Ten Of The Oldest Festivals Celebrated Across The World

Festivals have been a part of human civilization since days past. Usually a specific date or occasion is fixed for the celebration. This normally has cultural or religious connotations, but we all know that festivals are mainly social occasions; mainly celebrated to get us away from the mundane and on to the more colorful aspects of life.

Festivals have been a part of human civilization since days past. Usually a specific date or occasion is fixed for the celebration. This normally has cultural or religious connotations, but we all know that festivals are mainly social occasions; mainly celebrated to get us away from the mundane and on to the more colorful aspects of life.

We all know that different countries and different areas within these countries have their own festivals. This could be based on history, religion or even a significant local event. Here we are trying to put together a list of the oldest festivals from across the world. We would surely like to hear from you, if you have something to add to this list or even your opinion about this list.

1. Nevruz: Considered one of the oldest festivals Nevruz is enjoyed by many communities under different names. It dates back almost 5000 years. It is celebrated among the Turkish folks to signify the leaving of their people from Egenekon. A few societies even believe this to be the day when Noah sets foot on Earth after the flood. A few communities believe that this is the day the first man was created by God and some believe this is a harbinger of spring.
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The word Nevruz literally means a new day in the Persian language. Usually a lot of cleaning and decorating of the houses is done on this day along with a huge feast for the occasion. People get together and visit with each other and enjoy playing games and make wishes for dreams to come true by jumping over the Nevruz fire.

2. Sterling Renaissance Festival: This is considered a festival that ranks among the oldest ones. This is usually celebrated in the first weekend of July at Warwick in Orange County. Dating back to 1585 this festival brings together many performers including comedians, musicians and actors. People who want to showcase their unique abilities and goods find this a good occasion to do so.

2-Sterling Renaissance Festival

Part of the festivities also include rides and games. This occasion also has many opportunities for families and couples to hang out and having an amazing time.

3. Aoi Matsuri: Considered among the oldest festivals from across the globe this festive occasion is known to have originated from the 6th century. It actually started as a means to keep the Kamo gods who are responsible for the weather happy. This started after a succession of many storms made life tough for people by spreading diseases and causing starvation.
3-Aoi Matsuri
It takes place at the Shimagamo Shrine on the 3rd of May with a show of Japanese archery. This festival is marked by parades of people dressed up in costumes from the Heian period. Punctuated with song and dance this procession proceeds to the sacred forest to welcome the God Aramitama to take part in the festivities. The celebrations last for almost a fortnight with many events.

4. Egyptian Harvest Festival: Dating back to the 13th century this festival is to honor the Moroccan Sufi who battled the crusaders in the 13th Century. Millions of people throng the tomb of al-Badawi to pray and pay their homage. The festival has many attractions like snake charmers and fire eaters. This festival is a mixture of many religious festivities along with fun elements.
4-Egyptian Harvest Festival
The occasion is used to get children blessed at the tomb, many circumcisions performed and dancing to the tune of religious chants. This festival is usually held in late October after the end of the cotton harvest.

5. Vegetarian Festival: This festival is celebrated by the Chinese Community in Phuket. This festival marks the beginning of a month during which the people following Taoist religion abstain from eating meat for the duration. The festival starts off with parades, offerings to gods and many cultural presentations. It is usually focused on the five Chinese temples.

5-Vegetarian Festival

People walk on burning coals; pierce their skin with sharp objects in an act of self punishment. Some participants go into trance and act as a medium for the Nine Emperor Gods of Taoist faith. Taking place in the 9th Month of the Chinese calendar, this festival can last for nine days.

6. Diwali: Falling in the month of October or November this festival literally means the festival of lights. According to legends this festival marks the return of God Rama after the slaying of the demon Ravana. On his return, the residents of his Kingdom Ayodhya lit lamps, decorated their homes, wore new clothes, burst firecrackers and distributed sweets to near and dear ones.
Even today Indians celebrate the occasion of Diwali with lights, sweets and firecrackers. The general atmosphere is of joy and color. Old enemies are forgiven and everyone is welcomed home with a smile and a sweet. This occasion is also marked by the poojas to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess who represents wealth.

7. The Dragon Boat Festival: Usually occurring on the 5th day of the 5th month on the lunar calendar, this festival dates almost 2000 years. The main event is a Dragon Boat race where people race in boats that are shaped like dragons. The oars are pulled in tandem and it is a memorable event to watch.
7-The Dragon Boat Festival
A food is called Zongzi is a big part of the festival. Usually these are rice dumplings wrapped in leaves with fillings like fresh meat, eggs, bean paste and other fillings. Children are dressed with a perfumed pouch for protection against evil by their parents.

8. Cherry Blossom: The cherry blossom has a vital part in the Japanese history and culture. This leads to a festival called Cherry Blossom festival in the spring. It is marked by many performances, music and all forms of entertainment. People wear Kimonos and beautiful floral displays are part of the festivities.
8-Cherry Blossom

9. Holi: A festival of colors is celebrated mainly in India and Nepal. It is celebrated at the beginning of spring. People go from one place to another pelting each other with color and colored water. The festivities are marked by eating sweets and drinking Bhang (a drink made with milk and curd and a leaf called Bhang). A huge fire is also lit to mark the death of Holika, a creature who is supposed to have tried to kill Prahlad, a devotee of the God Vishnu.


10. Christmas: This list would not be complete without the most known festival of all – the one that marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Marked by a decorated tree, exchanging of gifts and a huge traditional feast, this is probably one of the most known festival. People look forward to this festival and the preparations begin much earlier so that the festivities go smoothly. Marked by a church service and several charitable acts Christmas is celebrated with a lot of pomp and a lot of warmth.

One Response

  1. Adhiyaman January 13, 2014

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