One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a particular culture is to attend a heritage festival. Learn how the locals celebrate their colorful customs by sharing what makes their homeland special, namely through music, art, food, and a multitude of engaging activities and events. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover the rich history and varied traditions of a culture as presented and celebrated by its own people.
You’ll find that many festivals often occur in the larger city centers, but there are also traditional celebrations ready to reward you with a wealth of heritage and hospitality in the smaller rural communities. Festivals dedicated solely to music or to art, such as the Venice Biennale, draw exhibitors from all over the world, giving you a chance to sample multiple cultural offerings in one place.
Some cultural festivals are so large that they take place every other year or even every four years, such as the fascinating Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival. Held over the course of five days, watch and listen as ten thousand singers, dancers, performers and folk artists take part in this monumental celebration of Lithuanian heritage that always ends in one big raucous sing-along party that lasts long into the night.
For a different kind of party, beat the big crowds by attending a smaller festival that takes place in the off-season, like the entrancing Mevlana Whirling Dervishes festival in Konya, Turkey, which starts spinning in December. Visit the permanent Mevlana Complex museum to experience the stunning gardens and beautifully ornate architecture, too.
One of the longest running festivals was founded by the Count of Luxembourg in 1340. Shuerberfouer is an epic party on Glacis Square, complete with rollercoasters, ferris wheels, cinema, games, candy and of course, Luxembourgish specialties. Pair this event with a Christmas event in any of the European countries, such as San Marino’s Christmas Full of Wonders, and you’re set for a celebratory year in Europe.
With so many cultural heritage festivals to choose from, you’ll have the opportunity to explore like a local and celebrate the diverse, inspiring heritage of Europe’s many countries.