The best family-friendly festivals around the world
Angela Spiliotakos finds that the celebrations with your family
will never have to end, with these top 7
festivals from around the world.
VIBE: Nationwide water fight
Thailand’s New Year celebrations are commonly known as the ‘water festival’ and
it isn’t hard to see why. Wander into the streets in Phuket or Bangkok over the
three-day period and you are guaranteed to get soaked.
The water symbolises a
Buddhist blessing and a washing away of sins, evil spirits and all-round bad
feelings, and the Thai people (and many tourists) embrace this whole-heartedly.
Travellers are particular targets for the fun, so be sure to wear
swimmers, leave any nonwaterproof cameras at home, and reapply sunscreen regularly.
Many resorts and
hotels will have their own celebrations for staff and guests so don’t forget to pack a
water pistol so little ones can fight back.
VENICE CARNIVAL, ITALY
WHEN: January - February
The Carnevale di Venezia is an absolute must for any young
kids who love dressing up. The elaborate outfits and masks
ï¿½ from Harry Potter costumes to 18th-century-style gowns ï¿½ add
an extra layer of intrigue to this fascinating canal city.
Be sure to get involved by wearing a mask as you
tour the city; getting hands-on and making your own is a great
way for kids to get excited about their trip.
For an authentic taste of Carnival, head to a pasticceria to sample the delights of
traditional sweet treats like castagnole (fried round cookies),
galani (paper-thin rectangles of dough) and fritelle (fried dough
with raisins and pine nuts, and sometimes filled with custard).
HOLI FESTIVAL, INDIA
VIBE: Spiritual awakening
When a festival encourages you to get as
messy and colourful as possible, you know it’s
going to be a hit with kids.
Holi is an incredible
event that is just made for social media snaps,
with locals throwing arcs of coloured powder
and perfumed water at one another.
the victory of good over evil and the coming of spring, and is
followed by large bonfires, lit across the
country on Holi Eve.
The following day is then
all fun, parties and colour. Holi is celebrated in
many parts of India, including Barsana,
Mathura and Vrindavan, which host larger
festivities, and Udaipur, Jaipur, Mumbai and
Delhi, for more modern celebrations.
sure you check out the street parades to
guarantee a solid dose of colour and fun.
CHINESE NEW YEAR, HONG KONG
WHEN: January - February
VIBE: New beginnings
Welcome in the Chinese new year with colour,
excitement and lots of fireworks in Hong
This family-friendly city really puts on a
show, showering luck with the eye-catching
Highlights are seeing the traditional lions, Mickey Mouse and friends from Hong Kong Disneyland, delicious
festive delicacies and masses of flowers and
Make sure you get a good spot for the fireworks over
amazing Victoria Harbour; the kids are
bound to find the display dazzling.
ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA, AMERICA
For a week in October, the blue skies of New Mexico burst with vibrancy and colour for the annual
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
From modest beginnings in 1972, when 13 balloons
sprouted into the sky from a shopping centre car park, to over 600 balloons lifting off from the
specially made 30-hectare launch field, the International Balloon Fiesta has transformed into a
worldwide event that brings in people from all corners of the world.
There are many fun kids activities that are running while the balloons are flying from dawn through dusk. There are also musical performances, fireworks and family activities to keep everyone entertained, no matter their age.
VIVID SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
WHEN: Late May - early June
VIBE: Anything is possible
Australian families are fortunate to have the world’s biggest festival of light, music and ideas
right here on their doorstep.
In the final week of May, Sydney becomes a canvas for vibrant
interactive displays, transforming the city’s most famous landmarks with mind-boggling 3D
With more than 1.7 million people attending the 18-day-long festival, it’s an inspiring
time to visit and kids love the fact that this is one gallery where touching is usually
Although there’s no knowing what Sydney has in store for next year, think a
playful blend of illumination and sound, like 2015’s ever popular Piano Stairs.
Just be sure to
dress your children in glowing souvenirs and take your time; the crowds around Circular
Quay and The Rocks can be intimidating for little ones.
WHEN: February - March
VIBE: Soul-stirring magic
The moment when thousands of lanterns ascend to the
heavens, carrying with them the wishes and hopes of the
people below, is one of the most enchanting sights to be found
on this island.
In the mountain district of Pingxi, you can join
the crowds writing their dreams on paper and then
fashioning them into lanterns.
Traditionally celebrated on the
15th day of the first Lunar Month, the festival also marks the
end of the Lunar New Year with a flurry of fireworks, float-filled
parades, and, of course lanterns, big and small.
place across the country, including in the districts of Miaoli,
Taichung and Yeliou.