This month, we travel across the world to check out the various festivals celebrated across the globe. Every country has its own heritage, culture and a history to rejoice and what best way other than festivals..
As we enter into the ‘Festival Quarter’ of the year, where the celebration starts with the ‘Ganesh Puja’ and continues until we enter the next year, lets expand our view and find out how we can make our celebration even more joyful by adding these festival destinations on our ‘wishlist’.
1. La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain: Hmmm..everyone remembers the movie, “Zindagi Milegi Naa Dobaraa”. What a refresher, isn’t it? But does anyone know how it all started.Well, every tradition has a history so, does this one!
In 1945, during a parade of gigantes y cabezudos, young adults who wanted to be in the event staged a brawl in town’s main square, the Plaza del Pueblo. There was a vegetable stand nearby, so they picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons. The police had to intervene to break up the fight and forced those responsible to pay the damages incurred. This is the most popular of many theories about how the Tomatina started.
The following year the young people repeated the fight on the same Wednesday of August, only this time they brought their own tomatoes from home. They were again dispersed by the police. For almost a decade, this tradition kept on meeting with several resistances by the Police Authorities, until , in 1957, considering the popularity of the festival and the alarming demand, the festival became official with certain rules and restrictions. These rules have gone through a lot of modifications over the years.
At around 10 AM, festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the “palo jamón”, similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top while the crowd enjoys itself singing and dancing as it is being showered in water from hoses.
|The game begins…..|
Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given by firing the water shot in the air and trucks make their entry. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins.Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste.The estimated number of tomatoes used are around 150,000 i.e. over 40 metric tons.
After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely.
Great….Well of course, our holi isn’t that bad enough, is it??..
2. Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA: Well, this seems to be close to my heart as I also love and enjoy rock music a lot..My personal favorites are Linkin Park, Bon- Jovi, Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, Metallica and MLTR.. For all my rock music fans, this is dedicated to you…
The word—sometimes alternatively spelled and pronounced as lollapalootza or lalapaloosa— or “lallapaloosa” (P.G. Wodehouse – “Heart of a Goof”) dates from a late 19th-/early 20th-century American idiomatic phrase meaning “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.
Conceived and created in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band, Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip hop bands, dance and comedy performances, and craft booths. It has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups.
The music festival hosts more than 160,000 people over a three-day period. Lollapalooza has featured a diverse range of bands and has helped expose and popularize artists such as Rollins Band, Muse, Babes in Toyland, Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Stone Temple Pilots, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters,Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Pearl Jam, only to name a few….
So..what are we waiting for…lets grab our strings and go on…..
3. Obon Festival, Japan: Want to embark on a spiritual journey…where else can it be better than ‘The Land Of Rising Sun– Japan’….
Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.
The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however its starting date varies within different regions of Japan.
Bon Odori, meaning simply Bon dance is a style of dancing performed during Obon. Originally a Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region. Each region has a local dance, as well as different music. The music can be songs specifically pertinent to the spiritual message of Obon, or local min’yo folk songs. Consequently, the Bon dance will look and sound different from region to region.
Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this realm. Buddha instructed him to make offerings to the many Buddhist monks who had just completed their summer retreat, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The disciple did this and, thus, saw his mother’s release. He also began to see the true nature of her past unselfishness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him. The disciple, happy because of his mother’s release and grateful for his mother’s kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or “Bon Dance”, a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.
The way in which the dance is performed is also different in each region, though the typical Bon dance involves people lining up in a circle around a high wooden scaffold made especially for the festival called a yagura. The yagura is usually also the bandstand for the musicians and singers of the Obon music.
The Bon Festival is also celebrated by the Japanese across the globe in countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, Korea, Malaysia, U.S.A. and Canada.
4. The ‘Burning Man Festival’: Now this is scary….Ever heard of the Chao dance form in Orissa??? Sounds similar to that …
Burning Man is a week-long annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event begins on the last Monday in August, and ends on the first Monday in September, which coincides with the American Labor Day holiday.
It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Burning Man is organized by Black Rock City, LLC.
Because of the variety of goals fostered by participatory attendees, known as “Burners,” Burning Man does not have a single focus. Features of the event are subject to the participants.
The Burning Man event and its affiliated communities are guided by 10 principles that are meant to evoke the cultural ethos that has emerged from the event.
They were originally written by Larry Harvey in 2004, as guidelines for regional organizing, then later became a universal criterion of the general culture of the multifaceted movement; these
include : radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy. Radical inclusion—Anyone may be a part of Burning Man.
Gifting—”Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.”
Decommodification—”In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, the community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising.
Radical self-reliance—”Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.”
Radical self-expression—”Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.”
Communal effort— The community values creative cooperation and collaboration and strives to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
Civic responsibility—Civil society is valued here. Community members who organize events assume responsibility for public welfare.
“Leaving No Trace”— It respects the environment. The community ensures leaving no physical trace of their activities wherever they gather. They clean up after themselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Participation—The community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. It believes that trans formative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. They achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play.
Immediacy “Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. They seek to overcome barriers that stand between them and a recognition of their inner selves, the reality of those around them, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.”
5. The Spice Mas Carnival, Grenada:
If you like beaches, sambas, cheer-leaders, marine adventure, music, diving, yachting, cruise all at one place, then I guess the ‘Spice Mas Carnival’ up in the Caribbeans is worth a try….Check out the click and you’ll know what’s in store…
This is the ‘Spice Isle’ of the Caribbean; a geographical gem where visitors can sink into the serenity of warm breezes and soft moonlight; feel history in centuries old forts; touch the floor of the rain forest and swim among coral reefs. This is the land of spices, exotic flowers and rare fruits; the three island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the gateway to the Grenadines.
Whether you prefer a secluded villa, an all inclusive hotel, a luxurious apartment or the comfort of an intimate inn, Grenada offers a wide array of accommodation options. Our sporting events, dive excursions, cultural celebrations, culinary selections and other festivals and attractions will make your spice experience one to repeat.
When you discover the glory of Grenada, you feel the pure warmth of our people. Sheer relaxation, invigorating adventures or a combination of both will definitely satisfy your Spice Experience!
The name Grenada remained after the British gained control of ‘la Grenada’ from the French in 1763. The name has its origin in Granada given by the Spanish in the 1520s. When the British regained control, efforts were made to rid this fertile island paradise of French influences imposed since 1649. Those efforts were in vain. The Grenada of your Spice Experience is the collective influence of long gone Amerindian customs, French and English ownership, infused with African, East Indian, European and Caribbean ancestry.
With several sites of historic, archeological, architectural and military significance preserved and, in some cases, restored; you can time travel the centuries of Grenada’s past when others fought to own and control the island.
The premier cultural event, ‘Spice Mas’ is Grenadian expression in all its glory, climaxing during the second Monday and Tuesday in August, this annual event with multiple activities takes months of planning and coordination.
Brimming with pageantry and expression linked to the African, French, British and Caribbean heritage, Carnival is colourful, humorous and full of surprises.
Calypsonians, steel pan orchestras, beauty contestants, ‘fancy mas’ bands and others perform and parade to compete for Carnival honours. Grenadians gather to watch, participate and enjoy. Many take on disguises in the costumes of ‘Shortknee’ and ‘Jab Jab’ players.
The Shortknee tradition combines pieces of distant Grenadian history expressed through masks, dance, chants and colourful costumes. Armored with tiny mirrors to reflect enemies and ankle bells to make music, masqueraders in knee-length pants carry talc powder as they stomp through towns and villages. The powder is a symbol of appreciation and sprinkled on those who make cash donations.
Jab Jab revelers paint their bodies black, put red helmets with make-believe horns on their heads, and march in energetic groups. Originating with African and European rituals, Jab Jab has evolved as an integral part of contemporary Spice Mas, shedding long ago customs of frightening Carnival patrons and establishing a unique rhythmic chant to Carnival. All this and more, can be part of your Spice Experience.
Well, I guess there is a lot in this world that one can finish over just one blog page..Keep checking out for more articles, and please do not forget to post your reviews, comments, plans, information, critics etc..
My endeavor is to bring out more for all you readers who like to rejoice every moment of their travel experience. After all, at the end of the day, what matters is the journey you take, not the destination…why not make it as colorful as we can..