Spectacular world festivals this September

  • 04/03/2019
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Spain, Barcelona- Festes de la Mercé

‘Festival La Mercè’ is held in honour of the patron saint ‘la Mercè’ (the Virgin of Mercy) on September 24th each year and is commonly known as the "Fiesta Mayor" the main festival of Barcelona. It is described as the largest and most colourful festival in the city's calendar and the highlight of Barcelona's event schedule.

Some of the most important features of the festival were introduced in 1902, when parades included papier maché giants known as ‘gegants’ and a popular dance from Empordà that was becoming popular throughout Catalonia. The holiday has enjoyed immense local popularity ever since.

There are about 600 events spread throughout the plazas, streets, museums, and parks, and even better all entertainment is free.

Among more recently introduced traditions are the annual Catalan Wine Fair, 10 km race and the pyro-musical, a display featuring synchronised fireworks, water fountains and music conducted at the base of the Montjuïc Mountain. The procession usually takes place on the Via Laietana at nightfall. Fire-breathing dragons, accompanied by dangerous devils and other monsters march the streets and scare the people with lots of fireworks and bangers.





















Italy, Venice- Regata Storica

These rowing races on the Grand Canal commemorate the welcome given to Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, in 1489 after she renounced her throne in favour of Venice.

The first Sunday in September is a highlight in the annual rowing calendar. The ancient sport has been practised in the Venetian lagoons for thousands of years and is particularly well known for its historical water pageant race. Scores of typically 16th century boats with gondoliers in period costume carry the ‘doge’ (the senior-most elected official of Venice).

It is said to be an unforgettable sight and draws in crowds by their dozens, all waiting eagerly to catch a glimpse of the race in action!


Germany, Munich-Oktoberfest

This annual celebration originates from when King Ludwig married Princess Theresa and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event.

To mark this event on the first festival Sunday, 8000 participants march in the parade in their historic festival costumes from the Maximilianeum (which houses the state parliament) on a seven kilometre stretch to the festival grounds.

2016 marks the 216th year since the festival began. Today’s event sees large quantities of food and drink consumed whilst visitors enjoy numerous funfair and visual attractions.



China- Mid-autumn festival

This ancient festival is to celebrate the moon, it is believed movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. Therefore to thank the moon and celebrate harvest the Chinese offer a sacrifice to the moon.

Romantically speaking and according to old stories the festival is to commemorate Chang E, the goddess of the moon who in order to protect her beloved husband’s elixir, ate it herself and flew to the moon.

Eating mooncake, a traditional Chinese pastry made from wheat flour and sweet stuffing, is a symbol of family reunion and the cake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal the number of people in the family. Giving gifts, eating dinner together and children making lanterns are also other popular traditions to celebrate.



Italy, Tuscany-Saracen Joust

Saracen joust of Arezzo is an ancient game of chivalry and was born as military training. The most ancient document is a Priors’ resolution stating that the Joust against the Saracen should take place on Sunday and that the prize would be a satin purple ribbon.

Today the jousting day starts in the morning, when the town's Herald reads the proclamation of the joust challenge, and then continues with a colourful procession of 350 costume characters and 27 horses parading along the streets of Arezzo.

The event draws in a large number of crowds and keeps them entertained with spectacular medieval costumes, and highly skilled jousting.




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