July offers a wide range of festivals from all over the world. From the Fiesta de San Fermin in Spain, the Naadam in Mongolia to the Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival in Morocco, here’s list of festivals from around the world which should be on a traveller’s wish list.
When: July 10-16, 2017
Where: Kirkpinar, Edirne, Turkey
For nearly 700 years, numerous wrestlers have converged on Edirne, Turkey for Kirkpinar, an oil-wrestling festival in which of all shapes and sizes, dressed in nothing but Kisbet and doused in olive oil, battle it out one-on-one.
The last man standing walks away with the Kirkpinar Golden Belt and the title of Chief Pehlivan. This weeklong festival, a UNESCO Intangible Heritage event, draws thousands of onlookers each year, and is said to be the longest-standing annual sporting event in the history of the world.
When: July 6-10, 2017
Where: Pamplona, Spain
The fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Irunea/Pamplona, in the region of Navarra, every year from the 6th to the 14th of July. They have become internationally known because of the running of the bulls, where the bulls are lead through the streets of the old quarter as far as the bull ring by runners.
The fiestas are celebrated in honour of San Fermin, patron saint of Navarra, although the religious aspect would seem to have taken on a secondary role over the last number of years. Nowadays, the fiestas are seen as a mass gathering of people from all the corners of the world and where the partying, the fun and the joy of it all are the most outstanding ingredients.
When: July 13, 2017
Where: Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
The Camel Cup is an annual camel racing festival held in Australia. The race usually takes place at Blatherskite Park in the town Alice Springs, Northern Territory. The event is organised by the Apex Club of Central Australia.
The first such event was held in 1970 in the dry bed of Todd River between two Lions club members, in an ephemeral river in the southern Northern Territory. It soon became a part of the Alice Springs Centenary Year Celebrations. The popularity of the event was recognised by the Alice Springs Lions Club, and it started its annual celebration in the Traeger Park, but due to security reasons it was shifted to Arunga Park Speedway. It was 1979 when the race was transferred to purpose built camel race track the located at Blatherskite Park.
When: July 11-15, 2017
Where: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Naadam Festival is Mongolian major holiday and a wonderful time to experience the culture and people of this amazing land. The festival has its roots in the nomad wedding assemblies and hunting extravaganzas of the Mongol Army. The opening ceremony features marches and music from soldiers, monks and athletes before the real fun begins! In the Naadam Stadium, the three sporting passions of Mongolians, horse racing, wrestling and archery, are played out over 2 days.
But if you don’t want to watch sports all the time, there’s plenty to see and do outside – food, music, crafts or just watching people and culture. This is the best time to see the Mongolian people and soak up the party atmosphere.
When: July 7-16, 2017
Where: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.
When: July 1-31, 2017
Where: Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech’s oldest festival is this folkloric shindig featuring traditional music, theatre, poetry and art. Artists from surrounding villages descend on the city and the opening night parade transforms the Djemaa el-Fna into an open-air theatre where Franco-Algerian Gnaoua groups and Moroccan rock singers face off with Malhoun (melodic poem) masters.
The Marrakech Popular Arts Festival attracts entertainers, artists and visitors from destinations such as Ukraine, Poland, China and Spain. It has become a festival known for its wonderful variety of fire-swallowers, fortune-tellers, story-tellers, singers, snake charmers, dancers, acrobats, craftsmen, trick horse riders, theatre performers and musicians.
When: July 1-31, 2017
Where: Kyoto, Japan
The Gion Festival takes place annually in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. It goes for the entire month of July and is crowned by a parade, the Yamaboko Junko on July 17 and July 24. It takes its name from Kyoto's Gion district.
The word Yamaboko refers to the two types of floats used in the procession: the 23 yama and 10 hoko. One of the main reasons the Gion Matsuri is so impressive is the enormity of the hoko, which are up to 25 meters tall, weigh up to 12 tons, and are pulled on wheels as big as people. Both yama and hoko are elaborately decorated and represent unique themes. The procession on July 17 features 23 yama and hoko, including most of the particularly impressive hoko, while the procession on July 24 features the remaining ten yama and hoko.
When: July 15-16, 2017
Where: Venice, Italy
The Festa del Redentore is an event held in Venice the third Sunday of July where the fireworks play an important role. The Redentore began as a feast - held on the day of the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer - to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of 1576, which killed 50,000 people, including the great painter Tiziano Vecellio (Titian).
The Doge Alvise I Mocenigo promised to build a magnificent church if the plague ended. Andrea Palladio was commissioned, assisted by Da Ponte, to build a majestic church on the Island of Giudecca. The church, known as Il Redentore, was consecrated in 1592, and is one of the most important examples of Palladian religious architecture.
When: July 21-26, 2017
Where: Zanzibar, Tanzania
Between July and August, is a feisty festival of Shirazi heritage that commemorates Nayrouz – the Persian New Year in Zanzibar. Historically, the Shirazis were the first set of non-Africans to settle in Zanzibar and over time aspects of their culture have been absorbed and given localized names by the native Swahilis. One of such is the Mwaka Kogwa.
Usually lasting about four days, Mwaka Kogwa festival is celebrated in most parts of Zanzibar. However, the most enthusiastic and elaborate displays of the ancient ceremony takes place in Makunduchi, a little town on the south-eastern tip of Unguja (Zanzibar Island). From all over Tanzania, people flock in to see this unique celebration where the people whip each other with banana stems.
When: July 29, 2017
Where: Las Neves, Spain
This unique event that takes place every year on July 29 celebrates those who have managed to cheat death in the previous 12 months by placing them in coffins and parading them through the town, and honours Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron of resurrection.
The boxes are carried into Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the church dedicated to Mary Magdalene’s sister, with the coffins’ inhabitants playing dead or cheekily peering down at their solemn bearers. Pilgrims without relations to shoulder them must lug empty coffins.