1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – Albuquerque, USA
When: Oct. 1 – 9
Where: Albuquerque, USA
Why you should go: The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world. Essentially it’s like Up — but better.
2. Snow & Ice Festival — Harbin, China
When: Jan. 5 – Feb. 5
Where: Harbin, China
Why you should go: The Harbin festival is the largest snow and ice festival in the world.
3. Holi — Celebrated by Hindus Around the World
When: Mar. 13 (for 2017)
Where: India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other Hindu regions
Why you should go: Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s fun, safe, and free.
4. Winter Light Festival – Kuwana, Japan
When: Nov. 5 2016 – Mar. 16 2017
Where: Nabana No Sato park, Kuwana, Japan
Why you should go: This festival has come to be known as Japan’s finest light festival. The festival takes places at Nabana No Sato, a flower-based park.
5. Cascamorras — Baza, Spain
When: Sept. 6
Where: Baza, Spain, in the province of Granada
Why you should go: Every year hundreds of Spaniards cover themselves in grease to reenact the stealing of a famous statue of the “Virgen de la Piedad,” which took place over 500 years ago.
6. Lantern Floating – Honolulu, Hawaii
When: May 29 (for 2017)
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
Why should you go: The Floating Lights Festival marks Honolulu’s Memorial Day and stands for honoring loved ones and offers great hope and love towards the future.
7. Dia de los Muertos — Celebrated by Mexicans in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico
When: Nov. 1
Where: Celebrations are held by cultural Mexicans throughout the world, but a few of the bigger celebrations take place in Mexico City and Los Angeles.
Why you should go: Dia de los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead,” celebrates All Saint’s Day, which remembers all those who have passed before us. A colorful display of costume and culture, Dia de los Muertos is a day you don’t want to miss.
8. Songkran Water Festival – Chiang Mai, Thailand
When: April 13–15 (for 2017)
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Why you should go: This two-day festival marks the Thai New Year, and people celebrate by throwing water on each other using water guns, balloons, hoses, and well, just about anything.
9. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: Feb. 24 – Feb. 28 (for 2017)
Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Why you should go: Carnival is a nonstop party, filled with samba music, colorful costumes, and giant parades.
10. Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy
When: Feb. 11 – Feb. 28 (for 2017)
Where: Venice, Italy
Why you should go: Carnevale, or “Carnival,” has been a Venice tradition since the 13th century. People flock from all over the world to participate in the masked celebrations.
11. Running of The Bulls – Pamplona, Spain
When: July 6 – 14
Where: Pamplona, Spain
Why you should go: The Running of the Bulls is a HEAVILY criticized but still popular Spanish tradition, which is such to raise your adrenaline levels, whether you’re running or watching.
12. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival — Lerwick, Scotland
When: Last Tuesday in January
Where: Lerwick, Scotland
Why you should go: This is Europe’s largest fire festival, complete with the burning of a full-scale Viking ship. Need we say more?
13. Mardi Gras — New Orleans, USA
When: Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Feb. 28 (for 2017)
Where: New Orleans, USA
Why you should go: In many ways Mardi Gras’ reputation precedes itself — if you want to party like there’s no tomorrow, New Orleans is where you belong.
14. Lantern Festival — Pingxi, Taiwan
When: Feb. 11 (for 2017)
Where: Pingxi, Taiwan
Why you should go: If you’re looking for a little magic, there is nothing more surreal than a sky ablaze with thousands of floating lanterns.
15. Burning Man — Black Rock City, USA
When: Aug. 28 – Sept. 5
Where: Black Rock City, Nevada, USA
Why you should go: If you want a break from the ordinary and can actually party 24/7, then head to the deserts of Nevada for the craziest collection of partiers known to mankind.
About the Author: Milou van Roon runs a Digital Media Agency called Explorista Media that is dedicated to making travel brands into online rockstars. She’s hardly ever home in The Netherlands, and regularly abuses the European low cost flights under the excuse of ‘blogging about it’ on budget travel blog http://explorista.net. Be sure to follow her adventures on Instagram (@Explorista).