Top festivals... in 2019

| November 13, 2018

We have handpicked some of our favourite festivals from around the world, featuring regional cuisines, popular traditions and enough culture to entertain all, with art, music and theatre from local and international artists and performers.


15th January – 4th March to 2019: Kumbh Mela, India

Held every six years, the Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. This year it will take place in Allahabad, which is considered the most sacred setting as it is where the Ganges and Yamuna river meet. Kumbh Mela is a place where sadhus – a holy person in Hinduism and Jainism – seers, fortune tellers and seekers of salvation come together from far and wide. Take a morning boat ride to witness the puja ceremonies and have evening talks at the camp with specialists.

Cox and Kings' Kumbh Mela tour stays at The Ultimate Travelling Camp's Sangam Nivas luxury tented camp, which overlooks the Ganges.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela

20th – 21st March 2019: Holi, India

The well-known Holi festival – also known as the Festival of Colour – is celebrated across the north of India. Jaipur and Udaipur are among the best locations to enjoy the festivities, as revellers throng together to throw powdered colours in the air, leaving a rainbow in their wake. The celebration marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season.

Cox & Kings can include Holi festival on private tours of northern India.

Holi Festival

Women celebrating Holi festival

March – April: Cherry Blossom, Japan

The annual viewing of the blossoming sakura – Japanese cherry blossom – is an absolute must. As the Japanese cherry trees come to life, symbolising renewal, vitality and beauty, parks across the country are pink in bloom. Hanami is the traditional custom of viewing the flowers and is usually best between March and April.

Join Japan’s Cultural Treasures group tour departing on either 23rd March or 8th April. Alternatively, speak to one of our experts about a tailor-made trip.

Cherry blossom gardens near Mt Fuji, Japan

Cherry blossom gardens near Mt Fuji

May – July: The White Nights Festival, Russia

The summer months in northern Russia are host to the remarkable natural phenomenon of the midnight sun. With nearly 24 hours of daylight, comes a summer filled with cultural events, entertainment and festivals across St Petersburg. At the end of June is the Scarlet Sails event, the largest event of the White Nights Festival, which includes the pirate water show alongside music and a fireworks display. In addition, the parting of the Neva Bridge for boat traffic is quite the spectacle and can be enjoyed either from the embankment or on a boat cruise.

Join one of our Classic Russia tours that depart between May and July and speak to one of the Europe experts about booking theatre tickets during your stay.

White Nights

Scarlet Sails water show and fireworks

24th June: Inti Raymi, Peru

Inti Raymi – meaning ‘sun festival’ in Quechua, the language of the Incas – is held in honour of the god Inti. Attracting thousands of local and international visitors to Cusco, the modern day re-enactment is still an on-going tradition. Although they no longer sacrifice an animal, the ruins of Sacsayhuamán become a theatre where the story is told.

Join Cox & Kings’ Train to Machu Picchu tour on 12th June and visit Cusco to discover the traditions of the Incan empire.

Young woman dancing during the Inti Raymi festival

Young woman dancing during the Inti Raymi festival

27th September: Meskel Festival, Ethiopia

Meskel is an Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox religious holiday that is also known by certain churches as the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the Gregorian calendar, this date is the Ethiopian New Year. Celebrated for over 1,600 years, the festival commemorates the finding of the true cross by Queen Helena. There is a lot of dancing and a demera – the burning of a large bonfire – which is thought to be the ultimate act in the cancellation of sins.

Cox & Kings experts can include Meskel festival on a private tour of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

10th October  15th November 2019: Alba white truffle festival, Italy 

The white truffle fair in Alba is one of Italy's largest. You can learn the tricks of the trade from those that scavenge for truffles in the woodlands and savour the aroma of these tasty fungi at the fair. Founded by Carlo Petrini, the Slow Food Movement aims to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages the farming of plants, seeds and livestock.

Cox & Kings' Europe experts can organise a tailor-made holiday to Italy visiting Alba's white truffle fair.

Alba truffle fair

Alba's white truffles

31st October – 2nd November: Day of the Dead, Mexico

Instead of Halloween, Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead. Families come together for a meal to reflect upon and celebrate the life of their ancestors. Then, dressed in colourful costumes and with the iconic sugar skull painted on their faces, revellers participate in parades through the towns. Cities become a vibrant sea of colour as flowers and colourful outfits brighten up a day that despite sounding rather sombre, is a celebration of life.

Join Cox & Kings’ Highlights of Mexico group tour departing on 28th October to witness the festivities in Oaxaca.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

7th November: Diwali, India

India’s most important and widely celebrated festival is Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. The lights are symbolic and are said to help guide the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, into people’s homes. Streets and houses across the country are decorated with lights, and young girls spend time creating beautiful rangoli patterns with coloured powder, rice or flowers, illuminated at night by candles.

The 27th October departure of the Grand Tour of Northern India will coincide with the Diwali celebrations in Jodhpur and the 19th November departure will include the celebrations in Varanasi.


Rangoli patterns

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