Warm weather sparks thousands of people to converge outdoors and celebrate for various occasions and events. From the celebration of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to a bizarre baby-jumping tradition, here are a few fun and unique festivals you should travel to see this summer.
Naadam (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)
Naadam, also known as “the three games of men,” is the biggest traditional festival held in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. Each July, men compete in Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery in the city’s multipurpose National Sports Stadium. Today, women also participate in the archery games and girls in the horse racing.
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Elvis Week (Memphis)
If swinging your hips to Blue Suede Shoes this summer sounds good to you, then head to Memphis for Elvis Week, usually held in mid-August. Movies, special performances and the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest (to crown the best Elvis impersonator) are just a few activities to keep fans occupied. The week of scheduled events is held to mark the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.
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Tango Festival (Buenos Aires)
Keep it hot during the dog days of summer and join half a million spectators as they watch tango dancers’ sexy moves at the annual Tango Dance World Championship in Buenos Aires. Some believe this sultry dance may have originated in the Argentine brothels in the 1800s. Today, UNESCO recognizes the tango on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
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Burning Man Festival (Black Rock Desert, NV)
Where can you find a bagpipe player and a belly dancer on stilts? Head to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to witness the eccentric spectacle that is the Burning Man Festival. It has grown into one of the biggest festivals in the US, with the size doubling virtually every year, drawing people from as far away as Japan, Europe and Australia.
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Wife-Carrying World Championships (Sonkajarvi, Finland)
In Sonkajarvi, Finland, male competitors throw their wives or female teammates over their backs to see who can make it through an arduous obstacle course and cross the finish line. The lucky winner of the Wife-Carrying World Championships gets a supply of beer equal to his wife’s weight. Cheers!
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World Bodypainting Festival (Seeboden, Austria)
This festival is not for the very shy or bashful. Artists use scantily clad bodies as their canvases at the annual World Bodypainting Festival in Austria. Artists from as many as 40 countries compete using a variety of techniques, including brushes, sponges and airbrushes. Alex Barendregt organized the first festival in 1998, when he was tasked with organizing a new summer event in Seeboden, Austria.
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Edinburgh, Scotland)
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest performing-arts festival in the world, hosting more than 3,000 shows in nearly 300 venues across the city.
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Pride Week (New York)
June is Gay Pride Month, but there are several celebrations held in different cities throughout the summer. Paradegoers show their pride by dressing up in colorful and festive outfits during the New York City Pride Parade. In addition to the parade, other NYC Pride events include a LGBT rights rally, a family movie night, a street fair and the Dance on the Pier, which has featured popular artists including Janet Jackson, Cher and Ariana Grande.
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Inti Raymi Festival (Cusco, Peru)
Inti Raymi, or “Festival of the Sun,” is an Andean festival in Cusco, Peru, during which more than 500 actors assemble to re-enact an ancient Inca ceremony in adoration of the sun god. The 9-day winter solstice celebration is held in the great square of the Sacsayhuaman fortress and includes large banquets, festive music and thousands of people dressed in colorful costumes.
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Dragon Boat Festival (Hong Kong)
Are you a top dragon-boat athlete? Then grab an oar and start rowing! Dozens of athletes man their boats and paddle across the finish line for the annual Dragon Boat Festival, aka Duanwu Jie, which spans 3 days in June. Drummers and spectators cheer from the sidelines while watching the heart-stopping action in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor.
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Glastonbury Festival (Somerset, England)
Get your tickets before this popular music festival sells out. More than 175,000 people converge on a dairy farm in Somerset, England, every year for the Glastonbury Festival. Notable bands and singers who have appeared at the 4-day music celebration include Florence and the Machine, Mary J. Blige, Hozier and Pharrell Williams. Admission to the festival was $1.54 when the festival started in 1970, but today, full-weekend general admission tickets go for about $338.
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Haro Wine Festival (Haro, Spain)
Get ready for a wine fight at the Batalla Del Vino (Battle of Wine) in Haro, Spain. Thousands of locals throw as much as 34,000 gallons of wine at one another on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. The festival also includes wine-drinking competitions, contests and “bullfights” for kids and heifers.
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Heiva i Tahiti (Pape’ete, Tahiti)
Celebrate Polynesian traditions and culture during Heiva in Tahiti. This cultural festival showcases traditional Polynesian dance performances, sports, games and a singing competition.
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El Colacho (Burgos, Spain)
El Colacho, also internationally known as the baby-jumping festival, is a traditional Spanish holiday that started in 1620 in Burgos, Spain. Men dressed as the devil — donning red and yellow jumpsuits — jump over babies born during the previous 12 months to cleanse them of original sin and to guard them against illnesses and evil spirits.
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