Updated: Feb 9
With 2022 well and truly here, here is a look ahead to some of the world’s most enticing cultural festivals. From winter extravaganzas in Japan to flower festivals in the mountains of Montenegro, these are the events worth travelling for.
Around The World Festivals
Cultural Events and Festivals for 2022
January may be over but there is always next year for this incredible festival!
Subzero Forest - Three Star Road, Japan (1 January - 31 March)
The Subzero Forest is an artistic and captivating forest of ice that has been enchanting visitors since 1971. The ‘Forest of Ice’, which was created by the innkeeper of the Akigami Onsen Ryokan, is blue in the afternoon and lures visitors into a breathtaking world of fantasy during the nighttime illuminations. www.mitsuboshi-kaidou.com
Modernism Week - Greater Palm Springs, California, USA (17 - 27 February)
The annual 11-day festival returns in 2022 and features more than 350 events, including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, tours of iconic homes in more than 30 neighbourhoods, and the popular Signature Home Tour on both weekends. Also offered are architectural walking, biking and double-decker bus tours, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, a classic car show, garden tours, nightly parties, and a special series of compelling and informative talks. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
Mimosa Festival - Herceg Novi, Montenegro (11 February - 21 March)
Marking the official start of spring, the Mimosa Festival - also known as the festival of flowers - is held annually in the pretty coastal town of Herceg Novi. A mash of yellow blooms, marching majorettes, music concerts and sports events the festival celebrates the arrival of spring and brings the community together through a series of free events and regional cuisine. Locals believe the Mimosa flower represents rebirth, restoration, and new growth for the year ahead. www.visit-montenegro.com
International Festival Las Fallas - Valencia, Spain (15 - 19 March)
After almost two years of celebrating the festival virtually, Las Fallas returns to the streets of Valencia in 2022. The Fallas monuments of 2022 in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento will bear the stamp of the Fallas artist Alejandro Santaeulalia, who achieved great success in the sector after planting the municipal falla eight times, in addition to the Valencian urban creator Dulk, whose work has been exhibited in Miami, London, Antwerp or Barcelona. Under the title ‘Protegeix allò que estimes’, the artists will merge their creations on a monument made with sustainable materials that seek to raise awareness of conservation. Furthermore, in 2022 Valencia holds the crown for both World Capital of Design and European Capital of Smart Tourism. www.visitvalencia.com/en
Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest - Seattle, Washington, USA (15 - 16 April)
Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest is the region's biggest spring beer festival combining craft beer, Scotch, spirits, and inventive cocktails. Taking place 15-16 April in Seattle’s indie Fremont neighbourhood, visitors can enjoy an authentic Scotch tasting, Tequila and Mezcal tasting, Whisky Seminars, craft cocktails, and 50 seasonal and special release beers, ciders and seltzers from brewers along the West Coast. www.visitseattle.org
The Mariposa Butterfly Festival, Yosemite Mariposa, California, USA (23 - 24 April)
The Mariposa Butterfly Festival is inspired by the 1806 Spanish expedition of Gabriel Moraga celebrating the Spanish name of the historic Gold Rush town, "Mariposa," meaning "butterfly."One of the most anticipated moments of the festival is the release of some 4,000 butterflies, creating a colourful storm. Other family-friendly games and activities include bouncy castles, pony rides, virtual reality stations and face painting booths. There is also an educational aspect to the festival with volunteers presenting butterfly ecology and teaching festival-goers how to create a butterfly garden in their garden. www.yosemite.com
Hakata Dontaku Festival - Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan (3 - 4 May)
Japan’s largest Golden Week festival is held annually in Fukuoka, with 30,000 participants and over two million spectators. The celebration is over 800 years old, beginning in the Heian period. As well as parades, around 30 stages are set up across the city that each host a wide variety of performances, along with food, drink and game stalls. www.visit-kyushu.com/en
Hyakumangoku Festival - Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan (early June)
The Hyakumangoku Festival, held typically on the first weekend of June, is Kanazawa’s biggest celebration of the year. A chance to experience many traditions that have been handed down from the Kaga era to present-day Ishikawa, the festival commemorates the entry of Maeda Toshiie (1537-1599), the first lord of the Kanazawa Castle. The main event is the Hyakumangoku parade, where spectators can expect exuberant taiko drum performances, horseback riders and actors dressed as sixteenth-century samurai, noblemen and princesses. www.ishikawatravel.jp/en
Juneteenth and Black Music Month Festival - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA (19 June)
Juneteenth commemorates the liberation of the last slaves in Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery in the Confederate States in 1863. First recognised as a federal holiday in 2021, many observe the date with local celebrations, including parties, parades, picnics and festivals and 2022 celebrations in Pittsburgh are set to be no exception. www.visitpittsburgh.com
Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival - West Hollywood, California, USA (25 June)
Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival will make its debut in 2022, a weekend of exceptional jazz music in glamorous West Hollywood. Whilst the name is new, longtime fans of the Playboy Jazz Festival can expect an equally stellar two-day celebration driven by renowned jazz, with a complete lineup to be announced in February. www.visitwesthollywood.com
The Hachinohe Sansha Taisai - Hachinohe, Japan (31 July)
The Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival is a designated Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan and boasts about 300 years of history and tradition. Starting in 1721, the festival was originally a shrine procession until powerful merchants held a procession of floats decorated with dolls, and locals added a tiger dance. By the late Edo era, it had grown to be the biggest festival in the region and is incredibly popular with locals to this day. www.visithachinohe.com/en
Sziget Festival - Budapest, Hungary (10 - 15 August)
Sziget Festival is one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe, held every August in northern Budapest on Óbudai-sziget ("Old Buda Island"), a leafy 108-hectare island on the Danube. More than 1,000 performances take place each year, with Dua Lipa, Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon amongst many musicians set to perform next summer. In addition to music, the festival offers a plethora of memorable activities including cinema, dance, theatre, tattooing, indoor rowing, rock climbing, bungee jumping and life-sized foosball. visithungary.com
Discover more about Budapest, Hungary in Five Countries In Two Weeks.
Telluride Jazz Festival - Telluride, Colorado, USA (12 - 14 August)
Nestled at the end of a majestic canyon, and surrounded by waterfalls, the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado hosts the Telluride Jazz Festival, a three day and night music event centred around jazz. The annual event combines the finest pristine natural aesthetics with boundless creativity, accompanied by a once-in-a-lifetime soundtrack, provided by acclaimed artists. The towering mountain peaks and glowing aspen trees that dot the hillsides provide the perfect amphitheatre for music to resonate through the mountain canyon. Providing a sample of Colorado’s renowned craftsmanship, amenities include food vendors, craft brews and cocktails.. colorado.com
Festa Italiana - Sacramento, California, USA (August - exact dates TBC)
Festa Italiana in Sacramento gathers Italian-Americans and admirers of Italian culture each year to enjoy traditional pastimes and entertainment. The popular festival includes bocce ball games, Italian motorsports expos and folk dance performances, with attendees invited to enjoy wine tastings, unique culinary exhibits, live music and educational activities. Attracting thousands of visitors each year, this event remains one of the largest festivals in the area. www.visitsacramento.com
Stone Crab Festival - Florida’s Paradise Coast, Florida, USA (29 - 30 October)
Unofficially crowned as the Stone Crab capital of the world, the annual Stone Crab Claw Harvest Festival takes place at the Historic Old Naples Waterfront. The weekend sees live music, fresh off the boat seafood and plenty of family activities. The harvest season runs from October to May and in order to harvest the most desirable part of the crab (the claw) fishermen detach them at the joint and throw the crustaceans back into the ocean. Stone crabs have the ability to regenerate their claws every 1-2 years, making this Florida’s most coveted sustainable food source. www.paradisecoast.com
Old Town Día de los Muertos - San Diego, California, USA (1 November)
Sharing a border with Baja California, San Diego has a proud Mexican culture which can be seen through its street art and murals, festivals and cuisine. Every November over Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) weekend, locals come together in San Diego’s Old Town neighbourhood to celebrate those they have lost. Festivities include a procession to the El Campo Santo Cemetery, where music is played and individuals dress in traditional clothing and makeup inspired by La Catrina, an icon of the holiday. www.sandiego.org
Zao Juhyo Festival - Yamagata, Japan (end of December)
Japan’s local festivals don’t pause for snow. Winter festivals, many of which are hundreds of years old, enliven the season with spectacular fireworks displays and towering snow and ice sculptures. One of the best is the Zao Juhyo Festival, where snow ‘monsters’ are lit with twinkling lights for evening viewings. Take in the full array of colours from several vantage points, such as the rooftop observatory or restaurant.www.japan.travel/en
For more on Japan don't miss the A To Z Travel Blog - Japan.
I hope you enjoyed reading about just a few of the many festivals taking place around the world. Do you have a favourite? I would love to know. Get in touch via the usual ways.
Until next time...