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Top Festivals Around the World in June

Visit any of these annual celebrations that take place in June for a unique insight into each region’s culture and traditions.

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Bali Arts Festival, Denpasar, BALI

June 2017 (exact dates TBC)

Each year in June the streets of Denpasar become the stage for Balinese arts through a whirlwind of music and dance performances. As one of the most major events in the Balinese calendar, the festival comprises exhibitions, shows, and parades in which performers dressed in vibrant hues of pinks, yellows and blues gracefully dance by to beating drums, flicking open their fans and peering out from under parasols, while others carry the elaborate flower-adorned floats.

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Image by Stephen Bugno

Gawai Dayak Festival, Sarawak, BORNEO

1-2 June 2017

The word Dayak refers collectively to Borneo’s various indigenous tribes, but Dayak Day is held to celebrate the end of their harvest season. For both the Iban and Bidayuh tribes the event is one of both religious and social significance, so preparations, like making the rice wine known as Tuak, are carried out in the month leading up to the celebration. Throughout the festival period tribe-members make offerings to god and celebrate with music, dancing and plenty of rice wine. Base yourself in Kuching to experience celebrations in the city and at Sarawak Cultural Village, or travel upriver to longhouses amidst the rainforest to see the celebrations in a more traditional setting.

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Image by Alexey Kurilenko.

Boi Bumba, Parintins, BRAZIL

23-25 June 2017

This lavish celebration is based around the Brazilian folkloric tale of a bull that’s brought back to life by a shaman after a man is caught for stealing and killing it for his pregnant wife.Tens of thousands of festival revellers come to see the story depicted on a grand scale by costumed dancers and giant puppets. Performers dressed as the story’s characters and animals from the rainforest act out the story through song and dance, accompanied by a troupe of dancers in elaborate feathered headdresses, reflecting the region’s Amazonian, Portuguese and Catholic culture. The Amazonian island-city of Parintins can be reached by taking a riverboat from Manaus.

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Icelandic National Day, Reykjavik, ICELAND

17 June 2017

Dating back to 1944, the Icelandic National Day was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Jon Sigurosson, the leader of the 20th century Icelandic Independence Movement. Across Reykjavik, visitors can watch the National Day parades, catch street performances and concerts, try the street food and take part in workshops that are set up by the Icelandic Circus. And it’s all set against Reykjavik’s mountainous backdrop.

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Image by Hitoshi Taguchi.

Ise Ebi Matsuri, Shima City, Mie, JAPAN

3 June 2017

Each year Ise Ebi Matsuri – which translates to Spiny Lobster Festival – is celebrated in appreciation of the coastal spot’s abundant sea harvest. In traditional Japanese dress the participants parade along the coastal road with a float carrying the main attraction: a giant replica of a lobster. Throughout the day groups of dancers in the parade compete for prizes, lobster soup is given out and a number of lobster dishes are on offer in the local restaurants. Fireworks are set off for the festival’s grand finale.

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Image above and cover image by Bharat Rao.

Inti Raymi, Cusco, PERU

24 June 2017

Inti Raymi, or Festival of the Sun, is a nine-day celebration over Peru’s winter solstice, paying homage to the Inca god Inti. Colourful reenactments portray historical tales of the Incas to the rhythm of beating drums, with dramatic settings like the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Over the festival period, explore street fairs, catch stage performances and watch the festival’s concluding street parade.

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Phi Ta Khon Festival,THAILAND

23 June 2017

The small town of Dan Sai doesn’t normally attract international attention in its remote setting amidst northeastern Thailand’s mountains, but that all changes during the village’s three-day ghost festival Phi Ta Khon, which is held in honour of spirits in the community. On the first day masked and costumed performers parade through the streets to pay respect to the river spirit. On day two, a smaller parade is followed by firing rockets into the sky in the hope it will encourage the rain to fall. Then, on day three, sermons are given by the local Buddhist monks. The village’s temples also host dance performances on small stages.

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