on cherry blossom forecasts and vary from year to year. The uncertainty can make it more difficult to schedule your trip around a specific festival.
If you do find yourself in Japan over this time, you just never know your luck.
- Ask your travel agent for advice on the best time to visit or check the cherry blossom forecast.
- Do as the locals do – Join in the festivities and have a hanami beneath your favorite tree.
- If you’re a keen photographer, it’s best to get up early to beat the crowds.
Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
Date: April 13th – 15th
Do you love parties and water fights? If you said yes, you are going to love Songkran, Thailand’s week-long New Year celebration; also known as the Water Splashing Festival and the most important festival in Thailand.
The New Year marks the end of the dry season with religious ceremonies where water is poured over Buddha statues to symbolise renewal, bringing good fortune and water fights, which are the biggest trademark of the festival. Get ready to be soaked.
Glastonbury Festival – United Kingdom
Date: June 26th – 30th
For the die-hard music lovers and those following the festival trail, this one won’t disappoint. Glastonbury describes itself as loads of different festivals converging on the same gorgeous countryside for the weekend. With headline acts over multiple stages covering an eclectic musical palette, you will be certain to get your year’s music fix in this one jam-packed event.
Running of the Bulls – Spain
Date: July 7th – 14th
This event is sure to get the heart racing and isn’t for the feint hearted. The Running of the Bulls takes place in Pamplona with six Spanish fighting bulls, along with six steer, running from the Corrales de Santo Domingo to Pamplona’s Plaza de Toros (bullfight arena.) Over 1 million spectators watch thousands of runners over the eight days of the San Fermín Festival. The event founder’s biggest piece of advice is to ‘prepare’ if you want to have the run of your life.
- If you plan to do the run, wear comfortable running shoes or trainers. And don’t stop running.
- If you have time, ask your travel agent about local experiences and daytrips you can take from Pamplona.
- Don’t miss the fireworks. Every night at 11pm, thousands of people sit and look at the sky and see explosions of bright, colored light.
Oktoberfest – Germany
Date: September 21st – 6th October
For those who want to fully embrace Bavarian culture, you may want to understand the history of how this event came to be. Oktoberfest originated as a wedding for the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese back in 1810 and was attended by the local community. Today it‘s Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest, otherwise known as the Beerfest, is held in Munich and is the world’s largest ‘Volkfest’ or people’s festival featuring both a beer festival and a travelling carnival. Don’t be misled by the name as it starts in September, not October and believe it or not, some 6 million people attend this event every year. That is a lot of steins of beer.
Day of the Dead – Mexico
Date: November 1st – 2nd
The Day of the Dead is a two-day holiday and a festive and colourful occasion that emphasises the continuation of life and the importance of remembering and honouring those who came before. Despite its association with death, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a joyful celebration of the enduring connection between the living and the deceased.
There are many events hosted for Day of the Dead which is largely celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico.
Immerse yourself in a world of vibrant cultural celebrations and lively festivities. With so many events awaiting you, the question beckons: what tops your list of must-see experiences? Now is the perfect moment to embark on the exciting journey of planning your itinerary, unlocking the door to captivating events and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
The world is busting at the seams with possibilities, and it’s time to map your course through the rich tapestry of diverse cultural events that await your discovery. Let the anticipation begin as you plan your travel adventure filled with unique and unforgettable experiences.
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