By Anika Banerji
Everyone has their own definition of ‘celebration’. For some, it’s the ability to celebrate their culture and beliefs, for others it’s their expression through art. However, every culture around the world - from age-old time, has unique, culturally significant and widely celebrated celebrations. These rituals carry the authenticity and individuality of each culture, and allow for the uplifting of each other and passing down traditions for generations to come. From the lantern festival of Chang Mai to summer moon parties in Greece and Japanese tea ceremonies, celebrations provide every community with a glimmer of hope and light in even the darkest times.
1. Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Thailand
Remember that nostalgic moment from Disney’s Tangled where Rapunzel and Eugene release lanterns into the picturesque night sky? That concept was derived from the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand annually. Every individual releases a lantern into the transcendent sky whilst celebratory music plays. In a few minutes, thousands of lanterns would have ascended into the sky, introducing varying levels of radiance.
2. Dia de Los Muertos, Mexico
Commemorating and recognising the lives of the dead has always remained a pivotal aspect of Mexican culture, but these vibrant parades that have many components of ancient Aztec culture provide a sense of spirit and closure for many. Occurring annually on November 2nd, hundreds gather to mark this auspicious occasion within the community. Translating directly from Spanish into “Day of the Dead”, Pixar’s Coco was inspired by this popularly celebrated tradition.
3. Holi, India
Holi is a vibrant, vivid celebration centred around the concept of good always triumphing over evil and the arrival of spring. This festive day becomes a coloured-powdered playing fiesta for people to meet and greet one another before creating new beginnings. This tradition has travelled beyond the borders of India now and is celebrated in many metropolitan areas globally, as well.
4. Bastille Day, France
Bastille Day, also known as Fête de la Fédération, is France’s national day of independence. It was actually designed to inaugurate a new era, of abolished absolutism and give birth to a French constitutional monarchy. Today, on July 14th, you can find thousands of proud patriots converging at the Champs de Mar and Champs Élysées for the recessional marches and to herald national unity.
5. La Tomatina, Spain
La Tomatina is held annually in Bunol, Spain. Thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this 'World's Biggest Food Fight' where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Many debate that this festival is strictly for entertainment, but some also say that it has religious significance due to honour Bunol’s patron saint San Luis Bertran.
Therefore, every culture and community has widely celebrated and respected celebrations that encourage unity and cultural identities, especially living in a world where segregation can divide humanity rapidly. Whether that be throwing tomatoes or coloured powder, all of these celebrations, and many more, have sparks of hope.